Monday, March 21, 2011

(3) March 11: To everybody around the world

Ten days have passed since the earthquake. All these days, I received many words of encouragement and felt that many people were worried; for those I want to truly thank you all. At the same time, I want to apologize to everyone for the worries brought to you by the accident in the nuclear power plant.

I am an ordinary Japanese woman: I live in the Kanto region, in Kanagawa Prefecture –the prefecture next to Tokyo- and also work there, in the city of Kawasaki. I am writing this because I would like to tell everyone about that day, the day of the earthquake.

March 11, Friday

The building I was in that day, the place where I work, took a really big shake. To be honest, I was relieved when I heard that the earthquake’s epicenter was at the sea outside Miyagi Prefecture, in the northeast Tohoku region; the 400 Km separating Kanagawa Prefecture (where I was) and Miyagi Prefecture, gave me a sense of security. Still, it seemed those 400 Km weren’t far enough: I could still feel the shaking from the aftershocks which were coming again and again and pretty soon I found out that there were no trains (in Tohoku or in Kanto) and that almost all communications had been cut off.

A little later, came the news for the big tsunami that was going to hit. And the tsunami did, indeed, hit, bringing chaos at its wake. It was a Friday afternoon and when I went out to check the situation in the train station near my workplace, I saw it was overflowing with people and that huge queues had formed in front of the public telephones; in such times of emergency, public phones are the best and easiest way to communicate. The small shops in the neighborhood started closing one after the other, the provisions in the supermarkets and the convenient stores were steadily running out minute by minute and even the hotel near our office hang up a “No vacancy” sign.

I the meantime I was calling again and again my family to check if everyone was alright; I must have called over one hundred times before I could get through and make sure that no one was hurt. Also, since the trains didn’t run, I had to find a place to spend the night; luckily, my boss was kind enough to let me and a few other colleagues to stay at her place in Kawasaki (a lot of my co-workers had to spend the night at our office). The distance from our office to her place is, under normal circumstances, 25 minutes by car. Although we started early (at about 7 p.m.) it took us three hours to get there and during the night I woke up again and again from the aftershocks.

Still, I remember thinking that night that in a few days Kanto would return to its normal, everyday life…

Toyama Atsuko

No comments :