Living in Tokyo, Japan – Part 7

March 11th, 2011 – 9.0 Magnitude Earthquake

Today started out as a normal Friday at school. That morning I had onigiri making for homeless people, so I missed my morning classes. I then had math, humanities and English, then finished the day with art. We had about 10 minutes left of the school day before going home. We were making pottery at the time for out Presents from the Past unit. Then, the ground began to shake very lightly, and suddenly started to shake violently. Little did I know, I was experiencing a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.

We all ducked under the tables. One table had 9 kids under it, and the table that I was under had 6. The ground continued to shake for about 3 minutes. Pottery began falling off of shelves and shattering as it hit the ground. Our school principal came over the intercom and said “please remain under your tables for another minute”, so we all did. 30 seconds later, he came back on the intercom telling everyone to get out from under their tables, pack up your bags quickly, and get on the bus if you take one home.

When we were going to pack up our bags we passed by the teachers lounge. Plates, glasses, bowls and more fell on the ground and shattered to pieces. I ran to the bus with one of my friends. When we were in the driveway to leave the school, there was more shaking of the ground.

We got to our stop and I walked to our apartment building to go home. I did not want to go upstairs because I didn’t know if mom was upstairs or not. I walked over to 7 Eleven with a neighbor and his mom and sister. I got a vitamin water because I was thirsty. At about 4:10 pm, I walked to the after school bus stop to pick up Sophie. I was waiting for the bus for about 30 minutes. When the bus arrived, Sophie was not on it. I started walking home. I ran into mom and Taylor on a walking bridge when I told her I did not know where Sophie was.

All phones were down from the damage of the shaking. Mom emailed dad to see if it would go through. Dad had run from his office to our school to pick up Sophie. From there they walked all the way home. No trains were running, and dad couldn’t take a taxi because he did not have any cash on him.

We met up with Soph and dad on the 6th floor of our apartment building. We had to climb up 24 floors to our apartment. We decided to head down the 6 floors to see if we could find something for dinner. All restaurants were closed. Broken dishes and glass everywhere. We stopped by a corner store to pick up a few snacks, and made our way back up the apartment building.

We stopped on the 16th floor which has the apartment lobby to take a break, drink some water and eat some snacks to make it another 8 floors up.

The rest of the night was scary. There were small aftershocks throughout the night. It was an eventful day.

Months After

My dad managed a store in Sendai where the epicenter of the earthquake was, and where the tsunami hit the hardest. As I do not have photos of the day of to share, below are photos from late June of 2011 showing some of the damage.

How I feel in Present Day

For the years that followed, I would be sitting on the couch watching TV, and all of a sudden I felt my body drop. It was the same sensation that I felt while an earthquake occurred while on the 24th floor of our apartment building.

While reading my journal to write this post, I immediately got an anxious stomach and started to cry. I cry every time I read it I cry. I remember so vividly crossing the bridge to tell mom I had no clue where Sophie was.

While driving and sitting on an overpass, a semi truck will drive over the bridge and it bounces. It brings back all of my feelings and emotions of the bouncing we would feel in our building when there was an earthquake.

To read more about my journey living in Tokyo, click here!

2 thoughts on “Living in Tokyo, Japan – Part 7

  1. I can still remember when this happened to you guys! I was so thankful for Facebook on those days to know that you all were ok.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: