Saturday, March 12th 2011
It's just after midnight. Sitting at home hunched over the computer greedily taking in information via twitter, fb, email and Japanese and English web news while watching the horrors unfold on TBS. Bourbon and coke in hand, considering writing a blog (its been months, as you can see), bracing for more aftershocks.
Suddenly there's a knock on the door.
Who would be here at this hour? The ladies from the office that I walked with to Ueno? Our landlord? The cops telling us to evacuate?
No, it was some good friends. WHOA (in the voice of Keanu). After ushering them in and sitting down I learned that they were in town (from Chiba) to have a meeting at a wedding hall for their upcoming party and with the trains being stopped, were stuck in Tokyo. They had to walk from Meguro all the way to Kuramae as we were the nearest friends that they could get to. Luckily they remembered the way, since phones were completely useless that entire day.
We cracked some beers and settled in front of the tube to tell our respective stories. They had just seen the images on TV for the first time at this point. As anyone that saw them that day will tell you, it was a sobering experience. The power of all that water and destruction it left in its path... Will be etched into our memory forever.
Clearest view of the incoming wave at Natori here (cannot embed).
We can only imagine what those local people in the stricken cities were feeling as they perched silently on those hills watching the ocean swallow up their homes, pets, family and friends...
(Reuters via 3news.co.nz)
Nine hours and several aftershocks later, adding to the feeling of disorientation, it's a beautiful, sunny Saturday. Slept like a baby. Weird. It's 11:30 a.m. Wife and friends all gone (wife at work, friends back to Chiba). Normally with weather like this, I would go out to run or bike and today was no different, except that today the goal was grim. I wanted to survey the damage in Tokyo. Had spent most of the last 24 hours indoors, other than the walk home, so it was still unclear how much damaged Tokyo had sustained. After 6+ hours of watching the devastation unfold on TV the night before, one hour in front of the TV and PC were beginning to drive me stir-crazy, so I took my wheels to the streets of Tokyo shitamachi.
No damage at Higashi Honganji
No damage at Daigaku Imo
No damage to this temple
(although there was a guy working on the roof)
First sign of damage
This was a stone lantern at another temple a few blocks away.
If THIS place is still standing, Tokyo must be okay, right?
The scene at Ueno at 2:00 p.m.
The day after, people were still trying to get home...
Finally some damage
Just tiles, though.
Another broken shrine stone lantern
It was at this point that the nature of the twin disasters became known to myself and Kuang Grade Mark Eleven as we started to check in on twitter and get panicky emails from friends. Also, for several hours, due to a chain email about the COSMO refinery explosion in Ichihara, Chiba, there was worry about chemical rain... This was soon disproved, but we then we heard about the fire at Fukushima Daiichi...
(to be continued)