Hachinohe Japan, Friday, March 11th 2011, 2:46 pm
Japan Earthquake and Tunami- HOW TO HELP!
I finished cutting the 3rd round of noodles when the building started to shake. Got out of the room and entered the restaurant where one of the chefs was holding the plates that were about to fall off the table in the kitchen. The restaurant was shaking louder and violently every second.
“Let’s go out” I said to him and we ran out the back door.
We were standing outside the restaurant facing the rice field behind the restaurant. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The could see the ground moving, similar to a sea. Imagine holding a sheet of paper covered with sand and shaking the sheet of paper randomly. This is how the rice field looked like for about 1 minute.
I was asking myself if this is true, if everyone is ok, if the buildings where my friends and relatives are will hold until they will be out.
The ground was moving and moving. The building across the rice field was shaking louder and louder. The cars behind us in the parking were dancing like lowrider cars. It was difficult to stand.
The first earthquake continued for about 5 minutes. I was holding the phone in my hand and I was trying to call my wife. Her phone was ringing but couldn’t get in touch with her.
The ground was still moving and we decided to go back inside the restaurant. Plates, soup, miso, eggs, meat, and many other goods were on kitchen’s floor. We were all shocked and looking at the buildings that were still moving slowly when, another strong earthquake stroke! And another one! This continued for another one hour and a half.
We closed the restaurant and after doing some brief cleaning we decided to go home.
The traffic was jammed and I was supposed to drive almost 100 km to arrive home. The Highways were closed and the cross lights were not in service.
Driving home was quite scary since all the lights in the cities I was going through were not working; dark everywhere. The cross lights were not working but everyone was paying attention at intersections.
Some convenience stores located among the road where still opened and selling goods to customers. I entered one myself to buy some water, snacks and batteries. It was dark and the staff was kind to hand me a flashlight.
In the morning I had to fill my car’s gasoline tank, so I wasn’t worried about it now. Just a few gasoline stands were still on duty and at each station there were 10 to 20 cars waiting in line.
Driving home, I was listening to NHK radio and BBC and couldn’t believe what I was listening to.
Still trying to get in touch with family...
The phone lines were busy because of the earthquake. After a while I heard on the radio that the public phones were free of use in Tohoku area. The prime minister asked the population to stay calm and go on higher grounds to protect themselves from the tsunami that was announced to hit the east coast of Japan. Driving through the 3.1 km tunnel on Mitinoku Road was pretty scary, considering that another earthquake might strike any moment.
Finally arrived home and for a few moments I forgot everything that happened today. We spent the night around an AM/FM radio flashlight. Had a hot soup and some snacks and went to bed. Two small earthquakes woke me up until the morning.
The next day, first thing in the morning I was driving through the town looking for opened convenience stores. Found one, and and stood in line for about 45 minutes to enter. Bought some water, soups, snacks but batteries were sold out.
At nine o clock I went to a local home center to buy batteries and was surprised to see a 50 meter long line with people waiting to enter the store. I bought some batteries, candles and a flashlight.
This afternoon around 17:00 electricity was back and we were finally able to see on TV what happened throughout Japan yesterday. I am still watching NHK right now and I can’t believe that disasters like the ones in cities like Miyako（宮古市）, Kesennuma（気仙沼市）, Kamaishi（釜石市） or Rikuzen Takata（陸前高田） REALLY happened.
A few hours ago there was an explosion at the atomic power plant in Fukushima…
In the last 3 hours 4 small earthquakes were felt all over Tohoku area…
Hope that this situation will end soon…
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