Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Close to Japan Earthquake

I am now in Japan

We missed the Japan earthquake by one day. The earthquake was called 2011 Tōhoku earthquake or Higashi Nihon Daishinsai(東日本大震災), which was hit on March 11, 2011(Friday) 05:46:23 UTC (14:46 JST)with magnitude of 9.0 Mw. This megathrust earthquake's hypocenter was reported to be off the Oshika Peninsula, the east coast of Tōhoku It was the strongest to hit Japan and one of the top five largest earthquakes in the world since seismological record-keeping began. It was followed by a tsunami with waves of up to 37.9 meters (124 ft). The disaster left thousands dead and inflicted extensive material damage to buildings and infrastructure that led to significant accidents at two major nuclear power stations. confirmed 12,690 deaths, and 14,736 people missing(source: wikipedia)

The earthquake was hit on 11-3-2011, we already left Tokyo on 10-3-2011 morning, on the way to Hakata station, Fukuoka, Kyushu. Fukuoka is at the southern part of Japan. It is a big city, new, clean, beautiful and dynamic city.

(Note: we later was shocked to know that actually there was a 2011 Tōhoku earthquake(東日本大震災) foreshock on 9-3-2011 at 11:45:20 AM at epicenter, with magnitude of 7.2, Tokyo is 413 km from the epicenter, source: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/2011/usb0001r57/).

The day the earthquake hit, I was in Shimonoseki, a town opposite Kyushu island by Kamon Street. just opposite Mojiko, the town in Kyushu. It is at the southern tip of Honshu island. Shimonoseki is famous for pufferfish , blowfish or fugu (河豚 or 鰒; フグ?, literally "river pig"). Shimonoseki is connected to Mojiko by Kanmonkyo Bridge(関門橋 Kanmonkyō Kanmon bridge). The hour when the earthquake hit, I was enjoyed my seafood at Karato fish market, earlier we were inside Kanmon Tunnel which is under Kanmonkyo Bridge. If the earthquake will hit when we were inside the tunnel, I do not know what will be the impact. Kanmon Street is within the Seto Inland Sea. We did not feel the impact of earthquake when in Shimonoseki, may be it is protected by the inland sea.

The treaty of Shimonoseki that ended the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895 was signed in Shimonoseki, marking a stage in the ascent of the newly-modernized Japanese Navy — and the nation as a major regional military power.


We only know about the earthquake on the way back to Fukuoka, by Shinkansen or the bullet train. One Japanese university student told me that Tokyo has been hit by earthquake. It is close, a separation of the event by one day or perhaps a few hours if we are still in Tokyo. A separation of distance which protected us from the impact.

Shinmoedake(新燃岳), a volcano in Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu, erupted two days after the earthquake on 13-3-2011. The volcano had previously erupted in January 2011. We was then in Hiroshima.

Now the Tokyo is facing the dual danger of aftershock and radioactive plant leakage, and we are still in Japan.

I am still in Hiroshima while writing this blog....

Should I leave now?, there are many visitors still in Japan; we met many, some were panic and try their ways to leave, some residents from Tokyo left the city and escaped to the south.....

A prayer before arriving at Japan provide us the comfort and peace in mind; what is happening ahead we do not know....but we are together with many Japanese.....we feel like them.

If you ask me, did the current earthquake affect you? yes, our JR train service to Nagasaki was canceled due to the impact of Tsunami or earthquake. The newly launched Shinkansen Kyushu on 13-3-2011 was not started. We were forced to take a highway bus to Nagasaki.

Our journey in Japan have been changed several time to meet the situations. I will tell you later if I have not changed my mind I may have been hit by earthquake too. My initial plan was to Hokkaido, which included Sendai. The tour of North Japan, instead of South Japan. Even when I changed my plan, the plan still include a day off by Shinkensen to Sendai. This is because earlier I have read an article from a local newspaper about the beauty of Sendai.....

I can only said, I am very thankful for the escape.

Please donate or provide any help, even a prayer for Japan...

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