Friday was practice for graduation day so all of my classes were switched around. So in the afternoon when I wouldn't have had class, 6th period I had my favorite 4th grade class. We were playing Jeopardy to review what they had learned though out 4th grade when an earthquake started. Now earthquakes happen frequently here so I thought nothing of it and started to continue the game but it picked up intensity to where things were falling off my shelves in my room. Thankfully, my classroom is on the 1st floor so we ushered all the kids out the back door bypassing shoes and everything. (My classroom is carpeted so they take off their shoes) We crowded outside and as I looked around I realized by coming out the back door we had placed ourselves in the corner of the fenced in around of the school grounds with a shaking concrete building behind us. With a quick glance, my teacher and I decided to grab the kid's shoes and take off for the playground. During all of this time, the ground is shaking!
We spend about 4 hours in the playground as kids parents come to pick them up. No one was prepared so no one had grabbed coats and it was probably about 40 degrees outside. Everyone was very cold and very anxious. Intermittently there would be both big and small earthquakes and I was so intrigued and thankful for being in Japan as I watched the windows of the gym shake violently but never did break. Despite the tough circumstances it could have been much worse had it been somewhere else. Japan builds their buildings for these things.
When one child was left and it was 6:30 (normally I leave school around 4:40) they released me but were to sure to tell me several times to be careful. I didn't realize at this time that things were so serious for some people. When I got back to my apartment, other AETs were waiting for me to take me with them so I wouldn't have to spend the night by myself in the dark with no water, power or gas. Simon was able to get a call through around 9pm my time to make sure I was okay but other then that phones were shut down as well. Mom informed us that there had been a tsunami and that there was devastation about 2 hours north of us. We are very thankful for the minimal damage done in Mito.
Saturday consisted of waiting in line after line for food at convenient stores as well as cleaning up friends apartments that had been ransacked by the earthquake. Anything not bolted down came flying down. At the same time, everyone is trying to acquire water and food since everything is shut down. The people of Japan gained my respect once again as I watched them handle this crisis with generosity and class. There could have really been a threat of panic but these people waited patiently in lines and shared with everyone around them. Saturday night we were able to sleep with power, gas and water. We were also able to get on the internet to see the damage that had happened in northern parts of Japan and we were all thankful for the minimal damage done here.