Thursday, March 17, 2011

Disaster in Japan part 2

So I will continue talking about MY situation in Japan. I want to make it very clear for people reading my posts: I'm posting my experience and MY points of view of the situation (in my crappy English, sorry), so this should not be considered as the general public view of this situation in Japan. My opinion is just another opinion in the bunch. I want my family and friends abroad to know what is going on with my family and close friends in Japan. I will post links were you can get scientific information about the situation eventually.

I haven't been paying attention to the news outside Japan for a day now, so I'm not sure what they have been saying, but my dad was telling me that they
 were saying that the Costa Rican embassy was ordered to evacuate... funny because I called them and they know nothing about this evacuation plan. I don't understand why the news like to make such a fuss... ohh wait  we all know! So please stop paying attention to the news. It's important to know what is happening, but you have to remember that sensationalism (not sure if I'm using this word correctly hehe) is a must on the news! Sometimes, if people only reads the headline they make up their own story, so if you are worried please read the whole article and from several sources not only the Headlines!

Basically, up to know, the real problem in Japan is localized in the northern area. The really affected areas are in 
there, the people suffering are in there, the radiation problem is there. In Tokyo area, and near by, there is no danger now. The lack of groceries are due to people panicking, not because the roads are closed and we cannot get any more supplies, like the people up north. So in Tokyo area if the stock in the supermarket finishes, there will be more the next day.

Ok, so now my story. I was in my lab (5th floor), as usual, and suddenly the earthquake started. At first, me and some labmates didn't even  bothered 
with the movement, but then it got stronger and stronger. On top of my desk I have a bookshelf full of books, papers, and boxes,  I saw them almost falling on me, so I moved back a little and then decided to go out. After, we did what you should NOT do in a very strong earthquake: Run. hehe... I guess the first thing that came to my head was: I have to get out of the room. There were many things that could have fallen over me, but after I was out I just kept going. I don't know if it was instinct or just following my labmates, but I went down 5 floors like in a second. In my town we felt the earthquake strong (magnitude ~5.4, 5+ in Japanese scale), but at least we could still walk.  Now that I think about it, if the earthquake would have been stronger I could have fallen or something could have fallen over me, while attempting to escape, making my situation a lot more dangerous.

Once outside, everything was still moving A LOT. For some reason, in Japan, people leave their cars without the side break (maybe because all the cars are automatic and have the parking option), so anyway, all the cars were moving a lot, which made the whole scene more scary. It kept going and going and didn't seem to stop. After, I realized only 5 minutes have passed from the start of the movement, but I felt it was longer. Immediately I tried to call my wife (Noran), who was in our 3rd floor apartment taking care of our little baby. I wasn't able to reach her. I didn't understand why the cell phone line was dead
, but Internet was working fine. Then, I signed in on Skype using my phone (which in theory I'm not allowed to have it installed :p) and managed to call her. She was still in the apartment, she sounded very scared, and didn't know what to do. I told her to go out of the apartment and wait for me, I was going back back. My wife is from Egypt and she is not used to earthquakes at all; every time there is a small earthquake (very normal in Japan) she gets very nervous, so you can imagine how she was feeling at that moment.

It's good that I ride the bicycle to the University, because I was able to go back fast. While I was going back, there was another aftershock, and strong as well. One Japanese lady, that was walking her dogs, started telling me "Jishin, Jishin... ki wo tsukete..." (earthquake, please be careful). I slowed down,  thank her  and asked her to also be careful and continued. After that, I saw the kids from the school near my house going super organized in lines to the baseball field, none of them seem to be panicking at all. I arrived home and Noran was outside with our baby and some  neighbors. We stayed there for a while, talk with people there, and waited for a while. Noran was so scared that didn't want to go up again, it took me a while, but I managed to convince her.

Back in the house, things didn't fall that much. Sadly a precious wedding gift from my best-friend, fell and broke to pieces. A frame, my surfboards, the monitor in our bedroom (that I haven't tested since then :s) and some books also fell.  So the situation wasn't that bad. The cellphone network was still down, but Internet was still super fast! I just love Internet! Then, we called our families to let them know the situation and that we were fine. While talking to them several aftershocks happened, and made Noran's stress worst
. Then we turn on the news and we saw the disaster in Sendai, our happiness faded away from the images we were looking, since then, we were very sad for the people up there. Then the new about the Power Plant started popping up.

Noran was in shock from the experience, and the aftershocks just made it worst
. I was trying to explain to her that aftershocks are very normal and that it is very difficult for another big earthquake to happen, but didn't succeeded to calm her down. She was focusing on what just happened to her and didn't want to go through it again (very normal of course). I'm used to this kind of situation since in Costa Rica we have a lot of earthquakes and I have felted a magnitude 7.3 earthquakes, so I was calm.  I'm just happy and proud of Noran that she didn't panic and run during the earthquake, because it would have been very dangerous for her and our baby.

We continued watching the news and they started focusing on the Nuclear Plant. I don't know a lot about Nuclear Plants, only what I have read and learned in school, so I started to wonder and read about it (not in the news). After I read a lot of papers and talk to a friend of mine that is a Nuclear Physicist I realized that there was no need to panic, but still I was worried about my baby and of course I'm never 100% sure of anything around me (after all I consider myself a science guy). All I read about was about radiation dosages for adults, but I wasn't sure how this would affect a 2 months old baby. So I continued reading. Meanwhile the aftershocks continued and Noran was getting even more scared. I wasn't sure what to do, so I continued researching and tried to comfort her as I could.

to be continued... :p


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1 comment:

Francina said...

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/bild-751109-191928.html