The earthquake chime sounds like something that might come from a toy magic wand.
Bliiiiing bliiiing called the speakers in the teachers' office. I crawled under my desk and started crying. That was yesterday.
The Japan Meteorological Society says that there's a 70% chance of a big earthquake in Nagano Ken before Thursday. Which is where I live. The one yesterday was so small that we didn't even feel it. I was at the end of my sanity, thus the crying under my desk. Every tiny tremor could be a harbinger for something much worse. The other teachers were calm. They are Japanese, which is synonymous with resilient and stubborn. They don't let fear overtake them.
The vibe here is very post-September 11, without the fear. So much tragedy that it's hard to believe.
But, for now, we are still safe. We are far from all of the malfunctioning nuclear power plants.
I feel a lot better today. I turned off the news for a while last night and watched a funny movie. (I've been watching the news live online; the network has earthquake alerts which give you about 30 seconds to prepare.) It's hard to concentrate on anything except the mounting destruction.
I have never been more ready to come home. All I could think about yesterday was how much I wanted to hug the people I love. When that chime dinged through the loudspeakers, I thought about their faces. Catastrophe makes you realize how fragile we humans are, and how precious the people in our lives are.
I will try to post a map soon showing where we are in relation to the destruction. Far enough away that we aren't living in an apocalyptic nightmare. But there is a gas shortage here. My main concern is getting to the airport on March 25, the day that we are scheduled to fly out of Japan.
We have stocked Zack's military backpack with emergency supplies. I keep a few supplies in my purse at all times. Maybe it's paranoia, but I feel better being a little prepared. And I could use any peace of mind that I can find.
So tell your family that you love them, and please keep praying. Some people think that praying doesn't work, but I know it does. And please consider donating to the Red Cross or another relief organization of your choice. I will do some research and post some links soon.
I love you all. Please stay safe.