Today at about 2:45PM I was outside and I noticed the telephone wires overheard begin to swing wildly. It was a nice sunny day and not windy at all, so I was wondering why the wires would suddenly be moving like that.
And then as soon as it dawned on me that it was probably due to an 地震 (earthquake)…I felt the ground shake. I’ve been in a number of earthquakes here in Japan but this was the strongest I’ve felt the ground move. It gave me a queasy feeling.
It lasted a few minutes…which is quite enough time for an earthquake to do a lot of damage…and it got stronger. The buildings in front of me began to sway.
For the next few hours there were many aftershocks. Some of them quite strong.
It’s now 7:00PM and the most recent aftershock was about thirty minutes ago.
Maybe it’s finally over. I hope so! It was quite scary.
Actually though, we were lucky. A lot of things fell over in our house…but no serious damage—and most importantly, none of us were hurt.
Unfortunately, many people weren’t so lucky. At least nineteen people have been confirmed dead.
This earthquake, which has already been named—「２０１１年東北地方太平洋沖地震」 (“2011 Tohoku-Region Pacific Earthquake”), registered a 7 on Japan’s 震度 (Shindo) earthquake scale at the epicenter in Sendai, Japan!
“7” is the highest rating on that scale!
In Tokyo, it was rated as “5” in parts of the city and “6” in others.
On the western “Richter” earthquake scale, it was rated at “8.9“.
A 津波 (“Tsunami” tidal wave) caused by the earthquake hit Sendai and swept up cars and boats and caused casualties and damage.
In the Tokyo area, the earthquake caused a couple large fires.
The 「２０１１年東北地方太平洋沖地震」 (“2011 Tohoku-Region Pacific Earthquake”) is officially the biggest earthquake on record in Japan’s history. And it’s in the top ten of the world’s biggest.
The said on the TV news that today’s earthquake was 180 times more powerful at it’s epicenter in Sendai, Japan than the 「関東大震災」 (Great Kanto Earthquake) that flattened Tokyo in 1923!