Tag Archives: Great Tohoku Earthquake

3/11 – Five Years After the Earthquake and Tsunami

Is it already March 11, 2016? It’s hard to believe that the big earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region was five years ago. I’m posting this at exactly 2:46 pm, which was the time of the earthquake. I Have some pretty strong memories of that day.

I’d like to direct your attention to a few posts I made in the past about the earthquake.

First of all, please read what I wrote two days after the earthquake on my Japan blog. That’s my very fresh memory of the experience. And then, the first anniversary of the earthquake.

In 2014, I wrote a comprehensive list of posts I made related to the earthquake. I recommend you read that for some very good coverage.

And then last year, I wrote a post with videos of the earthquake. I highly recommend you check that out.

Now that it’s five years later, and we’re moving to Canada, earthquakes are one thing I won’t be experiencing. In Edmonton, the ground is stable. If we ever move to the west coast, then we can experience earthquakes again. However, there’s a chance of a megathrust earthquake there, similar to what hit Japan five years ago.

Things in Japan have mostly returned to normal. However, the area around Fukushima is still suffering the effects. Not much has been resolved, either. The people in charge of TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) have been indicted on charges related to their incompetence and lies. They will go to prison, as Japan has an extremely high conviction rate. What will happen in the future is anyone’s guess.

A disturbing trend I’ve seen at times is people condemning Japanese people for what happened. You have to understand that the Japanese are the biggest victims in this. Blame TEPCO and the Japanese government for the coverup and incredibly slow response, as well as the poor maintenance of the power plants. Whatever you do, don’t blame Japanese people and insult them about this. They had as little to do with it as you did.

Comments and questions are appreciated.

Disney Japan, What Were You Thinking?

Take a look at this tweet. It’s in Japanese, but I’ll explain.

Let’s look at the first line: 3月11日 ディズニー公式「春よ来い♪」

March 11th is the anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. What Disney tweeted was this: Bring on spring.

Now, the second line: 8月6日 ディズニー公式「暑中お見舞い申し上げます。

August 6th is the anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing. What Disney said was this: Giving you mid-summer sympathy.

And the third line: 8月9日 ディズニー公式「なんでもない日おめでとう」

August 9th is the anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing. What disney said comes from Alice in Wonderland, and it says this: Congratulations on an unimportant day (literal meaning in Japanese). In English, it’s A very merry unbirthday to you.

So, this last tweet is actually very insulting. It’s making light of the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, as interpreted by many people in Japan. But Disney Japan’s Twitter account doesn’t normally do these kinds of tweets. Usually, they just tweet PR stuff, like announcing shows, movies, and other things that are related to the actual business of Disney Japan. They don’t give messages like this. But why did they choose these very important and sensitive anniversaries to tweet these messages? Someone at Disney Japan’s PR department is completely screwing up.

Disney Japan issued an apology and deleted the tweet, but the damage is done. The big question is, who is responsible for the Twitter account? And what the hell where they thinking?


The Tohoku Earthquake Four Years Later

It’s now March 11th.  At 2:46 pm Japan time on March 11th, 2011, the fourth most powerful recorded earthquake struck northeastern Japan off the coast of Tohoku.  I was in Yokohama at the time, and never in my life have I felt such violent shaking of the earth.  It’s an experience I will never forget.

Looking back, I’m amazed that it’s been four years since the earthquake and tsunami.  15,889 people died, most from the tsunami.  The buildings held up to the 9.0 magnitude earthquake remarkably well.  It was the tsunami that was devastating.  Not only did it destroy or severely damage numerous villages, towns, and cities, it also crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and caused a level 7 meltdown.  The surrounding area was evacuated and is still restricted.  Few are permitted to enter the vicinity of the power plant.  60% of the people who lost their homes are still living in temporary housing.  The power plant is still leaking radioactive water.  And I still live in the Tokyo area.  But no need to worry here, as we’re not affected by the radiation.  The most immediate area around the power plant has dangerous radiation levels, and the seafood from the area is not recommended for human consumption.

I would like to show you, or rather remind you, of the earthquake and tsunami.  First, you can read my account of the earthquake here.  You can also read about what an earthquake feels like.  Now for some videos.  First up is an eerie video of the skyscrapers in Tokyo swaying during the earthquake.

Next up is a video from a sushi restaurant in Sendai, which was the closest major city to the epicentre.

Back to my area, this is from the 70th floor restaurant in Yokohama’s Landmark Tower, which was at the time the tallest building in Japan.  I’ve been up to the 69th floor several times.  Let’s just say that even though we were nearly 400 km from the epicentre, it was an extremely violent earthquake.

And here is an incredible video of liquefaction happening in Chiba prefecture, just east of Tokyo.  He makes a comment that the movement of the ground made him feel like he was drunk.  That’s how it feels when you’re on the ground.  I was on the 4th floor of a building, so I felt much greater motion.

And this final video is of the tsunami itself as it struck Miyako in Iwate prefecture.  The incredible power of the tsunami can be seen and heard.  I saw cars driving on the street near the waterfront, and it’s quite likely some of the people in those cars died.  It should be noted that the tsunami reached 40 metres in some places.

After watching all of this, it brings back some of the powerful emotions I felt when watching it live on the internet.  I was at work and thankfully, we had power and internet access, so we could find out what was going on.  Even now, watching these videos, I could still feel the helplessness of four years ago.  This is something you never expect to go through.  Well, I sure didn’t expect it.  It’s something that changes your perspective on life.

I will never forget that day.


For those of you who know me, and know my other blogs, you will have seen this.  But if you are only following this blog, I’d like you to read something.  Please go here (the anniversary) and here (my full experience) to read about the Great Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  I got to experience it firsthand.

On another note, I haven’t updated recently, as I’ve been quite busy.  I have a book review to write and post soon.