Last night, reportedly at 11:39 pm, we had an earthquake. It was a big one, centered off Fukushima, and the world shook. Here, in Tokyo, it wasn't that big -- registered at a 5 or so -- and didn't last that long. Here.
The last big one I felt was while I was on a boat coming back from Okinawa at the end of January, and it was fascinating. I've been on a boat in an earthquake before but not one that was traveling off shore at speed. I woke up. Then, there was a big, sharp noise. A couple of giant jerks. Shaking. I heard no alarms and the actual sounds of the ship under the weird noises were...the same. The motion of the ship was...the same. So whatever we hit, if we hit something (and I couldn't figure out what it might be, with the weird noises and jerks coming from where they did) we didn't seem to have a hull breach of any size, though we might have leaks. I got up, grabbed my purse, went to the head, both just in case, and started exploring.
The ship was nearly empty and the crew, except those out of sight running things, were also tucked into their little berths. I looked out. The wake was normal, we were not wallowing or listing, and again, all the noises of the ship's systems sounded as they should. Finally my brain woke up and I thought "perhaps this was an earthquake!" I checked, and indeed it was. A big one, too, and we had been floating right over the epicenter.
To be fair to my sleeping brain, this whole process took less than ten minutes. The next day, or the rest of the day, whatever, felt a little unsettled, but of course we were moving and traveling and -- hey! Whales!
Yesterday, I was thinking about earthquakes and how we seem to get one about every three months. I thought we were just about due. I didn't look to see exactly when the last one here was, but I did remember the quake on the boat. No, that wasn't here, or even close, and it was less than two months ago, so why was I thinking we were due? I know the enormous 3/11 quake and tsunami anniversary just passed and so it was on the news and in the papers and all, but still. Were we due? Nah.
Last night, I was in bed, where I'd been reading before falling asleep, when I woke up. It was still and quiet, nothing going on. And then..."here it is," I thought. A few seconds later, the shaking started, slowly at first and then harder and harder. I wondered what might fall over and need cleaning up later, but heard nothing. The little lights that show the HVAC and all the chargers are on went out, and the bits of light that come around the blackout curtains from the garden lights vanished, too. The shaking evened out, persisted, then subsided and finally stopped. It didn't last long. A few minutes, maybe. I thought about going back to sleep, since I was nice and warm where I was and the power was out, but then I decided I better get up and check the time and see how bad it was.
No power, so no Internet, except on my phone, which was way over there. No shrieking earthquake alarms (just in case we missed it, I guess) from my phone or the community loud speakers, which are a little too close sometimes. And...no cell phone service, but it was 11:45 pm. So...no power and no cell phones. That meant it was bad somewhere.
It was also cold, though not freezing, so I took my phone and went back to bed, where it was warm. In about 15 minutes, phone service came back and I was able to get the information on the quake, the size, the location, the tsunami warnings, and plenty of updates from people on Facebook reporting that they were fine, though things had tumbled from various people's shelves or even, in one case, that shelves themselves had fallen. Power was out from far north in Fukushima and Miyagi all the way into Yokohama, so it wasn't just me. That bode ill for getting it restored quickly. Watch for aftershocks, they said and keep saying. So, yes, I went back to sleep. I woke up much later to false dawn, nautical twilight, so I could see enough to determine nothing I hadn't heard fall had fallen, get the heat turned on since there was power again and go back to sleep.
I didn't take the phone away to plug it it, so it was right beside me when its wake-up music started and I remembered why I keep it all the way over there: it was so easy to turn it off and stay warmly tucked in while I welcomed the morning (hello, St. Patrick) through the restored Internet, which remains wonky. I have been behind and out of synch all day.
Dogs, cats and other animals are reported to sense earthquakes in advance. My Facebook feed has stories of how people's pets gave warnings this time or had in the past, in Japan and elsewhere, generally followed by how the humans were just too stupid to notice or properly interpret what was going on. Maybe I'm like a cat or dog and just need to pay better attention. At least when I wake up at night without rhyme or reason, or get earthquakes on my mind. Maybe we all need to do that. We might be more like our pets than we think!
It's been an oddly unsettled sort of day. There's no real reason for it, but the days after earthquakes or floods or typhoons always seem to be that way. I've done off-all besides this. But there are bits of news.
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