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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Report From Japan

Two people I know in Japan have reported back they are ok. Things are messed up to be sure, but they and their coworkers are all right.  Here is a personal post - 

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What a mess!

Actually, I haven't been able to watch much of the news so you 
guys may well have more information than I do at this point.

When you're far from a quake's center, the shaking drags out 
longer, so here in Tokyo (2 or three hours south of the area hit 
hardest) the main quake seemed to go on for about 20 minutes, 
ebbing and flowing in strength. Then quite strong after shocks 
started coming right away. I had gotten the TV on and was 
watching reports and sent out the initial email to you guys and 
family -- still jumping up on occasion to get near the door when 
an after shock hit. I was working at home yesterday.

After about an hour, things were obviously mainly over and I was 
about to get started on clean up here. Like many Tokyo buildings, 
our little house is very 'flexy' -- first floor just had a few 
things fall off shelves. Second floor, which really moves in a 
quake, is a mess. Three little rooms. One we use for storage, I 
can't even get the door open more than 6 inches yet. The other, 
where I often work on audio and video editing at home, is an 
utter mess. 90% of what used to be on shelves is one the floor -- 
computers, decks, books, tools.

Land lines and cell phones all dead, my wife's out there 
somewhere, can't get ahold of the folk at the office, and just 
about to start on clean up when my wife called from her work -- 
everyone's going home, but all the trains are stopped. So I jump 
in the car to go get her. Hour and half round trip took 3 hours. 
Traffic's crazy. Keep trying to call work. Never get through. 
Finally when we get home, fold from work had gotten through to 
our answering machine. No trains, so every one's walking home -- 
we live closest, so a bunch of them are headed our way. Jump back 
in the van, go out and find them, bring them back to our place. 
Then start ferrying 'em home. Done and got back home myself at 4 A.M.

The staffer who lived farthest away is about 20km out. Traffic 
crawling, we finally get to her place 2 A.M., and there are 
hundreds of people still hiking along the main drag trying to get 
home. I think Tokyo has 10 million commuters -- all walking home 
since the trains are out. It was pretty amazing to see, 
especially closer to downtown where I first caught up with my 
gang. Like the crowds stream out after a ball game -- but it went 
on mile after mile.

Apparently the company (6th and 7th floor of a downtown office 
building) is a mess. All the edit rooms have everything on the 
floor -- including nice new Ikegami HD monitors I just spend big 
bucks on! Haven't been able to get into the main studio yet -- 
much junk fallen in the hallway to make it to the door.

That high it shook so bad, and the so much plaster etc. was 
falling that everyone kind of freaked out and just wanted to go 
home. We'll begin clean up Monday. Wonder if we'll be able to get 
next weeks program out on time?

Obviously, though, while in Tokyo we are mainly inconvenienced 
with only a few tragedies, up north is a huge mess with huge loss 
of life. It's going to take years to get back to normal.