Tokyo Day 4 – In case of emergency

This is just a brief token blog post. But I’ve got to say something. I’ve just experienced what could be one of the most tragic days in Japanese history, and I’m fine, so here’s some initial thoughts. More will follow.

  • Karen and I were on the upper observation deck of the Tokyo Tower, 250m above the city. That’s not a good place to be in an earthquake. But the staff were excellent; it was very calm, and even the group of schoolkids weren’t panicked. It was very orderly. And the cleaning lady continued to polish the lift doors and clean the windows all the while! Really, she did. Wish I had a picture of her.
  • Because of the lack of communication, we had no idea how serious the quake had been. After all, any earthquake couldn’t feel good at the top of a big spindly tower. And just like New Years Eve, the mobile phones all stopped working when everyone wanted to use them at the same time.
  • The only damage we saw first hand was a fire in Odaiba, which was out before we made it down from the tower. Having said that, they did keep us up there a while, as they wanted to make sure that the lifts were safe, as the alternative was 600 steps that are probably never used.
  • As we made our way up the street, the only damage we saw was 2 broken windows. There were bikes on stands that hadn’t even fallen over, so we still didn’t think it was too bad.
  • We were able to take refuge in Marty’s office, one of the safest places in Tokyo due to the sophistication of it’s earthquake proofing. We spent a long while in the lobby, with quite a crowd of people, then were able to get up into the building itself. Because of its construction, it’s a place to run into, not out of.
  • In the Mori Tower, we were able to watch the rolling news on BBC World, and realised how bad things were. We were even able to get some food there, and emergency packs with helmets.
  • Once the trains started running again, we felt it was practical to go home. We were able to get a train most of the way, but had to walk for about an hour. Again, it was a very orderly process; there is no panic on the streets, or even agitation or annoyance.
  • We’re now safely home watching the terrible pictures on the news.
  • The internet is amazing. Getting text messages in and out was difficult, often impossible; making phonecalls the same. But Karen was able to get onto twitter, and find out what was happening, hear that friends were safe, and post her own status. It was brilliant, and a great source of comfort. Likewise facebook and email.
  • Unfortunately, it’s not over. There continue to be aftershocks, any of which could be serious. I hope and pray that’s not the case.
  • I feel very humbled to have been a part of a day like this, in such a stupid place, and to be completely unscathed when so many have already suffered so much, and will suffer much more.

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One Response to “Tokyo Day 4 – In case of emergency”

  1. Teri Says:

    Thank goodness you are ok, you’ve been on my mind all day. Take care of yourself and update this site regularly, those are scary pictures on the telly.

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