21 August 2007


Last week, during one of my last night in Tokyo, I felt an earthquake. For the 1st time in my life.
It woke me up, and I must admit, very gently.
A couple of weeks before, Yoshiko had explained to me how to acknowledge the dangerous potential of an earthquake. Turns out, there are 2 successive types of movements: an horizontal one followed by vertical one.
If the horizontal one goes on for few seconds, it means the earthquake is not happening where you are and you can feel safe, because the vertical movement won't be very strong - indeed, it's the vertical one that is dangerous..
If the horizontal movement lasts for a very very short time, then the vertical one will be longer and it means: get under a table.
The same night an earthquake hit Peru, one hit Japan, north of Tokyo, near Sendai, 7.2 on the Richter scale. It didn't cause any victims.
At that moment, it was maybe 4 or 5 am, I was laying on my futon bed and as soon as I felt the horizontal earthquake, I knew what to expect, the vertical movement lasted maybe 3-4 seconds, and then, nothing and then again, a quick horizontal afershock. All together maybe 10 or 15 seconds of an incredible physical sensation that I had never felt before. It was an intense experience, actually very enjoyable, maybe because I was asleep, maybe because I was lying on a futon, hence very close to the floor. I can't describe exactly what my body felt but I was surprised to discover there were unfamiliar types of physical sensations. I felt naive and excited at the same time.

-- Joelle.

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