October 24, 2004

Earthquakes Hit Japan

At about six o'clock last night, the first of a series of strong earthquakes shook Tokyo. The epicentre was actually located 260 km away in Niigata, where the strongest quake was measured as a 6.8 magnitude. Thirteen people have been killed and three hundred have been injured.

It certainly was not the inevitable 'Big One', that all of us Tokyoites have been concerned about for years, but it was a good reminder to prepare.

The first time I felt a quake, was eight and a half years ago, during the first week of my arrival. At the time, I was sharing an apartment with a New Yorker, who was terrified when the building started to shake and rattle. He immediately lit up a cigarette, and neurotically sucked off it. In the meantime, I was pretending to be surfing, whilst singing The Beach Boys! These days, I am a little more sombre about quakes.

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