Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SLEEP! or not...

Later in the evening John, a Japanese friend through Church (yes he is Japanese but he has taken a Christian name), came by to check on us before he went to a friends to sleep for the night.  He worked only a few minuted from our hotel in Shinjuku but he lives in Yokohama, which is a fair distance away.  That night we had Sarah and Caroline stay with us as they had nowhere else to go.  It was not a good night for sleep.
We made up the room by using cushions to make a bed for the girls on the floor and us to the beds.  None of us slept much.  Mom slept the most as was obvious by the snoring.  Not that I'm bitter or anything...

The things is, with Earthquakes, they don't happen just as one shake.  At least not the big ones.  Once those tectonic plates have had a chance to rub against each other they form pressure.  Pressure does not like to be contained.  That means that the fault lines and the plates continued to cause quakes.  Which means that Tohoku is still in a state of quakes.  None have been as big, but some have been as big, or bigger, than the quake that hit Haiti.  Sleeping in these conditions is petrifying.  Every so often the room would begin to shake.  Even before we had turned on the news, sometimes the room shook with such force that it appeared the TV would fall over and the hangers would bang together.

Ground should be solid, and buildings should not move beneath your feet.

Every quake seemed to wake someone up.  My parents fell asleep almost immediately but Mom was the only one to sleep solidly.  She only woke up when a fire truck roared past the hotel.  From the time we were in the park there were sirens going off around the city and helicopters in the sky.  The night was a long one and there were many quakes that caused the whole room to vibrate and my mind would be jolted out of whatever state of rest it had found.  A building shaking is not a silent thing.  Every object clanging into its surrounding objects causes a great clatter.  It is not the same as they show in movies.  Everything does not simply move back forth quickly as the standard shaking the camera approach protrays.  Instead, everything moves through the path(s) of least resistance.  Coffee cups work their way off of the saucers, hangers slide along bars, shoes move along the slipperiest line of the floor, papers slide out, books fall down, tiles break where the most weight is.  It's not a neat little unnerving set of horizontal vibrations.  It is chaos, and it is hell to sleep through.  Fear and stress can keep a person up for days over something the mind perceives as a threat.  When the threat is physical and a very real possibility to ones well being, sleep is more elusive than the infamous Wild Goose everyone chases.

The cute little cream containers.
Finally, when Saturday morning came, we all crawled out of our makeshift beds.  The girls went to the bus depot to find out what to do and get their refund.  The next day they sent a message that they had made it to Kyoto by train.  We decided to walk around and see the sights.  After all, we were in Tokyo, and in an area not too badly hit.  The streets seemed barely alive.  Many of the shops were closed and we were not sure as to the reason.  It could have been that it was Saturday and it was their day off, or it could have been standard procedure after an Earthquake.  We found a small cafe for lunch.  They had the cutest little creamers. Mom tried Milk Tea for the first time.  It is just tea (hot or cold) that is sweet with milk.  The sandwiches were not on the typical Japanese sandwich bread, which was fine all the same.  It was nice to have food and drink that was solid and knowing what was in it.  After we ate at the cafe we continued out wandering of the city.  While I don't personally recall quakes while we walking around, I'm positive they were there, but I think we were keeping ourselves busy and trying not believe they were.  At a certain point, we were never sure if they were real or imagined.  We walked down to the point we were when the Earthquake started and took some pictures.

The cafe from across
the street.
The seats we had when
the quake started.
The girder we stood
under for safety.

On Friday, when we first began our adventure in Tokyo, we tried to navigate to a gallery in a department store.  On our trip there we found a roof garden that was a nice place to sit and relax.  It was the Eight Story for the roof.  Had we been there when the Tohoku Earthquake hit, I think we would have been in much more trouble.

We spent much of the day in our hotel room watching the news and finally went for supper at a nearby curry house.  Which was amazing.  I love Japanese curry.  Perhaps I should rant about the awesomeness that is Japanese curry at a later time.  That night we slept better, but still not as well as I should like.  I wouldn't sleep through a night until we arrived in Kyoto on Tuesday.  Which, if I continue at this rate of writing, I will be telling you about in approximately a week.  Give a 'huzzah' for being thorough.  Admit it though, these posts wouldn't be as half as interesting if I didn't ramble.  Next up is navigating to Church in Yokohama.

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