August 23, 2005

Shake, Shake the Room

I've been in Tokyo for a little over 6 weeks now and in that time there have been five earthquakes.

Of these five, three were minor tremors just enough to rattle the sliding doors in my hotel room and two were "proper" quakes. One of the latter occured around lunchtime while I was in the office. The building wobbled around enough to make all the window blinds swing, office doors to sway between barely open and barely closed, and to make those around me put their company supplied hard hats on in case of falling ceiling tiles. To put it into context, this major earthquake was around magnitute of 4.5 by the time it reached Tokyo, but was closer to 7 at its epicenter on the far east of Japan. I work on the 30th floor of a building that is said to be able to withstand a magnitude 7 quake. If I'm at work for one that large my shiny green hat may not bring me much comfort.

Some people say the earthquakes are one of the worst things about working in Tokyo, but compare them to terrorist attacks and they definitely have their upside. Ok, so there is absolutely nothing to be done to prevent them but that puts everyone in the same boat. No-one is supsicous of others when walking around town or on public transport, no ethnic or religious group is persecuted because of an earthquake, and since they cannot be predicted you just live your life around them without having to worry about whether a goverment agency is invading your privacy in order to keep tabs on all and sundry in order to take preventative security measures.

Posted by Andy at 07:54 AM into The Rest


I suppose this brings a whole new meaning to the question "Did the earth move for you?"

Never having been in any major seismic events there's something I've always wondered - does everything rattle like in the movies or is it more of a gentle (if unexpected) swaying?

Posted by Dan at 2005-08-23 19:25:08

We had an earthquake in Manchester once. honestly no joke it was centered on Birimingham but we got the after effects. My chair moved.!!

Posted by Paul at 2005-08-24 14:25:49

Dan: The one in the office was more of a wobble/sway than a violent shake, but the smaller ones where I was at home things were rattling. For the first big one my friend's DVDs all fell off his shelf at home so during the second he was moaning that when he got home all his stuff would be on the floor agin :-)

Paul: Was your chair on wheels? :-)

Posted by Andy at 2005-08-26 09:09:25
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