I happen to be in Tokyo at the moment and have witnessed first hand the aftershocks of the 8.9 Magnitude earthquake that hit Sendai in the north of Japan.
I was out in Tokyo shopping for last minute souvenirs when the first aftershock was felt. It was pretty scary as you have no idea what’s happening or what’s going to happen to you. The first big one must have lasted 3 or 4 minutes and it seemed that the floor was being swept from under us. Then a rocking motion side to side joined in and we knew what we were getting into.
The Japanese people were pretty calm to say the least and even one guy said “hey, be cool, it’s ok”. But even he realised later that this was no ordinary quake. Some of the Japanese quickly took out their phones and we heard the news coming through from Sendai that there had been a Tsunami and that it was a big one. The next thing we knew was that aftershock 2 was kicking in and shaking the earth again.
I think we were lucky enough to be out on the street in the old area of Asakusa when the aftershocks struck Tokyo. Being in one of their skyscrapers would have been hell. One of the main Metro stations Shinjuku which is the most transited in the world was quickly evacuated putting thousands onto the streets. The people had to leave the carriages and walk down the tracks to get out. Some people in our hotel were trying on clothes when it hit and the ceilings of the department stores came falling down. Others had a 3 hour walk back to the hotel from the centre as everything in Tokyo hit gridlock.
British Airways have now informed us that we are stuck here for a few days more and it looks like we’ll be leaving from Narita airport on 15th March. Transport to Narita airport at the moment is restricted and Narita was closed the last time I checked.
Well, an experience to tell everyone back in London and Barcelona over tea and crumpets for the next few years!