Once again, we were awakened in the wee hours of the morning by the earth shaking beneath us! An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 struck offshore less than 100 miles from here and was followed about half an hour later by a second quake with a magnitude of 5.3. It was definitely our most prolonged and bumpy ride so far! It wasn’t enough to drag us from our beds, however, and we’re happy to report that we’re fine. We haven’t heard reports of any serious damage but apparently two people suffered minor injuries from falling furniture. An 18-year-old boy was hit when his stereo speakers fell onto his bed, and a 25-year-old man was hit by objects rattling off shelves.
Fortunately, we don’t have anything located in such a way that it could fall on us while we sleep. The clothing rod in our closet did collapse this morning, however! It’s a temporary rod that we rigged up because there wasn’t anywhere to hang clothes so it isn’t very stable and it was obviously shaken loose by the quake. It’s now back in place again.
Of somewhat greater concern is the fact that our gas has been off all day meaning no cooking and no hot water. As a safety feature, the gas to the apartment is supposed to shut off automatically in the case of an earthquake. This is the first time we’ve had a quake strong enough for that to happen. Normally, we should be able to go out to the gas meter on the side of the building and reset it but that hasn’t worked so we’re assuming that the gas is off to the whole building. Our instructions for such an occasion are to call the gas company and say “gas-ga-ki-te-nai” (my gas has not turned back on yet) but when Rich tried that he got a lengthy recording in Japanese. It probably explains the situation but, of course, we don’t understand a word of it! He then called the school and left a message for Miki, the gal who handles everything to do with housing. Hopefully she can phone the gas company for us and figure out what’s going on. In the meantime, we’re managing fine without it and if it’s not on by the time I get home from school this evening, I guess we’ll just have to go out for supper. Darn it anyway!
We fully expected to experience earthquakes while in Japan. In fact, I would have been disappointed if we hadn’t but we didn’t realize how frequent they would be. Apparently, however, 20% of the world’s earthquake activity happens here in Japan so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve already lost count but I think this was probably our sixth! Of course, most are very minor. So far, most have happened during the night and the others while we were at school. We’ve yet to experience one while we’re outdoors on solid ground. I still hope to find out what that feels like.