Tokyo Really Does Rock

road_destroyed_by_japan_quake.jpgThis morning started off just about like any other day – dreams of transforming the planet, concerns about my own inadequacies in that department, and thinking about what I might have for breakfast.  But soon my day took a turn for the more unusual . . .  I had quite a scare this morning as I was soaking in the tub when the 7.4 earthquake began.  There I was, surrounded by water, really enjoying the rocking motion of the . . . tub!  Finally it dawned on me that the waves were kind of big for a bathtub.  Then I noticed that my necklace, hanging from the hook on the door, was swinging rhythmically in tune with the waves.

Funny how the mind works during a crisis – I jumped up, asking myself aloud “What should I do?” repeatedly.  Then I did what every fashion conscious gal would do . . .  washed my hair, brushed my teeth, got dressed and then put on my lipstick.  As I headed  downstairs to have breakfast (and to see if anyone else was as panicked as I am) I decided I had better take the stairs in case the elevators weren’t working.  The door to the stairs were locked!  Now a whole new level of panic began to set in as I realize that the hotel I have been staying in hundreds of times in the past 2 years has locked my emergency escape route, the location of which I had carefully made note of every visit.  There was elevator music playing in the hallway, so I thought, “what the heck!”, I’ll use the elevator.  I inquired about the quake and the locked staircase at the front desk, but they assured me that the stairs automatically unlock during a REAL emergency.  OK, well, I hope I never get to test that assumption!

No one else seemed to notice that there had been a quake, so I settled in to have breakfast with the rest of the guests, glad to be on the ground floor.  There I stayed for the next four hours, just in case that tremor was just a precursor of “the big one”.  When I finally got up the nerve to return to “the pendulum room” as I now call it, I searched the web for news.  It turns out that a man was killed in a freakish accident by being struck by a truck as he ran from his house to escape from the quake.  Perhaps he should have paused to brush his teeth. . .

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3 Comments

  1. Kimberly,

    I can totally relate to this story as I had a similar experience in bukarest, Rumania. I got stuck on the 16th floor of the Intercontental hotel for hours, talking through the cracked walls with my neigbor, sitting on my bed that I had moved to the middle of the room so that I would not get buried under crumbling walls.

    I can go on for a while about this hair raising experience as well.
    It really tests your assertiveness!

    Sadly enough, in Bukarest thousands of people were killed, but the then communist regime did not let any real numbers out and ‘cleaned up the mess’ in a hurry as a communist regime can not handle human suffering and defeat.
    very tragic experience while we saw it unfolding while we could leave the country for three days.

    Willem

  2. You just have to love those unstable island arcs! I once had a series of quakes that occured every time I stayed at a particular hotel in Tokyo. After the 4th or 5th the office asked if I would like to stay elsewhere.

    The Ph.D. in earth scinces allows me to be objective while in panic – as in “gee maybe I will be squished by an S-wave”. Living in Taiwan during their big one gave me a whole new view of project management…

  3. Oh, too funny! Thanks for your comment, John. I am just now figuring out how to moderate comments – – – over 500 offers for jewelry somehow posted here . . . ug!

    Panic kills. Knowledge and preparation improve the quality of reaction to emergency situations, so I have practiced my response for next time, which amounts to “Get dressed and get the hell out!”

    Have a Scrappy Holiday! – Kimberly

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