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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Oh Crap! My First Earthquake Experience

I'm still under the weather...five days into my first vacation of the year and I'm sick. It's no longer just the shivering alternating between the sweats like I'm in menopause, now my stomach is rejecting that which it holds dear - food.  At least it's not verbal diarrhea. That's what this blog is for, though I do need a blog roll.

Now that I still have your attention, let me reboot an old story here... one of my more famous incidences on the toilet that occurred while I was in Japan.

It was three weeks into my stay in Japan in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken... and I was sitting down on the air filled seat of the western-style toilet I had... Not everyone on the JET Programme was as lucky, though, many of us did not have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and have to turn more Japanese while squatting over a long porcelain Japanese john...

I was happily minding my own business when the whole world began to groan and creak and rattle and roll...

Oh crap! My first ever earthquake! And it's a doozy! It went on for about 30 seconds, or so it seemed as I wondered if the walls in the closet that was my toilet... it really was a WC (water closet) would collapse on me... and days later when the rescue workers would try and find my body they would note that while I had not crapped my pants, I actually saved myself that distinction by not having them any higher than my ankles.

Yeah... sitting on the toilet... trying to evacuate the bowels and then get creamed by a fallen wall during an earthquake. Not gonna be my epitaph.

Obviously I survived... and I think it was only a 4.8 Magnitude pisser... something most Japanese won't even fall out of bed over... but for me... whew!

That was 1990... and while I make light of it here and now, it really was frightening even though it was nothing rather harmful.... and so... I can't even begin to imagine what a real quake over a 6.0 would feel like or how scared I would have been.

I never had to go through that while I was there... just lucky, I guess. I saw Kobe a few times before it was flattened in 1995... and the same with Sendai before it got a big jolt of the tsunami after the March 11, 2011 quake...

My point is... I first wrote about this little experience of mine back in 2009 - when I first started this blog... too far removed from Kobe, and in advance of the next big one... so... sorry if it seems flippant.

I went through one other minor quake in Ohtawara a year later, that freaked me out again, but apparently no one else... and then after a visit to Kristine's old boyfriend's place in Tokyo (minus Kristine, as the lad and I had become very good friends), I discovered that Tokyo shakes at least once a day... it became no biggie.

In the ensuing 25 years in Toronto, we've had maybe three quakes we could feel... everyone around was all in a panic, but me... it was used to it enough where I barely reacted.    

Time has a way of changing one's view on things.

Andrew Joseph 

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