Saturday 19th March 2011
I really don't have much to write today.
Aftershocks seem to be abating in regularity but when we do get one it's quite large. We had a 6.1 at about 7pm, just as we were getting used to solid ground again.
This evening's dog walk was strange and it took a while for me to work out why… all the lights were out. Not street lights, but all the extra neon signs and so on. Tokyo is never properly dark, but it's getting there now as everyone is diligently conserving power to assist in the nuclear reactor plant rescue effort.
While out, I noticed something else unusual too: some doorways had little piles of salt carefully placed outside them. When I returned home I googled to see if I could find out what this was about. It turns out to be a Shinto method of purification. "Salt is sometimes placed outside homes in little piles called Mori Shio 盛り塩 (piles of salt), usually near the entrance, so people who enter the home are purified". So it appears some people may have fears of radiation after all. I have never seen this Mori Shio before in all the time I've been here, so I'm just drawing conclusions.
Today I've suffered from information overload, so I'm keeping this post fairly short until my head has had time to process this information.
Instead, I thought it would be interesting to address some of the search strings that have led people to Japanory recently.
Let's start with the easy ones:
Pictures of Japan earthquake 11/3/11. This would have brought them to my first post on this subject
Panic in Tokyo. I intentionally used an emotive, SEO friendly title for this post and boy, did it get searched a lot with thousands of hits.
What is the distance from Fukushima nuclear plant and Kyoto? 488.4 kilometres (303.5 miles) according to this site.
Why do we get under table when having earthquake? It's what is taught to the children at school during earthquake drills. It's called the "duck, cover and hold" drill. Duck under a table, cover your head and hold onto the table for dear life. Then panic and get the hell out of the house… well, that seemed to be the right thing to do at the time.
Did the dogs bark before the earthquake? Well, our dog was barking, but I think it was at the neighbours who were outside at the time. The only time she has given us clear warning of an impending earthquake was when she was a puppy and woke us with a loud bark at about 4.30am. About 10 seconds later we had an earthquake.
Will Japan have another earthquake? Yes. Of course it will. We're having earthquakes / aftershocks every day. Even before this big quake on 11th March Japan had earthquakes every day in some part of the country. It's an earthquake zone due to it sitting on a junction of several tectonic plates. Ring of fire and all that. Let's hope Japan never experiences another one like this though.
What is Japan's earthquake called? I don't think it's been officially decided yet. See my post here for the list of currently used names; none too catchy yet.
Tokyo should i stay home? I don't know quite how to answer this one. As the searcher was outside of Japan by thousands of miles, I'd say it wasn't an issue! If the search originated in Tokyo, I'd say the same. Tokyo is safe from radiation right now, so no reason to stay at home. Get out there and enjoy life. It can be wiped out in seconds as we have seen in such awful detail this past week.
How big does an earthquake have to be to feel it? Another tricky one. And one that has no definitive answer. It depends on the location, magnitude, depth, movement and a whole heap of other factors. I've felt earthquakes in this room downstairs while my husband working on his PC upstairs was completely unaware. And vice versa. Sometimes a magnitude 4 can feel worse than a 5.5 if it's closer to your position.
What the f*** does a 9.0 earthquake feel like? Oh this one did make me laugh. It was the expletive that set me off and I can empathise with the question put like that! Obviously I can't speak for the poor people near its epicentre, but there are plenty of YouTube clips giving you an idea. For us here in the centre of Tokyo the movement was a gradual build up from a gentle rolling motion to feeling like we were on a boat in a rough sea and unable to walk easily. It was the length of time it lasted that made us realise that it was a Big Quake. And furniture falling over.
And totally off topic, but I just had to include this one…
Hamster go up hoover. Oh dear! Poor hamster. I do hope it survived its horrendous journey. This search ended up here – and I hasten to add there is NO hamster involved in my post.