Crisis in Japan


After the Quake- J. Tenney

One Account of the Tōhoku Earthquake, 2011

-“You can leave. You’re not Japanese. My family is here. I’m staying.”

At that time, we’d been sitting in front of the computer screens and TV’s for so long that it seemed as though our watching had something to do with all the horrible images being shown from up north; the thousands dead and the raging walls of ocean water carrying some nameless, burning wrath that was sure to swallow us all.  It had been 3 days since the Tokai earthquake had ripped apart the northeast coast of Honshu, and it was decided that our futures were tied to the rest of the country’s.


I felt the earthquake on a quiet, Friday afternoon in my small, one-room apartment in the Nakano ward of Tokyo. It began as all the others I’d grown accustomed to: an odd rumbling in the pit of my stomach followed by a dizzying tickle. My computer swayed with the pictures on the wall as the fierceness of the thing increased in it’s intensity.

“Ok,” I thought, “This is bigger than usual.” It was. I stood in the doorway to my back porch gripping the frame with my eyes closed as objects fell to the floor from my desk, in the kitchen and the top shelves of my closet. “It’s a dream,” I thought. “It’s got to be a dream.” I was afraid. I thought about  the great Kobe earthquake of 95, being crushed, suffocation, burning, children screaming and everything else I’d ever paired with the idea of the big one.   (more…)

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