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Loving all stylish and wonderful things in life, fashion and interiors. I am English but living my life in the fabulous city of Melbourne in Australia. Welcome and please read on.... (contact me at sjstubbs19@gmail.com)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

News from Japan

This is my dear friend Celia; the photograph was taken in happier times last October when she and I met up for dinner. Yesterday she was caught up in the earthquake that hit Japan as she is on business in Tokyo setting up an Art exhibition there in the city. When I got back from work last night and saw what had happened I was so worried and thankfully was able to skype her and we conversed via skype for the whole evening - she was really happy to be able to 'talk' and feel connected over the internet with me - nothing else was working - no mobile phone networks or of course no ordinary telephone systems.... As she couldn't reach anyone from there I got her to send me the telephone numbers in England that she wanted to contact and I rang them from here to let them know she was unharmed.... Very frightened but alright and today she was able to send this email out to all of her friends from Tokyo. I know she won't mind me copying it and putting it on the blog as it does give a first hand account of what it was like there :

Hi all
Thanks for your concern for my safety. I know many of you have called the office so just to let you know that I am OK but a bit freaked out by what has happened. It was very scary and the earth was literally rolling beneath our feet for about 2 minutes. Everything was shaking, the cars, buildings etc. I was doing an exhibition at the time and we all had to rush out onto the street so that we had a better chance if the buildings collapsed. Some glass was broken but apart from that we were OK and sat on the ground until it passed, but at the time we didn't know how bad it was or where it was coming from so we just had to wait with the feeling that we could be swallowed up or crushed at any minute. It was a truly humbling experience. There were aftershocks all day and we are still feeling small movements every now and then.
The chaos that followed was inevitable and all the mobile networks were jammed and all transport stopped throughout the city. Traffic was gridlocked so people took to the streets and tried to walk home. People were panic buying in the convenience stores and there was nothing left on the shelves. I couldn't get back to my hotel so I walked for an hour or so to my friends house and camped out there like a tramp. I think that many people were worse off and had no-where to go.
Today things are getting back to normal but people here are just beginning to realise the extent of the disaster. Apparently it is the biggest earthquake in Japan's history but we are relieved it struck at sea otherwise the devastation could have been far worse. As it is, the resulting tsunamis that hit the east coast yesterday and last night have killed many people and swept away houses, cars bridges etc.
I hope it's over now but everyone is a bit apprehensive about the next few days. I am scheduled to fly home on Monday so hopefully this will still be possible. I am looking forward to being back in the relative safety of the UK. Its been a long and busy week and the last couple of days have left me feeling a bit depleted.
Will catch up with you all when I get back. Look after yourselves and your loved ones and concentrate on what's important in life.

So very true. Sometimes we do lose the bigger picture and forget what is important in life. I just thank God she is ok and my heart goes out to the many who have not been so lucky.


  1. S,
    Thank you for this post.

    I am so glad your friend is safe and well.

    The television coverage of Japan has been so shocking and saddening. One of the good things though has been to see the depth of support Japan has from Australia and the United Nations. I was very moved by the speeches of Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and Ban-ki Moon.

    SSG xxx

    Sydney Shop Girl blog

  2. Sarah, I almost don't know what to say.

    Still reeling from the overwhelming destruction and sadness of it all.

    Thank you for making it personal and human. So glad your friend is fine. When she returns give her a big hug from all of us.

    xo Jane

  3. So happy your friend is OK. This disaster really is terrible and really does put everything in life in perspective. Lx

  4. hi sarah,

    what an incredible post. i cannot imagine sounding so calm after going through that quake. being a native californian i have experienced earthquakes my whole life and i can tell you that they are scary. i can't imagine throwing an tsunami in the mix. i'm so glad she is safe and sound, and soon to be home.

    one thing i'm learning from this is that maybe my pantry should be more stocked with canned goods. i rarely buy them but now i'm thinking i should have a small emergency stash. omg, so scary to think about. thanks sarah for sharing this story.


  5. So glad your friend is ok Sarah..letters like this really hit home. After going thru the earthquake in Christchurch with my daughter last month, I know how you feel. Everyone is reaching out to help in both Japan and New Zealand...a wonderful and caring support network is hard at work.

    On another note, I am sending a little Blog Love your way to thank you for the support you have given me :)

    Best wishes Sarah :)

    Jeanne xx

  6. I've ridden out some big earthquakes here in California, but NOTHING like what those poor people have been through. It must have been terrifying. I'm so glad to hear your friend is OK! Thank goodness the Japanese engineer and build to withstand the quakes.

  7. How wonderful you were able to reach her, and get in touch with her friends and family.

  8. The internet is such a helpful tool in times like this especially helping to connect people...you must be very relieved to know that your friend is safe and that you can help alleviate fears for many of her friends and family.

    I am going to be putting together an emergency kit as we here in BC have quakes and are vulnerable to tsunamis...
    I have been very remiss in not putting one together, like Janet I will be buying some bottled water and canned goods and setting them all in a tub which I will store in my garden shed with some other supplies and a first aid kit....
    I hope that we'll never need to use it.

    Sending thoughts and prayers to those in Japan.

  9. I'm glad that your friend is OK.
    Like Pseu, I've been in some big earthquakes but nothing that lasted for 2 minutes with multiple big aftershocks.
    Thank God for Skype and other technology that can keep us connected to our family and friends during times like these.

  10. Dear SE,
    thanks for this post. I am glad your friend is safe. My thoughts are with everyone affected by this disaster. The world has been dealt cruel blows this year. And it's only March. As she said, it puts our lives into perspective - hold on to what's important.
    I wish your friend a safe trip home.

  11. Goodness. I'm so glad she is OK...
    Nonetheless, the unfolding stories and death toll is just awful in the rest of the country. Like others above, my own emergency arrangements are good but could do with a bit more attention.

  12. Hi Semi-Expat,
    So glad to hear that your friend Celia is ok...
    The coverage of the disaster has been horrendous.
    We are so lucky these days to have so many forms of technology to be able to stay in touch.

  13. Semi-Expat,so pleased that your friend is safe,and that you were able to inform her family.
    We have all been getting relief boxes ready to send out....we are so lucky to have never had quake problems in the UK. Ida

  14. So glad that Celia is safe and well. I have a friend who is honeymooning in Japan and it's so sad what is happening there. Reminds you of the fragility of life and how we should all cherish our relative safety.

  15. Good news. It's a terrible situation and makes you wonder when it will all end.

  16. The situation in Japan is terrible - the news footage of the tsunami quite unbelievable. Let's hope the after-shocks die down and the nuclear power plant doesn't blow.

  17. I have to turn the news off it makes me cry.

  18. I'm with FF. This has been so humbling. Thank you for this first hand account. Amazing strength comes from devastating adversity.


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