Calling Tanuki Soup... [Hound check-in thread]
Thanks so much for the kind thoughts, E_M.
It was pretty bad here (about an hour north of Tokyo). My entire house was trashed -- every book, DVD, and CD case crashed to the floor. The refrigerator wandered into the middle of the kitchen. Everything was shaken out of the kitchen cabinets to smash onto the counters and floor. Broken glass, salad dressing, barbecue sauce, etc., etc. everywhere. Some of the dishes and glasses in the china cabinet were shattered by the intense shaking. I'm still slowly digging my way out of the rubble. As least the kitchen is in usable condition now.
Even though it was pretty bad here, it was nothing like what's happening to the people farther north or on the east coast. I'm sure you've seen the videos of tsunamis picking up houses and smashing them into each other. My area suffered a blackout for about 15 hours, but I think something like 5 million people are still without power -- just cold and miserable. There are also pretty intense aftershocks every half hour or so. And let's not even talk about the possibility of the Fukushima nuclear power plant suffering a major meltdown.
On the positive side, I have to say that Japanese people are really great at pulling together after disasters like this one. My colleagues from work, my friends, and my neighbors are all keeping in contact, and we're all trying to look out for each other. And unlike a lot of places, there was no looting, violence, or other crime in the aftermath.
To inject a note of grim black humor, I heard a report on the radio that really illustrates how well Japanese people deal with things like this. After the quake, the entire mass transit system in Tokyo shut down, so MILLIONS of people were forced to try to walk home. But instead of clogging the streets and causing massive congestion, everyone stayed on the sidewalks and obeyed the pedestrian red and green signals. Incredible!