Saturday, March 12, 2011

When the earth beneath you......moves & tsunamis rolling in.


For two days, the whole world has its focus on Japan. Specifically, near Honshu, miyagi prefecture area. Now, that area was rippled with a fierceful force recorded at 8.9 magnitude and has so far took about 1,500 lives while an estimated 9,500 lives are missing.

2. Although Japan is no stranger to encountering and overcoming natural disasters such as tsunami (the name itself is derived from nihongo) and earthquakes (as the country's geographically sits on the pasific rings of fire); this quake deemed to be the worst that nihon ever seen in 110 years.

3. NOW, if this were to hit other places, no doubt my sympathy goes out the residents affected. However, since this is japan, nihon, nippon..we're talking, now that really make it a different picture for me. It bares more emotional baggage to me, almost like it is my home affected. Ah, but wait. Nihon does feel like a second home. For years i have been fascinated by its culture, language, food and scenic places; it is THE first foreign country i ever stayed in long enough to be called as second home ( i know there are many more out there that have years of experience in japan that may debate about the how justified is a particular period of time to be considered "long enough'..but hey this is my blog is it not?)

Above: Chiaky & Megumi- very nice and friendly almost like a sister to me..younger sister of course. :)

4. And because of that, anything that relates to Japan, i am more interested to learn more although that experince of having walked the soil of Tokyo and its surrounding was 5 years ago and the memories (most) starting to fades.

Above: 7-11 near my dorm. Without a doubt, the most frequently visited konbini (convenient store) of mine with usual take-outs such as onigiri, pokka coffee, sembe, and the daikon-heaven.

5. SO, with this incident, i can't help but to feel i wanted to know more of its updates since there are friends, acquintances, people that i have crossed paths while i was there (2004-2005) and probably could be affected.

6. While i was there, i have experienced earthquakes or as the japanese called it 'jishin'. Most poignant was in particular, around October 2004 when a big earthquakes of Niigata's 7.2 magnitude. I could still recall the day i first felt the tremors of an earthquake. It was around 5pm, and Rina (roomate) and i was lazying our room. Most of us (the foreign students were lazying around ;p ) when it hit us.

Above: Just behind that rainbow painted building, is the dorm speficially for foreign BGU students (what privileged really, clean, roomy, fully-equiped & facilitated). And my room was on the second floor (only room number two's window is visible here) FIY, this was the view taken from our class on 5ft floor in BGU (walking distance to the dorm, very convenient)

7. The books fell off our shelves, and i could feel the sensation as if someone was shaking the whole house. All of us (first timers at quakes) ran like mad, panicking literally; and one friend Erick Peterson (the funny one) was screaming "earthquakes people". He was our warning system.

8. Let me tell you, the experience was scary. The tremors wasn't that bad (as we later found out according to japanese standards)-4.5 magnitude, and this was the reading where i was staying which was in Hongo, Tokyo (quite far from the epicentre).

9. I remembered, my heart was racing as i was running down the stairs, my mind was having this flashes of memory of the faces of my family and people that i care for (you know the typical thing they say when you feel like you're life about to end and your whole life flashes back in front of your eyes). I thought then, 'oh no, I don't want to die in Japan this way'.

10. The funny thing about that, after what seems like a longggg minutes (but in actual fact, the tremor was less than 2 minutes); all of us were standing in the dorm's courtyard and just to be giggled afterwards by our very concern sensei that came to check us out.

10. WHY i say giggled? Because to the nihonjin (japanese) anything below 5 magnitude is a harmless shake baby! 5.0 - 6.5 considered MILD and anything above can be dangerous. AND rule of the thumb to them: they DON'T PANIC, RUN and SCREAM (of course under serious circumstance these rules does not apply! ;p)

11. That exactly explains why there is one old woman or the japanese called 'obasan' literally means aunty; was still very calmly walking her dog when the earth was shaking!!!!!! AND many just continue doing what they're doing with no real panic surge in them i.e. cycling although in a wobbly manner etc. LIFE for the nihonin is NORMAL anytime below 5.0 magnitude quake occur!

12. NOW, fast-forward, the Honshu quake. I could only imagine how devastating it must have been and learning from friends in Tokyo, though there was no tsunamis, but the shake was pretty scary. And if the japanese says SCARY, you bet your socks it is HELLA SCARY incident!! Nothing compared with midget tremors of what the folks in Putrajaya, KL have been fussing about some time ago when some quakes triggered in Indonesia, and some parts of southern Malaysia felt the aftershocks. (typical Malaysian always dramatic! ;p. having said that, our building aren't quake-proof so yeah, we can tolerate the fuss)

13. NOW being the ignorant me, i was never the kind of person who would keep in touch with everyone; but that doesn't mean that i have forgotten about them. I mean, every veins in me wanted to be that super-nice person that keeps in touch with friends and people who have been a great help/cheered up my life be it a brief moment; but i was never abled to be as such. I don't know why. BUT i do know that i REGRET it now.

14. In relation to this incident, i could only wonder the well-beings of those friendly faces that has touched my life during that splendid times i spent in Tokyo. Just left wondering how they are, because except a few namely Sufi Norhany, Mohd Zulhairy, Tomoko Negishi, Yumiko Hakoshima, Kazue Namai, Susan Branz, Lisa Onodera; the rest have no/frozen/terminated FB account to give updates about themselves.

Above: Miki and Moko Chan. The inseparable best friends and very wacky, over-the-top nicest people i have ever met. i miss you guys and good to know you guys are safe. p/s: Wish i can have a meeting soon with you guys just as Rina had, lucky her...demo, okane ga chotto arimasu hehe..

15. I wonder how are my foster family the Ito are doing. Terumi and her sisters, okasan to onisan, daijoubo kana? I wonder about another friendly face Fumiye Hosozawa who lives in Chiba. I wonder about the wonderful 12 girls - juniors of Bunkyo Gakuin University who attended that wonderful 2 weeks of English camp in Karuizawa.

Above: When i think of Teru chan, i am reminded with Boyz 2 she is one huge fans of the quartet. Teru chan, i hope you are ok over there..

16. I wonder if the ever so kind, Nukada San, the dorm's janitor, was affected by the quakes? Ah, Nukada San, deep in me i ache to see his face again. Although we could never converse in a humanly manner either in Japanese or English ( as he was not proficient in Eigo just as i was not proficient in Nihongo); there was this sense of warmth in him that i ever so miss, almost in a fatherly/grandfatherly love manner. Heck, he filled in the void in me when i was missing home so bad on my birthyday; he cheered me up by treating me and Rina tempura dinner that he claimed he'd cooked, he was the one who would buy the delicious onigiri (rice cake) of many varieties i.e. salmon,crab,egg for breakfast... I really hope he is still alive and well and wish i could see him again..someday.

Above: With the Nukada San....almost teared up when i write about him in the previous paragraphs. I really hope you are doing fine. May Allah keeps you safe.

17. My thoughts are with them and there has never been a single day in my life since i touched down in Narita that i have forgotten the wonderful experiences i had in the country of the rising sun. Nihon gambaraou ne!!!!

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