When my mom learned that we are moving to Tokyo, one of her big concern is, "isn't there earthquake in Japan?" I can understand her worry, there are many things in life we can control but unfortunately nature fury is something that is out of our hands. Yes, there are earthquakes in Japan, as there are tornadoes in the States, hurricanes in the Caribbean and flooding in Europe. The best way to deal with these unforeseen natural disasters is to be prepared as best as you can.
To remember the Great Hanshin Earthquake that occurred in 1995 killing more than 6000people, there are various scales of earthquake drills conducted on January 17 throughout Japan. That devastating earthquake measured at 7.2 Richter scale struck at 5:46am shattering Kobe and its surrounding regions, had caught the country by surprise. Japanese government aims to educate its citizens on how to react in an earthquake emergency situation to protect themselves, and if possible, rescue others. Together with volunteer organizations, and even US Military, they carried out earthquake simulation and response exercise which over 800,000 people took part in.
I attended a locally organized drill, despite it’s at a community level, the effort was rather large-scale and impressive. First, it was a pretty windy and chilly morning, I was very reluctant but too curious to pass on an event like this. When I arrived, the whole arena was filled with fire trucks, ambulances, emergency personnel, even helicopters circling above! So looked like this is serious business .....
Hehe, to start things off, hot tea to keep us warm :)
OK, time to work - first, learn how to tie a knot (for escape?)
Next, administering CPR to a victim
Then, using blanket and 2 sticks to make a temporary stretcher for transporting patients
Now, as if they didn't work me hard enough. I was 'volunteered' to feel out this tremor booth for a Richter scale 5-7 experience. Let's say, my dear sisters, that was actually quite scary and my intestines almost turned upside down :(
Then they stuck me into this smoke-filled maze. Why? They want to BBQ me for lunch?!
No, actually they had something else in mind to feed us. They wanted us to taste this nutritious whole grain rice which will be handed out in a real earthquake. Looks delicious but I think my intestines are still stuck in my throat :(
Maybe a big bottle of water like this will wash them down? Hehe seriously, this is an emergency supply kit that every household should have.
I feel that I have learned a valuable lesson from this drill. Not that I am ready for an earthquake to happen, I don't think anybody is ready for that. But knowing how the law enforcement, emergency personnel and general public are preparing for it has definitely raise this foreigner's awareness, and peace of mind too :) May this beautiful country be safe from these devastations.