Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Earthquake!

The next day, we headed back to the train lines to head for Osaka. It was on these trains that the great earthquake hit: we felt nothing and had no idea that the disaster had happened. We arrived in Osaka a few hours later and started to explore. After Calvin received a couple texts and we found a television, we realized that an earthquake had occurred. However, it was just a street television, and we still did not glean the magnitude of the damage to the northern parts of Japan. As far as we could tell, everyone was calm and happy in Osaka. We finished up the day and spent the night in an internet cafĂ©. I thought this experience was quite bizarre but very fun. You rent a little room with a computer for eight hours, and you can surf the ‘net, watch movies, or sleep. But, because we only had it for eight hours we had to wake up at 5 and head out of Osaka. On our way up we stopped at Nara for a quick peak at the infamous deer and giant Buddha.

We had planned on it taking all day to get to Tokyo on the trains due to the earthquake. But, we got to a point near Nagoya where we were informed that the JR trains would go no further north. We waited in a long line of anxious people for a bus only to be informed that buses to the Tokyo area had been filled up for the next two days. We felt very stuck. It seemed our options were taking a Shinkansen, a very expensive, fast train to Tokyo, or hitchhiking. Though we considered putting our thumbs out, we ultimately felt that this climate may not be the best time to embark on that adventure. We bit the bullet and took the speedy train into Tokyo.

Back at Calvin’s dorm, his friends were abuzz with stories of their adventures, and we got to hear about the rumbling and shaking that the buildings in Tokyo went through. To be clear, the damage in Tokyo and to the south was relatively minimal. Japan’s buildings were built very soundly and though objects were jumbled and some structural damage occurred, the citizens of this area, for the most part, stayed safe. The devastation occurred in an area north of Tokyo called Sendai. In this city and surrounding area, the tsunami waves proved once again humanity’s helplessness when faced with the raw power of nature. Calvin’s dorm mates, though safe, huddle around the television watching the news unfold about their country. We have felt a bit of rumbling and aftershocks. As we proceed forward cautiously, we pray for the families of the victims and the safety and recovery of Japan.

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