Living with the Aftershocks

Ed note: You might remember our mom in Japan, Emily, from her last post about raising kids in a foreign country, and the earthquake. We’re checking back in with her today for more of her first person account of the aftermath.

Emily's husband Doug cleaning the town of Noda

I was sitting at the computer when the shaking started again.   It was 11:30 and Doug was already in bed.

I was looking at houses for rent on Craigslist–daydreaming about moving to the warmth of Southern California. It’s been a few days since the last big aftershock and life was settling down.  Starting to feel almost normal again–“new” normal. At first the shaking didn’t faze me.  Then it kept going and the lights–and computer–flickered and went out.  The shaking got harder.

I ran towards the stairs trying to stay oriented in the pitch black with the floor moving.  When I got to the bottom I yelled up “Dougie!  Get my babies!!!”  The house was still shaking.  Doug was already in motion “I’ve got Gabe”.  He had a flashlight and was kneeling next to Gabe’s bed when I passed.  I ran to Gray’s room, bumping into things along the way, and snatched him out of his crib for the second time in less than a month.

Map of Aftershocks in Japan

Aftershocks so far in Northern Japan

By the time I got  back to the top of the stairs, the shaking was subsiding but my hands couldn’t stay still.  When everything finally stopped moving, we found some more flashlights, got out the candles, and made some phone calls to the states on the corded phone–trying to get news about possible tsunamis.  Doug said “at least our 72-hour kits are ready!  Oh, except they don’t have any clothes in them…!”  I grabbed a spare duffle bag from the hall closet and found outfits to stuff in for all four boys.  You would have thought we would have been TOTALLY ready.

Today the power is back on.  Our 72-hour-kits still sit in the front hall closet–with the recent addition of some kid clothing.  We’re that much better prepared for next time.  Let’s hope “next time” doesn’t come too soon!


Emily blogs at Acte Gratuit.

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Comments (3)

  1. Carina Wytiaz 04/08/2011 at 10:01 pm

    Just a personal reminder to make sure I’m prepared to handle this kind of disruption. Wow.

  2. Jillian 04/08/2011 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you for helping me to feel closer to all of those who have experienced such trauma. It’s difficult not being there, helping.

  3. Rachael 04/08/2011 at 4:39 pm

    This makes me stop breathing. I can’t imagine living with the constant fear of the earth moving beneath me. Be safe!