Friday, March 11, 2011

We're OK!

I've been absent from posting on my blog again for a little while...

Friends have been staying with us for a week and we've been going all over Japan, experiencing exciting adventures everyday. Although I've experienced a lot while in Japan, today was, by far, the most terrifying day in my six years here. We experienced an 8.8 magnitude earthquake. On top of a mountain.

I've experienced heaps of earthquakes before. Some small tremblers, others have made me jump out of my chair and run outside. Today, we drove about 30 minutes up a mountain in the gorgeous snow, rode an elevator to the top of a mountain, and walked onto a glorious steel platform overlooking the most amazing waterfall.

Then the shaking began. At first it was small and swaying and I commented, "Hey, I can feel the waterfall!" Then, it shook harder. People started to look worried. A little old lady pitter-pattered out of her souvenir shop whispering "Jishin! (means "earthquake" in Japanese)". Someone squeaked "kowaiii!" (means "scary"). Then fear took over. People started running up the platform back to the base. The Japanese woman ran into her shop, came out one second later with her purse and took off with urgency.

We waited. Kelly calmed me down. I explained that Japanese people don't panic unless it's bad. It was baaaad. Still, she stayed calm. Rocks started crumbling down the cliff on the right and a few small animals scurried out of behind them. The white water pouring down the falls turned choclatey brown.

Minutes later, we were among the few left standing on the platform as others took off. An annoucement flared out of the rusty speakers, "Due to the earthquake, all must evacuate..."

Ummm...we came up via elevator...we gotta go back down the same elevator?!?!

We did. And experienced a stronnng aftershock while going down.

Here is the view of where we were standing (taken exactly one minute before the quake hit):

The news coverage is devastating. Some of Abe's teammates don't know if their family members near the epicenter are ok. Others are sleeping in the office since they have no power or gas.

We are safe. I am grateful. As I type this, aftershocks, one after another, make us all look at each other and wonder if it's another 'big one'. Ninja our cat runs under the couch for cover. And Miso barks and patrols the room we are sitting in to assure us she's protecting us.

Friends, thank you for checking in with us to see if we're ok. Facebook? Yea, amazing in times like this when cell phones weren't calling/texting and I couldn't contact Abe locally. And I can feel the love from my US friends, allll the way out here.


Maria said...

I'm so glad you put up a post. I am worried about my friends in Japan. Praying for you and the people in Japan.

peggy said...

Hi Julie,
Again, I am glad you, your husband and friends are safe. Bless your country and those suffering due to the devastation. Peggy

gigi said...

i am so so happy to hear you both are ok. i can't even begin to imagine how horrific it is and will be for so many there. it's so sad and my heart goes out to all. again, i'm happy that you are fine.
saying many prayers for all.

Julie Ann said...

Thanks friends :)
Appreciate your concerns. I'm so glad to be home with my family and friends in the states but look forward to returning to Japan soon!