Thursday, March 24, 2011

The aftermath part 2

I just realized that I felt around 400 earthquakes in 4 days! Wow, and I thought I was used to earthquakes. Now I'm in Doha airport in Qatar, waiting for our flight to Cairo. Yes, we decided to go to Cairo after all. I will continue with my story then, maybe I can catch up to this day soon.

Right after arriving to Osaka we saw on the TV that there was a very strong earthquake in a place called Shizuoka. Shizuoka is between Tokyo and Osaka, very near mount Fuji. The earthquake was magnitude 6 and the epicenter was in the main land. We didn't feel it and, luckily for us, we were not in the Shinkansen at that time since all trains stopped immediately.  Our friends started calling us to make sure we were not in train at that time. If we had taken the train after ours we would have been inside when the earthquake hit. I don't want to imagine what would have happen to Noran if that had been the case. Anyway, when we found out about it Noran was so relieved that she got her skin color back!  We had dinner and went right to sleep. The next day we woke up around noon. long time I didn't feel this relaxed after sleeping, but right after I had to go back to reality. There were still a lot of things to be done and decisions to be made, but at least Noran was relaxed and the baby was OK.

The Shinkansen in our way to Osaka. It was very crowded.

Our host Javier called to tell me that according to one guy in his work the radiation was very dangerous and that it was going to reach even Osaka. Also, Noran's family was worried from all the news they were watching on TV and was telling her to better go to Egypt until the situation was more under control. My family was offering me a paid ticket to Costa Rica as well.  Everyone wanted us to go abroad, anywhere, but abroad just in case. The thing was, as I mentioned before, that our Japanese visa was going to be expired in April 4 and Nadia didn't even had a passport or a Japanese visa. Also, Nadia didn't have any vaccines yet because in Japan you have to wait until the kid is 3 months, so I was worried that in a long flight or while being in another country she might get sick or something (I'm new to parenting so I don't know anything); plus for me she is still very small to be doing this kind of long flights. Moreover, I have a lot of work to do in the lab, after all, is my last year of Ph.D and I should have at least one more journal paper published by July, which is not an easy task. Since I believe that being prepared is very important, I called the Costa Rican embassy and arranged an appointment to get Nadia's passport on Friday morning. I woke up on Thursday at 4am, ate a banana, and went to get the Shinkansen back to Tokyo and then Chiba to pick up our new Japanese visas. The trains were not crowded at that time in Tokyo and Chiba, and everything seemed like a very normal day, except for the occasional earthquakes of course. I rode the monorail (I was a little scared actually) to the immigration office to get the number and luckily no earthquake happened while on the train. The place was super crowded and well, I told what happened to me there in a post before: .

At the end I was able to get the visas and for Noran, Nadia, and me. The only thing left was the reentry permit for Nadia, but I needed a passport for that. Anyway, at that time I wasn't considering that much traveling; I was thinking that staying in Osaka for a couple of days will be enough, and once the earthquakes stopped we will go back to our home.

This monorail is a hanging train, so when there is a lot of wind it swings... Imagine how will it move in an earthquake! :0

I went back home in my bicycle and the area near the university didn't have any electricity because of the schedule blackouts. It was very strange not to see a single light on the way. That day the moon was almost full and it light up the street lightly. It was so peaceful, but at the same time scary. It reminded me the many blackouts we had in Costa Rica and how we used to go outside to have a drink, sing, or just stay there looking at the stars. I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the darkness because it was the first time to see this city like this. I didn't have time to go back and take pictures of the street with lights so you will have to imagine the difference. The black out didn't reach my home, so I turned on the TV and started to prepare my bag and some papers for the next day. After a while another Costa Rican (David), who is with me in my lab, came home and we ate pizza and talk about the situation. Yet another earthquake hit at that moment. It was quite strong and was near the coast of Chiba, but no tsunami warning was activated. Since i was planning to go back to Osaka to with my family and didn't know when I was coming back, I gave David some vegetables we had in the fridge. Later I took the rest of the vegetables to my Mexican friend Rigo (who has a very nice blog, but in Spanish ). We talk a little and he told me that they were going in 2 days as volunteers to help cleaning a city called Asahi that was affected also by the tsunami. I felt bad because I wasn't going to help also, but I have other priorities now. When I go back I will try to help for sure somehow, I just hope is not going to be too late. That night I fell asleep around 3am again getting things ready; My bags were full of pampers and baby things! Who would have think I will be doing this kind of things 2 years ago?

Ok I'm about to board the plane now, so I'll continue later.

This street is full of houses. This picture has a 20s exposure! (but I realized after that the aperture was very small F10, so less light :S)

This road takes to Nishi Chiba station, is just next to university. This picture has a  shutter speed of 5s and an aperture of F2.8

This is the same street but the other side, this takes to Sakusabe station near our house. The picture has the same settings as the one before 5s F2.8

After crossing the monorail track there was light. you can see the darkness on the other side.

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Eduardo Sanchez M. said...

Super detallado y muy bien escrito, historia que vale la pena leer. Mucha suerte..!

Jose Gonzalez said...

Tuanis Mae! Ahi seguire escribiendo!