Adventures in (Post) Gradland

Thoughts on life after the PhD

Aftershocks, Apologies, and Thanks

It’s a little more than 48 hours post-quake now. In the momentary calm afforded by a solid six hours without aftershocks, I thought I’d take the time to express a few apologies and words of thanks.

First, my apologies to Japan. I’ve sometimes made fun of you / sniped at you for being a “nanny state” and for promoting a blind adherence to authority. Well, I take it all back. If I’m ever the victim of a massive earthquake, I want it to happen in a country where people remain orderly and polite under any circumstances. Despite temporary food shortages and mile-long lines at train and bus stations, no one is looting, everyone is obeying the instructions of police and station staff–the level of calm in the aftermath of being rocked like a hurricane was amazing. So I’m sorry. Be as much of a nanny state as you want. If it helps me and millions of other people live another day, I’m fine with it.

Second, my thanks to engineers. I am still gobsmacked to walk down the street and see *not a single damaged building* after a round of shaking that would surely have reduced plenty of average buildings to rubble. If I ever took engineers’ skills for granted, I never will again.

Third, thank you to my landlord and his family, who have been checking on me and the other residents on a regular basis and even ordered pizza for all of us this afternoon.

Fourth, of course, thank you to friends, family, and people that I hadn’t heard from in months or years who sent messages, Skyped with me, and made me laugh when the aftershock-induced stress and sleeplessness was threatening to push me over the edge.

Fifth, thank you to my boyfriend for bicycling all the way from Asakusa through crazy streets at 2:00 in the morning while aftershocks were still happening. Don’t know how I’m going to repay that one.

Sixth, my apologies to the Tokyo train & subway network if I ever whined about all the unnecessary announcements. The trains were up and running within *less than 24 hours.* You’re all good in my book.

I’ve also learned a few things over the past few days:

1. I can take a shower *really damn fast* when the need arises.

2. After surprise and terror, my main response to being shaken all over my floor was anger. As in, “What? What the f–k do you think you’re doing, world? No way! I’m 33, I’ve got THINGS TO DO, dammit, this is not happening!” I’ll hold on to that feeling in the event of a major aftershock.

3. I really should have prepared an earthquake kit. Flashlights are all sold out, and if I lose electricity as predicted over the next few days, I’m going to be really bored in the dark.

4. Bread, ready-made meals, canned goods, and cup noodles are some of the first things to vanish from shelves after a quake.

5. CNN are a bunch of irresponsible jerks. I know they always blow things out of proportion, but when they do it in a way that potentially causes anguish to people I care about it really pisses me off.

This is probably the end of the earthquake postings unless there are other major developments. Sadly, some of the news is going to get a lot worse. My thoughts are with everyone in the north, if you haven’t already please consider making a donation to or the American Red Cross.




3 comments on “Aftershocks, Apologies, and Thanks

  1. Caroline Roberts
    March 13, 2011

    So glad to hear that you are all right and that everything is orderly where you are! Clearly, Japan’s level or preparedness kept the damage from being far worse.

  2. gradland
    March 13, 2011

    Yes, I’ll definitely never take Japan’s hyper-organized society for granted again!

  3. Leila
    March 14, 2011

    I love your posts Linds!! You talented writer you.

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This entry was posted on March 13, 2011 by in Japan and tagged .
Anne McKnight

writing•translation•scholarship on Japan (and a few other things)

A Modern Girl / モダンガール

tales of travel, research, and life is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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