Yesterday’s massive earthquake and tsunami has caused widespread damage across the coast of north east Japan. The Japanese television networks are getting lots more reporters to affected areas today; the devastation is enormous.
Here in Tokyo the damage has been minimal, though several people have died, mostly from falling masonry. I was at work in Chiyoda (right in the heart of the city) at the time and knew it was serious when books started flying off shelves. The urge to leg it out of the building as fast as possible was immense, but there really wasn’t time: the only thing I could do was leap under my desk.
It wasn’t really possible to leave work straight after the quake hit. Aftershocks were frequent and mobile phone call and text message services were jammed because of the sheer number of people trying to use them.
Amazingly, the most reliable way of communicating with people on mobile phones was through Twitter and Facebook, as cellular data services were still working okay. If you haven’t got either of these services installed on your mobile phone, I suggest you do so, just in case another big quake hits over the next few weeks. I’ve just opened a Twitter account (@AndyInTokyo) for this reason.
Most, if not all, the trains stopped, so my wife (who works nearby) and myself – as well as hundreds of thousands of other people – had to walk all the way across Tokyo to get home. It was all quite surreal.
Train services are operating in Tokyo today, but service is limited. The best place to be at the moment is home.
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