It’s been quite a day across the Kanto area. Typhoon 19, the largest since 1958 apparently, still is a few hours away from reaching Tokyo. But it’s unusually wide, and spread across much of the Honshu island.
On top of that, we just had an earthquake in nearby Chiba – Shindo 4 on the Japanese scale, Magnitude 5.7.
Shops were completely sold out yesterday. The rail system closed this morning (Saturday) and will stay closed until around noon tomorrow. Flights are all canceled, the Rugby World Cup tournaments were canceled and, well, basically everything is canceled and people are hunkered down.
Our storm shutters are closed and we are riding it out, interrupted by iPhone alert messages about nearby evacuation centers. So far things are ok though.
We opened up our ground floor (still haven’t fixed it up for rentals) to neighbors to store their bicycles and flowerpots until the typhoon passes.
There was one disturbing alert about the possibility of the Nakagawa flooding. That river is just 600 m from my house. But considering the way the river banks have been reconstructed the last few decades it’s hard to imagine actual flooding here. I understand 50 or 60 years ago it happened often though.
Anyway, I think things are going to be ok. Just waiting for the center of the typhoon to reach us and pass through.
The aftershocks are ongoing, frequent and strong in Kumamoto Prefecture, causing more damage. For example, overnight there was this intensity 6+ (on the Japanese Shindo scale of 1-7) earthquake, magnitude 7.3 quake which stretched over a huge area, even reaching this area.
There seem to be a lot of earthquakes tonight. I only felt one, but apparently there was a Shindo 7 (on the Japanese scale where 7 is maximum) down in Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu. I think that’s too far away for me to have felt that one, so I must have felt a smaller shock in this region.
It was 5 years ago today. I was at the supermarket and thought I felt a rumbling sensation. I asked the store clerk and he didn’t feel anything. Then shelves started swaying and things started falling down. I left quickly for the exit, encouraging others to leave as well.
Outside I had to hold onto a bicycle rack to stop from falling over. It was clear that this was the largest earthquake I had ever experienced.
People milled around outside for a while, and then the store manager announced they were closed for the rest of the day.
I headed back to my house, where I found neighbours hanging around outside and heard for the first time it was the largest earthquake in Japan’s history, a magnitude 9.
Inside, I found a lot of things had fallen down, including ceiling light fixtures. But mostly everything was OK.
The phones were down, and the trains had totally stopped, but amazingly the Internet kept on running.
After that everybody knows what happened.
It was 2:46 pm today. I’ll never forget it.
An article worth glancing at about “the woman in the blanket” – then and now.