journal

day 4, monday march 14

i went to work. the morning train seemed a little less crowded than usual, but mostly a normal day. i work in an office that researches disaster recovery, and does primarily knowledge management, which is a long way to say that we find and gather information, and then make it available. about disaster recovery.

we had the tv on in a corner of the office, and all day long i was listening in the background for the sound of earthquake alerts. japanese tv plays a few notes, and then announces that there is an earthquake warning. usually they say something along the lines of ‘strong shaking, get away from furniture that could fall, hold on tight, earthquake warning.’ and what area the earthquake warning is for. and then after about 10 seconds, you can see the area that is shaking on live tv. the first time i saw this, on the night of the quake, friday, i was surprised that they have such an efficient system. but by monday it had become normal, as there had already been many aftershocks, and also other earthquakes in niigata that were probably not related to the big quake (which was off the coast of miyagi prefecture).

on monday, i was working on classifying a number of documents in our online library. they were all related to disasters, and it was a little exhausting to be faced with all disaster (which is usual for my job) plus the additional disaster going on in japan and on the t.v.

during lunch, i asked one of my japanese senior co-workers lots of questions about the quake, and the situation at the reactor. i commented that the japanese news media seems really calm, and i found that reassuring. he said that we can’t trust them.

on tv, they announced that the kansai region would do a kind of ‘twinning assistance’ (as had been done in china after the sichuan quake) where osaka city, kobe city, and ….one more?? would each partner with 1 of 3 affected areas to support their recovery. this seems like a great idea.

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About liz

from the u.s., recently moved from kobe to sendai, japan, researching community-based housing recovery after disaster.

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