Ok in Tokyo


If anyone cares, I’m ok in Tokyo.

Though the north got hit hard, Tokyo was left relatively unscathed given the magnitude of the quake. We got it here at an equivalent upper 6 level, I understand, though it was a whopper 9.0 at its origin.

I was at home pondering Grady’s rehab, when the first one hit at 2:46 pm Friday afternoon March 11th local time. My condo started shifting, not so different from countless times before, slowly building back and forth. I’ve been though other natural disasters, including the 1994 Northridge Quake in LA, 1989 Hurricane Hugo and the 1969 Independence Day Flood in Northern Ohio. Live and in person, as they say.

But those were nothing. This one went on and on and on and on. To give you an example, the 1995 Great Hanshin (Kobe) quake lasted 33 seconds. Northridge lasted 45 seconds. This one lasted 5 minutes.

I wish someone would tell me that this was the big one and I can spend the rest of my days in relative calm.

I ran down the stairs and outside my building with just a sweater on, and headed directly to a hospital where a family member is rehabbing from a stroke. I guess if any building is built to survive an earthquake, it should be a hospital.  

And a nuclear reactor.

Experienced the 7.1 aftershock at the hospital. Another long rolling one.  

As for the northern coasts, the utter devastation is really heartbreaking for me. I love Japan, so to see hard scrabble folks up north subjected to such staggering destruction makes me shudder. The brute force of nature pummeling everything in its path, just rolling up those towns as it swept through. Quakes are bad, but it’s the floods and fires in the aftermath that cause the greatest damage.

Tokyo is in good shape. People are calm and going about their daily business. Of course, we are worried about the nuclear plants still as the cooling issue isn’t handled yet. I avoid watching CNN and the other western outlets and go straight to experts on the web for information.  I don’t trust that the local authorities are totally candid. Problem solving tends to have issues with prioritization in Japan, so I was skeptical from the beginning that everything wasn’t being revealed. If you ask a specific question in Japan, you’ll get a specific answer. But no more than that. I consult to foreign companies on management in Japan, and this is the clearest manifestation of how problems and leadership are handled, when push comes to shove. There is a great seminar in there. Sounds like my next project.

 The prevailing winds are blowing out towards the ocean away from Tokyo today, but they swing south on occasion. This gives me pause. Little to no radiation is measured in Tokyo.  We’ll see in the next week.

My first post. What a thrill.

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