The one thing that really struck us on the day of the earthquake in the the days after until we went home was how calm the people seemed. Especially on the day of the earthquake when we were riding in the taxi through the streets of Tokyo. The buildings had been evacuated and the streets were filled with people, but there seemed to be no panic. Many people were wearing helmets and masks.
I've copied a simple list that was made for international visitors living in Japan. It was interesting for me to scroll through it and check off my levels of preparedness. Even though preparedness is emphasized in church and in our community, there were several areas that I have neglected lately. For example, right now, our family water supply is pathetic. And old. I doubt we'd even be able to drink it. That's where I'm going to start. Here goes:
Japan is an earthquake-prone country. Be prepared and don't panic
when it happens!
Check your emergency survival kit regularly to see if the food is
outdated or any items are missing so that the kit is usable when it's needed.
Getting ready for an earthquake
Prepare your emergency survival kit.
Pack the following emergency items in a backpack or a bag and keep it in a
place where all family members can easily locate it:
You also need to keep drinking water, approximately
2 to 3 liters per person per day.
Pay attention to safety measures for your home.
Do not leave objects near doors, hallways, and/or staircases.
Do not put anything heavy or breakable on the top of furniture.
Secure furniture to prevent it from falling. It is also recommended
to secure TVs, personal computers and stereo units.
If you put something on the top of furniture, make sure it stands
securely. In addition, place some non-slip material under it to
prevent it from falling off the furniture.
Take steps to prevent fires.
Unplug electrical appliances after use.
Check the safety of your house. Check the roof of your
house to see if any tiles are loose or if antennas etc, are unstable.
Be informed about local evacuation area / center.
Do you know where yours is?
Each community has designated evacuation area to be established
in case of major earthquakes. Identify and remember where your
evacuation area is located.
If the earthquake happens while you are at work, you may have to
walk all the way home. It is therefore important to plan in advance
walking route to your home, otherwise you may find it very difficult
to return home in such emergency situations. Make sure to keep in
mind several locations of designated "return-home aid stations,"
which will be established along major roads in case of a major
earthquake to help people return home by providing water,
restrooms, and necessary information.
What to do in case of earthquake
If you are at home:
Protect yourself by sheltering under a table. If there is no
place to hide, protect your head with a pillow or a cushion.
After the main shock calms down, immediately turn off the
gas appliances as well as heating appliances. Anything that
could cause a fire should be turned off.
Open the doors to rooms and the entrance of the house. Always
wear shoes even when inside a house to avoid injury as there
could be pieces of broken glass or other dangerous objects
on the floor.
It is possible that small shakes may occur following the
main quake. Remember to stay calm even when you
feel the aftershocks.
Before you leave the house, make sure you shut off the gas
supply valve as well as the circuit breaker. If you are in a
building, always use the stairs to evacuate. You should not
You should always walk when you evacuate. Never use cars,
motorcycles or bicycles. Do not try to take more than you
need for emergency survival.
FOOD & WATER
Dear Kneaders Bakery,
I'm coming to visit you tomorrow, because I haven't been able to stop thinking about those Cream Cheese Brownies that you knocked me over with last week.
Just because I love your brownies so much doesn't mean I want you to come to my town. In fact, I DO NOT want you to open in Logan. I couldn't handle it if you did. Better if you and your brownies and your best-on-earth-and-so-crazy-that-you-only-make-it-in-the-fall pumpkin bread stay ninety minutes away from me so I don't have to "exercise integrity in the moment of choice" every day.
ps - actually, it's all about the chocolate
Thousands of wood carvings and large amounts of gold leaf were used to decorate the buildings. This elaborate decor is not seen elsewhere in Japan, where simplicity has been the traditional emphasis. The cat carving above is an image that is seen everywhere in Japan because of the legend that goes with it.
The Toshogu is the mausoleum of the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan for over 250 years until 1868.
Memories of lovely images and experiences keep surfacing as we remember the beauty of Japan and pray it will soon be restored.
We feel the same feelings our friend Nancy Crookston expressed in an email to me today, "My heart hurts for Japan. I feel such a kinship with that country as I am sure you do also, and I just can't believe the news." (Nancy is an award-winning oil painter and was honored to be a special guest artist and teacher at an exclusive gallery in Osaka, Japan.)
Scott's wonderful photographs of our time in Tokyo on the days before and after the earthquake are our tribute to the charm of Japan and its people. Tonight our special hope and prayer is for things to get better and not worse. And, of course, we pray for a special blessing on Gary and all those working with him.