So after my last post about the earthquake as I am sure you may have heard – Kumamoto actually had a level 7 quake again on Kyushu in the early hours of Saturday 16th.
In my town we felt two quakes at a 5+, and it was terrifying. We had around 11 large quake alerts throughout the day so it was impossible to sleep, and just built constant anxiety. Most of the large quakes we barely felt in my town, but the constant shrieking of the alarm really makes it hard to relax! What they initially thought was the main quake turned out simply to be a foreshock, with the main quake to happen after.
Shockingly my town and jutaku received little to no visible damage. My neighbour said a glass broke, and some of my stuff was shuffled around. But the damage really is to all our peace of mind, and poor, poor Kumamoto. The Fukuoka JET Charity group yesterday were able to raise over ¥100,000 at our ALT meeting which will go towards emergency supply donations in Kumamoto. And some of my neighbours stocked up and drove down to some shelters to make donations which was lovely.
Japan really is pulling together right now, and rescue efforts have been amazing, despite the hindrance from further aftershocks and a heavy rain storm the next day. When we took a trip to Costco to stock up on home supplies, we passed several SDF trucks full of soldiers ready to provide aid and on a daily basis I can hear helicopters flying over – which I have since learned are dropping supplies. Japan is an amazingly prepared country for earthquakes, especially since 2011 – it seems people here are more than keen to avoid the mistakes made that year. I definitely haven’t felt unsafe these past few days – just really, really unsettled.
This was the first ever earthquake I have experienced and so it has really left me pretty uneasy. This is the alarm that warns us. It is amazingly effective. But with the continuing aftershocks in Kumamoto, Aso and Oita being 3-4+, we can’t settle either right now – I never know when my phone is going to go off again and after the first time thinking it was all over with I am keeping pretty vigilant! It’s tiring and hard to concentrate.
But in light of the scary stuff I learnt many new things and have made the best of the situation with my neighbours – sticking together, and continuing on as normal. I’m going to make a post in the near future about earthquake safety and preparations as an ALT – because there was a lot I wasn’t quite prepared for until now. Except thanks to my Mum – who insisted we visit the Fukuoka Disaster Prevention Center! I’ll go into that all in the next post, when I have some time to sit down and collect my thoughts.
Stay safe everyone!
Bonus funny story: I also have Yurekuru Call installed on my phone to update me of earthquakes in English. However – I recently installed a new notification tone on my phone which OVERRODE all tones – including my Yurekuru alarm. Somehow it is hard to take it seriously when this is playing as your entire apartment jiggles.