Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Four years ago

It was four years ago ... about this time of day ... I was standing on our low wall along the street filling the window cafe (bird feeder) with sunflower seeds. Nikko and I had just returned from shopping and she was waiting at the gate.

Suddenly the metal shutters began to rattle.

That seemed strange because there was no wind blowing. I could hear rattling throughout the neighborhood and Nikko was beginning to panic.

By the time I reached the gate, it was clear we were having an earthquake. I could hear things crashing to the floor in the house and we hurried out into open space to avoid falling walls and such things. The power lines were dancing and it was hard to keep standing.

Along with another neighbor, we waited until the shaking subsided, then I returned home to survey the damage.   Lots of fallen vases and flower pots ... lots of dirt from the pots ... A bit of breakage of nick-knacks. My favorite lucky cat was not so lucky. In fact, the cat collection that lives on the step-tansu with my plants ended up the worst ... maybe because the third floor was shaken the most.Paul had gone to town and took a long roundabout route to return.

Tokyo did not fare so badly compared to Tohoku, though walking through town there are still walls that haven't been repaired. The wall north of our entry has a gap where the blocks were once joined. though the neighbor had the stucco finish re-done.

We had pleas from kids in the states encouraging us to get out of Tokyo but #4 daughter and her daughter were due to arrive that weekend for a visit ... and, after all, where would we go?

This week the newspapers are full of reports of what has been done toward recovery and all that is yet to be done. From time to time there is an after-shock but the spacing has become longer and longer.

Last year a small group from our church choir took part in a dedication ceremony for a church in Tohoku that we helped support. I was also fortunate to be able to teach a quilting class to women in the temporary housing ... and am hoping to return at some point. The Scout troop has also taken part is several service projects. Still,there is a lot needing to be done for those still displaced and in "temporary" housing.

And ... from this week, the Sweet Daphne we planted when #3 daughter was born has begun to bloom.

Though it usually opens by the last day of February, it has taken a bit longer, like her sister's plum.

I might think they are slowing down in their later years, but probably the new house across the lane, blocking out the afternoon sun, has something to do with the timing.

With only two small flowers opened though, the air is full of perfume for passers-by to enjoy. Happy belated birthday, Norie!


  1. It's so sad that after four years some people are still displaced... A hard time to reflect on for anyone living in Japan at the time. It was one month after the earthquake/tsunami that David's company asked him to come to Japan. I'm so glad we did - otherwise I would never have met you, my friend!

  2. March 11th, 2011 is a day forever imprinted in my memory. NEVER had I experienced such violent tremors in Tokyo. Little did I know that the epicentre was a LONG way away and how awful it must have been for the people up in Tohoku. Then followed one horrendous news item after the other for several weeks. We kept the TV on even at night to get the alarm warnings for expected aftershocks, had helmets, flashlights and evacuation bags ready. Now, after four years we need to be reminded of the horrors of that spring...
    Tohoku has a long way to go before it is back on track...

  3. I have only ever been in one .. small.. earthquake and that was more than enough for me! So sad that the effects are still being felt so long after the event . Glad you and family are still safe and sound though x

  4. I ended up under the desk in my office that afternoon, twice, as I remember. It wasn't a difficult decision to come to. I remember days of aftershocks where you weren't always sure what you were feeling, so looked at things like the light cords hanging from the ceiling to see if they were swinging. And no yogurt or trains for days.

  5. Earthquake memories are so vivid. We've been in several big ones - the Good Friday in 1964 in Alaska, the 1979 in the Imperial Valley in California and multitudes of others. Here in the Pacific Northwest we seem to have less, though they forecast a huge one for us as well as CA in the next decade or so.

  6. I cannot imagine going through something like that and with the houses being close together, it is hard to find a safe spot. It is wonderful that you were able to help those who were affected so badly.


  7. It's touching to hear your story of the earthquake four years ago, contrasted with the blooming of early spring flowers, your service, and the lives of your children.

  8. I can't imagine how frightening this must be when it happens. It must make you very wary at times. What a shame that some of your special items were broken. Yes, I know it was better that than people, but still sad.
    We had a small quake here only a few nights ago. Nothing in comparison to you, but the huge bang and the shake still scares me.
    It is delightful to see the daphne in bloom. It has such a beautiful perfume.

  9. It's so hard to believe that it's been four years already and people are still displaced. :( :(