On the day of the earthquake

It is the day we have had the big earthquake a couple of years ago. It might not be meaningless to describe how I have experienced this disaster about 200km south west of the center.

It was a peaceful afternoon in early spring here. Sun was shinging brightly. Everything was enjoying its warmth.

I had felt vision problem for some time. I visited a local ophthalmologist for that in the lunch break. After having had a variety of examinations, I was diagnosed as cataracts on both eyes. Half relieved for it could be cured by a suregery later. When I was paying the fee at the accounting section, it started quaking severely accompanied by roaring of the ground. Nothing has fallen on the floor from  shelves etc but the quaking won't let the receptionists go on standing up. They were screaming and squatting down under the table etc. I was standing up with my feet wide apart. It lasted a few minutes. I felt two or three quakes occurring successively. In the meantime of major quakings, I went out of the building. Swinging power line poles came into my sight. The scene of power line poles in the cloudy sky has printed in my memory.

When it has been settled down, even though a series of small aftermath were repeatedly occurring, I drove back to my office. The personel were out in the parking lot. They seemed lost themselves. The front door made of glass got cracked. The power was out. At the reception office room, almost all the charts were fallen on the floor. I was anxious what happened upstairs and rushed into my room there. No room to walk in there. Bookshelves were fallen as well as TV set were. Books were scattered. Beneath them, I found my cello lying on the floor. I always kept it on the floor out of the case to play it when I had free time even if it was only for a few minutes. The cello got unjuries on the front board but no cracks. From this experience, I became putting it into a hard case whever finishing practice. I was sure I could not get things back in a day  We could not do medical services to the patients due to the power line outage. We have given only medication to several patients visiting there. Fortunately, in our area, no serious injuries to people were reported.

Before it got dark, I came back home. I found some roof tiles were fallen on the ground at the houses of our parents and for the storage. Most of the dishes were also fallen in the living dining room. Glass wares were broken. No power as well. We have spent the night without power or water supply. The power was recovered in a day or two. Ham radio gears were all dropped on the floor with the tables broken. I don't remember how we have spent the following days. I guess we were getting apathic hearing what had ahppened to the coast areas in Tohoku. That big tsunami as well as the exploded and melt down nuclear power plants have been reported again and again. We have lost our will to get things recovered. When the radiation plume was flying here from Fukushima, I remember, I was eagerly pulling the weeds in the garden as if I was protesting something. It was a sad fact many people were radiated by them in the coast area as well as in the area north west of the nuclear power plants where people had been evacuated. Th e government and the administrative office had made a crime not to show the forecast how the radiation plume flied , which was obtained by the software they had prepared for such a serisous accident. It was, I still believe, a crime.

I could not read all the mails from friends all over the world without tears, which they expressed their sympathy and worry on us. I had just watched the news on TV without any will to get things arranged for several; days. Reading thoser mails from friends, I set up the rig on the floor. I started operation of radio again. A lot of friends have given me a call and have said some words so touchy that I have been relieved a lot. I still feel thankful to them.

The nuclear power plants were only 120km north east of here. Our second son was studying medicine only 60 or 70km west of tthere. You may know the US government has warned the US citizens within 80km radius from the plants should evacuate from there out as soon as possible when the plants had exploded. We were in a kind of marginal area. What a relief we have had when our son had come home on his car without much gas in it spending 6 or 7 hours from his apartment in Fukushima! No water nor foods available on the way as he said. The government, national or regional, has not published what radiation had occurred in Fukushima or the adjacent areas for the first couple of weeks when high level of radioactive iodide had flown around. The Fukushima Pref government has recently admitted they deleted the data of radiation at places there. A doctor in a city east of here along the coast has written in an article that the radiation check system at nuclear medicine facility in his children's hospital had been going on alarming without any possible contamination in the facility itself. He guessed it had caught the radiation flown from the nuclear plants. No one knows what will ensue this.

We have not had so serious damages in this area at all. The damages those have suffered in Tohoku area are above our imagination. It is still going on. A hundred and fifty thousands of people are still in evacuation while more than 20000 people were killed. Quite some of the evacuees are destined to lose their hometown forever. The contaminated material might be stored in their home town for, they say, some time, that is, possibly forever. It was a chance for us to consider how to get ready for natural disasters and how to live with the energy suppliy etc. Unfortunately, I am afraid the government or the administrative agencies have not considered how to do with those issues. They haven't gone down to the roots yet. I think it is a question given to me as well. I would protest against resuming the nuclear power plant generation. At the same time, I would do whatever I could as being quetioned by the victims and the evacuees.

Finally, I am more than thankful for the friends' concern toward us. I could never forget it.


  1. Shin san, I am interested in both of your last two blogs. But I mainly wanted to comment on you story about the Horrific Event of two years ago. I recall parts of the story, from when you first told me what had happened, both from your own experiences and from the other media and other people had told you about the events of that day, and those following after the natural disaster, specfically the nuclear event. I just wanted to say that for a long time I felt that Nuclear power was one of many options we should continue to explore and use for our daily electrical energy. However, after that day two years ago, I began re-thinking my positive attitude toward nuclear power, and made the decision that I was no longer in favor of using it at all. Anyone with the ability to recall some of the facts concerning nuclear power use can quickly determine that natural disasters, and human error have caused multiple releases of radiation materials into the atmosphere, and will probably happen again if we continue to ignore these facts. Thank you for the reminder of what happened that day two years ago, and the results which have made many people's lives change so much after the nuclear event that happened as a result of the earthquake.

    Bob Gates

  2. I agree with you both. I too was positive towards nuclear power, but I have re-thought it after the disaster in Japan.
    Shin I have prayed for the people of Japan.

    Steve N6TT