Earthquake, Tokyo

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Tokyo – earthquake

The earthquake we experienced on Saturday night in the Shibuya district of Tokyo was the deepest ever recorded. It began 677km down deep in the centre of the earth, which is almost incomprehensible. Although the epicentre was off the coast at the Ogasawara islands it shook the whole of Japan and aftershocks were felt as far away as India and Nepal. One milder quake was followed by a much longer and stronger episode.

The Shibuya shuffle

It seemed to get little international attention as it didn’t cause a Tsunami (the more shallow quakes do this) and no nuclear power plants were affected. It didn’t get much coverage back in the UK where the British tabloid mentality was consumed with the antics of Sepp Blatter and Fifa and whether Nicola Sturgeon from the SNP would be getting her own talk show in America.

Not Sepp Blatter 

Earthquake – ‘Japan sometime shake.’

Sitting in our Air BnB which had been described as an ‘amazing cosy room!’ we felt the whole building sway violently from side to side. Everything that was still starting to move. I had a terrible hangover from the white wine the night before at the Crazy Force cafe and I felt really sick.

Shibuya crossing minutes before the quake struck

The Japanese are used to earthquakes. Their country is right in the middle of four giant tectonic plates. They have been devastated by natural disasters – volcanoes, earthquakes and Tsunamis many times over the centuries.

Thankfully, the Japanese have the most advanced earthquake proof buildings in the world. When pressed for earthquake info, the old lady downstairs shrugged her shoulders and by way of explanation said ‘Japan sometime shake.’ Our Air BnB hosts said ‘Yes we sometime have an earth quake but almost just small one so it will be no problem.’ When I sought further reassurance the reply was ‘You should hide under a table to take cover from a falling object. Then you can get out when stop the shaking.’ OK.

A rainy night in Tokyo

Earthquake facts

This quake was so far down in the earth’s core, it is potentially the most deadly type of earthquake of all. Liquefaction occurred. This means the earth heats up so much it melts the soil beneath the crust. It then forces it out through fissures to relieve the build up of pressure.

We both signed up to the app for regular alerts and updates. Another fascinating website for the natural disaster addict is called Extinction Protocol.
Was it only a couple of days ago we had arrived in Tokyo and started to feel like we were starring in our own video game?

Cracking the code

The mystery BnB

To find our Air BnB in the first place had involved a set of complicated instructions emailed to us the week before.  The long list was part pictures and part cunning directions set out in the manner of a treasure hunt. We negotiated through the centre of this Bladerunner city late at night suffering badly from jetlag.

We had to find a stock room down a side alley, then crack a code to find some keys which led to another set of deposit boxes which held the actual apartment keys. After travelling for about 36 hours this was no mean feat I can tell you.

We found the key!

Japan is a foreign country

Japan is the country I have visited which most feels like another planet altogether. It is Total Recall (the original) right down to the bingy bongy music everywhere and the cars which all look like Jonny cabs.

Even the toilets are space age. They play music and have different styles of squirting water at your nether regions. They have a button to create an extra loud flushing sound, for some inexplicable reason.

We found ourselves in a Karaoke room in Ginza a few nights later. It had the bad lighting and tired decor of a 1970’s working men’s club. There was only one song to sing. That top hit all over the world by Taylor Swift ‘Shake It Off’ or as we renamed it ‘Quake It Off.’

Self explanatory lyrics

Check out the swish Park Hotel Tokyo