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 :
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.