13 Jun

An earthquake (地震) just struck Japan.
Thankfully no 津波 (tsunami), injuries or property damage have been reported as of yet. But it was a pretty big earthquake…it registered as 6.1 on the Richter Scale or as a 5- on the 震度 (Shindo Scale) at the epicenter.

America and most other western countries use the “Richter Scale” to measure the intensity of earthquakes.
The Richter Scale simply measures the strength of the earthquake at it’s epicenter…it’s most intense point.
This scale technically has no upper limit but I believe the strongest earthquake measured on the Richter Scale was at 9.5.

Japan doesn’t use the Richter Scale. The 震度 (Shindo Scale) is used to measure the strength of earthquakes here.
This scale was invented centuries ago (unlike the Richter Scale, which was invented about 75 years ago), and it originally had only four levels.
Later it was increased to eight levels (0-7), and about fifteen years ago it was changed again to it’s current ten levels.
The ten intensity levels on the Shindo Scale are “0” (which is an earthquake too slight to be noticed by humans), “1“, “2“, “3“, “4“, “5弱” (“5-“), “5強” (“5+”), “6弱” (“6-“), “6強” (“6+”), and “7“.

Another difference between the Richter Scale and the Shindo Scale is that unlike the Richter Scale (which simply assigns an earthquake an intensity based on it’s strength at the epicenter), the Shindo Scale assigns an earthquake different intensity ratings for everywhere that it affected.

For example, the earthquake that just struck Japan a couple hours ago was rated as “6.1” on the Richter Scale (as I mentioned above)…but on the Japanese Shindo Scale it was rated as “5弱” (“5-“) in the 東北地方 (“Tohoku Region” of Japan) which was closest to it’s epicenter.
“5-” level is strong enough to cause furniture to fall and even crack walls and damage pipes.
But in the Tokyo area (where I live), it was a level “3” which is strong enough to shake houses but doesn’t usually cause anything to fall over.
Nothing fell in our house…but it was shaking and it’s quite an unsettling feeling!

I hate earthquakes.

Today's earthquake was a level 3 in Tokyo and 5- in Tohoku on the Shindo Scale.

Have you ever experienced an earthquake?

12 Responses to “Earthquake”

  1. cuteandcurls June 15, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    I only experienced the tremors in Kuala Lumpur when it hit Sumatra ..I sure dont want to experience the real one tho because the tremor itself already made me panic. My younger sister felt the tremor (is that what you call it?) when she was in Japan ..silly girl just slept it off when she felt it. I would’ve panicked and ran out I think 😉

    Hey well done to Japan for beating Cameroon, so far my predictions are quite good im on the roll and winning some points!


    • tokyo5 June 15, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

      I could never sleep through an earthquake. But running outside in a panic is no good either.

      And I saw on the news this morning that Japan won their first game of this World Cup.
      Maybe Japan (“Samurai Blue”) will become the soccer champions just like the Japan baseball team (“Samurai Japan”) are the baseball champions.


  2. bartman905 June 14, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    I read about this earthquake earlier and I think we are in church that time it occurred, but no one noticed it at all in the church full of people. There was no interruption in the service at all – guess everyone was singing or praying really diligently to notice 🙂 .. or maybe we had divine protection!


    • tokyo5 June 14, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

      I usually avoid potentially controversial subjects such as religion (especially since I personally don’t believe in any religion).

      But since you brought it up…
      do you attend church every Sunday? Going to church isn’t something that many Japanese people do. Like me, most people here don’t believe.

      So, are most people in the church you attend foreigners?

      Just wondering.


      • bartman905 June 19, 2010 at 12:15 am #

        Yes, our family attends church service every Sunday nearby. It is a most interesting parish, where most people are transient and come from all over the world, many visitors attend that are foreigners since most of the masses are in English.


      • tokyo5 June 19, 2010 at 10:33 am #


        Since you use that term, I guess you’re Catholic.

        As I said, I’m not a believer but I think “mass” is a Catholic term.


  3. Sir Pent June 14, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    When I was a teenager, there was an earthquake in central Illinois. I remember our cat going crazy a few seconds before it hit.

    There was one here, just outside of Chicago last year, but I slept through it…so I guess it couldn’t have been that bad.


    • tokyo5 June 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

      Are there earthquakes in Chicago?
      I never felt an earthquake in America (I lived in Florida).


      • Sir Pent June 15, 2010 at 2:45 am #

        Just that one recently…and it wasn’t really in Chicago as much as an hour west of Chicago. Apparently it could be felt, but it certainly didn’t wake me up.


      • tokyo5 June 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

        Earthquakes can be really evil.
        Not only can a massive earthquake strike anytime with no warning…there’s the potential for massive after-shocks and tsunami.


  4. toranosuke June 13, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    I’ve experienced numerous earthquakes, mostly from when I was living in Tokyo and Yokohama. All small ones, thank god. Maybe once I experienced one strong enough to knock anything off the desk or something like that.

    I certainly would not say that I “like” earthquakes, but the smaller ones I’ve experienced, I would not say that I hate them. Larger, more serious earthquakes aside, I think of these smaller earthquakes like thunderstorms, or like typhoons, hurricanes, or blizzards – something scary and potentially quite dangerous, but which, fortunately, thankfully, in my experience, has always been something that you basically just realize is going on and go back to sleep. Something you can say you’ve survived, you’ve experienced, and that you’re a bit more experienced for it.

    How many thunderstorms, typhoons, hurricanes, or the like have you been in, when you weren’t actually afraid at all?


    • tokyo5 June 14, 2010 at 2:01 am #

      In thunderstorms, lightning seldom strikes people…usually hits large bodies of water. So if you stay out of the water or out of large open outdoor spaces such as golf courses when during rain storms, you’ll likely be fine.

      As for typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc…they are forecast and tracked by weather experts and people can be evacuated to safety.

      Earthquakes are the worst natural disaster.

      They can’t be forecast. They can strike without warning at anytime at all.
      And often, the aftershocks are just as bad as (or sometimes worse than) the initial quake.


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