Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Earth is a Grumpy Old Man: Evacuation

It is lunchtime and my co-workers are standing, crowded, around the teacher's room TV. A steady prattle of Japanese presses around me, and I strain to pick out words I understand.

Someone translates and tells me, "They've evacuated Ojima." (The nearest outer island, connected to our area by a small bridge)

A tsunami is coming. It won't cause near the devastation that it's source (the earthquake in Chile) has caused, but the necessary precautions are being taken: people are moving to higher ground, barricading their homes, locking down schools, standing nervously in front of TV screens and soaking in the news.

But please, please don't worry. There is a natural amount of fear associated with natural disasters, but we have it easy compared to many places in the year.

Yesterday morning Okinawa was shaken by an earthquake. A 7.0 at the epicenter, but significantly weaker on the island itself. I know of very little damage outside of broken dishes and increased crumbling on some castle ruins, despite its being the worst earthquake here in one hundred words. It was terrifying for the time it lasted, but that wasn't long, and it was soon easy to forget. Then a real, dangerous, devastating earthquake hit Chile and I realized just how real the dangerous of the earth is.

I just learned that this area is being evacuated. The school will be closed, students moved to higher ground, and everyone who lives near by is encouraged to do the same.

It's time to pack up and decide where to go. I think I will drive myself and my two coworkers somewhere safer. This is still not cause to worry, (MOM! :)) people are just being safe, and I promise to be just as safe as possible.


  1. Go to and click on the English website for updated information.

  2. Glad there wasn't much damage after the earthquake. I figured there wouldn't be any because Japan is well known for earthquake perparedness in architecture. But it's too bad about the tsunami! No real way to prevent that... Hope there's not too much panic on the island and that you all make it safely to higher ground!

  3. Yeah my co-teachers were freeeeaaaaking out for nothing. It is all pretty much over, and no real damage done. :)