Thursday, March 10, 2011


So, today there was an earthquake. My very first ever. And let me tell you, that was not a fun experience. Today started out really nice and sunny. I went to Bunchkins in the morning, and it seemed like a great day. BUT THEN.....

I was walking to the station from Bunchkins, listening to music and not really paying attention, when all of a sudden, it got really windy. I didn't think much of it, because that happens sometimes. I wasn't thinking "OMG EARTHQUAKE" at all. I was just thinking "huh, wind sucks."

Then a young mother came running out of her house carrying her (probably) 2 year old son, and her dachshund. She was very obviously terrified, so without thinking I went over to her, and attempted to comfort her. Because I speak almost no Japanese, I just kept repeating, daijobu, (it's okay) over and over while patting her arm. Her son was young enough that he had no idea what was going on, and I did my best to keep it that way. This poor woman seemed on the brink of tears, so I stayed there throughout the whole thing, which felt like I was on a boat. Not the fun kind of boat that's on the open water, but the petrifying kind of boat that is made up of earth, which is NOT SUPPOSED TO MOVE. The mother kept apologizing to me, and I kept trying to tell her it was no problem. After she thanked me profusely, I kept walking. That's when I felt it.

The panic started to rise. I knew the only reason I hadn't broken down earlier was because of the mother and her child. I tried to keep my breathing under control as I attempted to calm down. The entire rest of the walk, (about 15 minutes) my jaw was so tightly clenched, it still hurts. I managed to not break down, and I finally got to the bus stop. I had about 20 minutes until my bus came, so I thought about getting some food. I quickly realized I felt sick, and eating was a big no no. Then it was time for the bus.

I got on the bus, and was sitting down waiting for it to start, when all of a sudden it happened again. The earth started to move, and I started to panic all over again. I convinced myself not to start hyperventilating on the bus, and made it home with no issues. I am currently typing this from the house, which is still standing and fine. All the animals are fine, not panicked at all, and I only broke down for about 15-20 minutes. I still am worried about the mother I sat with earlier, and I hope she was okay during the second set of tremors. I wish I could have gone back for her, but I am glad I could be there for her at all. I am safe, so is my host family, and I am calming down quickly.

I hope you all weren't too worried, and I love all of you.



  1. The news said it was an 8.5 magnitude. I'm glad you are okay. I was really worried when I read the news thing. I hope you guys don't get a lot of flooding. And if so that just means no leaving the house. At least you can swim. AND I LOVE YOU!!!<3<3<3

  2. Your reaction was totally justifiable- what a scary thing to go through, especially since you've never experienced it before. I'm so glad you're all right!

  3. Love you sweet heart! Hang in there and when you feel scared remember - JUST BREATHE. We had earthquake drills in school when i was youg - I remember them saying that you go to an interior solid wall crouch down and wrap your arms over your head. JUST BREATHE!

  4. Dear Claire, You were the first person I thought of when I heard about the earthquake. Thank you for posting that you were okay. Be safe little one! - Sharon Lopez (Jr. High Religion Teacher/Mom of your friend Annisa) :-)

  5. Claire! I'm glad you're okay. I didn't even hear about the earthquake until my 9 am class this morning. Now you can add earthquakes to your list of interesting experiences... :-)

  6. Everyone NEEDS an update Clare!

  7. Olivia (Hayes) asked me to tell you that she is so happy you are safe, and that she misses you very much. One of these days I will make her get a Google account so that she can tell you herself! Stay safe, be well, and keep us all here at UCH posted.

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  9. My goodness, Clare, you were more brave than you know!! I lived in California and I've experienced my share of earthquakes, but never anything close to the magnitude of the one you've just been through. We are so, so glad you are safe! Your first earthquake was a history maker for sure!

    PS - this is Marybeth from church, I forgot my "nickname" on google is Seattle.

    PPS - Perry says Hello!

  10. Clare,
    I had been very worried about you once I heard of the earthquake, but when speaking with Rachel on Skype, she told me she read your blog and you were ok. Everytime I see anything about the continuing news from the earthquake and tsumani, I continue to hope that you and your host family are still ok.
    It is a very scary event and the fact that you went above your fears to console that woman with her child is just very amazing!
    Always take deep breaths and be confident in yourself...
    What a story to tell.
    Mrs. Diamond