Friday, March 11, 2011

Big One!

Breaking: There has just been a pretty big earthquake in the northern region of Japan. The epicenter was reportedly in Miyagi-ken, which is a ways above Tokyo, and registered a 7.9 8.8 8.9 9 on the Richter Scale. There are tsunami warnings for the northern prefectures, and I'm seeing that the Philippines have just issued one as well. This is definitely the most intense earthquake I've ever felt, and Hyogo is pretty far away from the epicenter. According to Yahoo Japan's earthquake reporting service, Hyogo  received about a weak 3 on the Japanese scale, whereas Miyagi was a 6 or 7.

Maia, the ALT sitting next to me, was the first to vocalize it. As we sat there, the teachers around us began to take notice and comment, kind of amusedly, about it. The main quake lasted about 3 minutes here, and I still feel kind of queasy.

Twitter and Facebook are going crazy (if you happen to be following or friends with people living in Japan), and apparently there's coverage of the tsunami damage going on as we speak. I'll write more if anything major develops.

Update 15:51: It's been about an hour since the initial quake. I was just upstairs watching the news with some other teachers. At least one major fire broke out in Odaibai, Tokyo, but it seems to be under control. In Miyagi, there appears to be massive flooding, with cars being carried by the water. Also significant tsunami damage in Iwate. Tsunami warnings have also been issued along all of the Pacific Japanese coast line, although decreasing in severity further south. Around Hyogo the warning level is orange, on a scale of yellow-orange-red.

Update 16:04: According to NHK World, the SDF is being deployed to assist affected prefectures. This is one of the worst earthquakes in Japanese history, on par with the great Hanshin quake of 1995. Tsunami warnings have now been issued for parts of Russia, Guam, Taiwan, and other Asian countries.

Update 3/12/11 00:08: Things are still a mess up north. I've been in periodic contact with a friend of mine in Tokyo, and he's stuck spending the night at his office. Hasn't been able to get in touch with his girlfriend, so quite nerve-wracking. The cell phone networks still appear to be down. I can only imagine what people must be going through at the epicenter. If you're religious, pray for them.

There's a Wikipedia page up and running...apparently this is the biggest earthquake Japan has experienced. For more information about what's going on and for links and resources about how to find people, I recommend visiting Surviving in Japan blog. There's also a video up of the quake in Tokyo at This Japanese Life.

For those of you who understand Japanese or who just want to see what's going on in the news here, this is a live stream.


  1. That's bad. Hope you guys are hanging on fine there.

  2. This is the worst in 3 centuries, I heard on the Washington DC news station. Tsunami warnings are posted for Hawaii, California & Oregon here in the States. Keep updating & let us know you are safe.

  3. Yeah let us know if any aftershocks or something happen. I'm sitting here with two worried Japanese girls.

  4. I'm glad to hear you're ok, Paul. Now come back to the Philadelphia area, where all you have to worry about are the homicides!

  5. Thanks for the comments! Everything here in Kansai is ok. But I imagine the people up north will be needing help. If you have the time and will, I recommend finding a charity to donate to.

  6. Been following this on the news with horror. Very sorry to see such terrible things and my thoughts go out to the people of Japan.

  7. Thanks for the comment. Hopefully this will be over soon.

  8. Johnny on the spot with the breaking news... good work.

  9. Heh...thanks, Billy. Don't think it helped many people - as usual the "big name" sites got most of the traffic, from what it looks like. But we each do what we can, aye?

    By the way, any word of Sixmats? A little worried.