Posts Tagged ‘ Earthquake ’

“Stars in the Sky”

My friend lives with her husband and children on Bowen Island, British Columbia.  Last night she sent me this email which, after asking and gaining her permission, I now publish.

 

Just home from a fundraiser for Sendai.

Someone here on Bowen lived Sendai-way for a year, 15 years ago.  She read a letter from ‘Michiko’ with whom she has kept in touch since then.  A touching story of a schoolbus found, full of kindergarten-age children who were to graduate the next day, clasping one another, gone.

“They are now stars in the sky,” said the letter.  More than a few sniffles . . .
Michiko wrote that there are hundreds of stories like that.  I cannot imagine.  I don’t want to imagine.

The woman here has kept in touch with three of the people she met.  She’s only been able to track down two of them since March.

The fragility of life.

Afternoon nap. Hibiya Park. Tokyo. October 2007.

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EARTHQUAKE. 地震。

A small part of Tokyo from the top floor of the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. May 2010

+ Please see various updates below.   +

A friend Tweeted that the Shinagawa Prince, where I and a group of MBA Students stayed last May, had run out of blankets for commuters stranded in Tokyo when the train lines were shut down following today’s (March 11, 2011) 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Honshu Island, above Tokyo.  You see, the Shinagawa Prince is next to Shinagawa Station, where several train lines converge, including the major North-South Shinkansen (“Bullet Train”) line and the Yamanote Loop Line that circles Tokyo.

Police said 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai, the city in Miyagi prefecture, or state, closest to the epicenter. Another 110 were confirmed killed, with 350 people missing. Police also said 544 people were injured. AP Wire Story

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I have a business trip to Japan planned a little less than 5 weeks.  I look all the more forward to being there, seeing friends and carrying on with life in Japan.

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Sunday Morning (in Japan) update:  Very Sobering-but-Calm, Matter-of-Fact Blog Update from Friend in Tokyo

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Sunday Morning Great LA Times article:  Japan’s Massive Earthquake Has Little Effect on Culture’s Impeccable Manners

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Saturday a.m. Update:

The death toll is likely to surpass 1,000 as about 1,800 houses in Fukushima Prefecture were found to have been devastated, according to the Defense Ministry.

According to a National Police Agency tally as of 5:40 a.m. Saturday, at least 184 people were killed and 708 others were missing as a result of the magnitude 8.8 temblor.

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11:00 a.m. U.S. Central Time (12 March 2011) / 2:00 a.m. 13 March in Japan:  over 1,000 confirmed fatalities.

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Sat late a.m. Email (excerpts) from a Japanese friend living in Huntsville, Alabama

Now, I get good news from my sister.  She got information from nieces about my brother and his wife  [ in Sendai ]  are safe.

It is thanks to you [various friends] that I can find out my family and relatives and also my wife’s, all came through the event unscathed.

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U.S.G.S. Map of the Northeast Honshu Earthquake

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More on the Friday afternoon/night train shutdowns affect on Tokyo-ites and travelers:

Crowds of people gathered at JR Shinagawa Station in Minato Ward in the evening, pondering how to get home after JR East announced it was canceling all train services for the day after strong aftershocks hit the metropolis.

Tokyo Metro Subway lines were also out of commission as of Friday evening.

Long lines formed at convenience stores and fast-food restaurants near Shinagawa Station as people tried to stock up on food and beverages, either to spend the night at their office, or in preparation for a long walk home.

A friend with the Hitachi corporation’s U.S. representative’s office told me by telephone that employees in the company’s Tokyo Headquarters (a large building near Tokyo Station) virtually all slept in the office building last night as they had no way to get to back to their homes.

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More Saturday Morning Update: One of those I follow on Twitter is a quirky, kind-hearted Tokyo hotel/hostel called Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Hotel.  (“Delightful, International, and Fundamental Hotel in Tokyo”).  I’m not sure who does the “tweeting” for Sakura Hotel, but they have this charming, simple, style of English composition.

Here are two (within the past several minutes) tweets from Sakura Hotel (@ikebukuro_hotel)


ikebukuro_hotel 8:51am via HootSuite

Don’t worry, Tokyo is OK.

ikebukuro_hotel 8:53am via HootSuite

You will see the rainbow after raining.

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Last November a ~6.9 magnitude quake shook Tokyo.  “Earthquake” in Japanese is “Jishin” (地震).

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