Apr 6, 2016
Hey I got one more year here Japan, let’s not make this actually annual. I am not a fan.
[note: i’ve had a few gigs lately that require close detail pencil drawings - I needed a break for some looser sketching, so today’s illustrations are provided via the tiny white-board I procured at the local Daiso. Enjoy.]
You may remember about a year ago, there was an Earthquake which I felt. It was a decent size at 5.6, but the Epicenter was hundreds of miles away, so the only reason I felt it at all was because we live on the 11th floor of the building. So up high, we get to swaying a little more than your average apartment.
Now, I had done a bunch of research about what one should do when an earthquake happens back then, but it was still not real solid information in my head, and I was so confused as to what was happening, and I barely felt it, so…
I didn’t really do anything but yell and panic in the middle of my living room.
I am… happy to say I was better this time? I guess?
So Japan, or at least Nagoya, has an alert system for people, should they be able to predict an earthquake with any advance notice. Previously, I had understood this warning would come in the form of speaker cars, which I... was less than pleased with. 1.5 years here has more than taught my hearing to completely ignore the annoyance of the speaker cars who are generally spewing advertisements about sales at the local home good store at absurd decibels at all hours of the day. I knew a speaker car wouldn’t get my attention for sh*t.
You know what DOES get my attention?
Japan has a new program (enacted last August) which allows them to hack into every phone and wi-fi enabled device in the area to make said devices scream “EARTHQUAKE IS COMING!” at their highest volume level. THAT gets me to jump to action faster than when Bubba starts to make that “I’m about to vomit” *URK* noise.
Now of course, this alert was in Japanese, and as I do not use the word for Earthquake in my daily conversation, it is not a word I knew. No friends, I did not know the word for Earthquake in Japanese - but when your phone starts screaming "JISHIN! JISHIN!" at you with "Emergency Alert" flashing across the screen, let me tell you there is a lot you learn immediately from panicked context.
I had time to grab a very fluffy Bubba and a very whiney Mac and we all sat in the doorway of the toilet room.
And then our entire home spent about a minute rocking a good foot back and forth in the air while the earth beneath us made it’s best impression of a toddler flinging their body to the ground in protest of their galactic mom not buying an ice cream cone in a 6.1 Earthquake.
Mac whined and Bubba caterwauled, serenading whatever higher beings were clearly coming to collect our souls. I am very thankful to say I had The Mister texting me to ask if I was alright and talking me through the whole thing (he was on the ground floor of his building and thus felt nothing but still heard the warning). Still, as you may have gathered from any number of previous posts about small crisises in the life of KpMcD, I wasn’t like, SUPER calm, so much as just frozen in terror.
It only lasted about a minute… but when your whole house is moving of it’s own accord around you, let me tell you a minute is more than enough. And as everything settled back down and I was able to walk around and take stock of the damage (two entire potted plants fell over on the balcony), I found myself torn between nervous sobbing and hysterically laughing at what can only be described as my continued invincibility.
Mac had no idea how to console me, and so I consoled myself by walking to the park for a Turkish Kebab.
Have you survived a natural disaster?
Tell me what YOU’RE invincible to in the comments!
today’s tiny language lesson:
JISHIN! JISHIN DESU!
EARTHQUAKE! IT’S AN EARTHQUAKE!
The name is Kp or KpMcD (Kristin, actually, but for the sake of continuity let's stick with the nickname, shall we?) Hailing from the Midwest US and living in Nagoya with my husband (The Mister), my dobermutt (Mac) and an elitist marmalade tabby who answers to no one (Bubba).
11th floor! I don't fancy experiencing a 6+ from up there. Well done you. Did your pets notice it, or were they reacting to you?
@SalarymanJim I'd say it's a mix of both. Bubs didn't actually start screaming until the swaying started. However, the curt way in which I grabbed both and no-questions-asked went to a spot in our house then just sat there holding them tight probably put them a bit on edge for sure, but there was no way not to notice the whole house was moving- they definitely felt by them.
I find those phone alarms are usually more 'alarming' the earthquake that follows. Fortunately.