The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Beppu has been the epicentre of 31 earthquakes in the last 24 hours or so. Something like 5 of these have been Level 4 on the Japanese Seismic Intensity Scale (which goes from 1 - 7) and another 3 quakes have been Level 3. It's been quite an interesting day. They started around 11 pm last night. I was in my friend's car (a large SUV) and we were stopped at a red light; I thought he was pumping the brakes or doing something strange because the car was bouncing on its shocks. He made a noise of surprise and I noticed that the electric poles were shaking, and that's when I knew it was an earthquake. When I got home, I didn't have much time to do anything before another one came along, and then another ... I went outside, only to find my neighbour Keith lurking around outside, too. But apparently, the locals weren't too worried -- they were all still indoors. After a few more small quakes, we went back inside. There were a few more small quakes through the night, and a couple the next morning.

The next day, at school, the students (many of whom are from outside of Japan) were pretty excited. They all wanted to talk about the earthquakes, which would have been fine as long as they had discussed it in English! As it was, they had trouble concentrating on the lesson. It was made a lot worse by the fact that, during two of my classes, fairly strong quakes happened right in the middle! They only lasted a couple seconds, but the students were freaked out for a few minutes, and on-edge for the rest of the time.

The worst one came last night at about 9pm. It wasn't that much stronger (in terms of magnitude) than the others but it felt somehow more violent. Stuff fell off my shelves and onto the floor, and so I hightailed it outside pretty quickly. The thing about earthquakes (in my limited experience) is that they're pretty scary, and you want to run outside, but once you get outside, you realize that all the buildings are still standing (of course!) and so you feel kind of silly. Oh well, better safe and silly than sorry and squashed.

The Japan Meteorological Agency predicts that the quakes will continue today and tomorrow. I don't really mind that much, as long as they don't get any stronger ...

Here's how the JMA Intensity scale works:

1 - perceptible only to measuring equipment and dogs

2 - barely perceptible; some people think a heavy truck has driven by; unstable objects shake

3 - felt by most people indoors; noticeable shaking; foreigners run outside

4 - felt by everyone indoors and many outdoors; strong shaking; objects fall off shelves/walls; foreigners panic; some cowardly Japanese run outside; poorly-constructed buildings (e.g., sandcastles, card houses, etc) may collapse

5 - very strong shaking; even Japanese are frightened; people and 3-legged animals have difficulty standing; some old buildings are damaged; foreigners pass out and/or die of fear

6 - catastrophic shaking; even turtles have difficulty standing and may flip over; Japanese people begin to believe in God; supposedly earthquake-proof buildings are destroyed

7 - complete and utter devastation; the ground moves in waves; Spiderman has difficulty standing; bodies of foreigners and other objects are thrown into the air


At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be safe you crazy white boy you stay outside if you have to we dont want any flat Jeffs coming home.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger BeatDogg said...

Dude, you should lie down on the ground when there's an earthquake - free shiatsu!


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