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Japan Earthquake, Diary From Sendai (Final)

Japan Earthquake, Diary From Sendai (Final)

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Published by Braven Smillie
Here is the final installment of my family's experience during and after the earthquake in Sendai on March 11, 2011.
Here is the final installment of my family's experience during and after the earthquake in Sendai on March 11, 2011.

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Published by: Braven Smillie on Mar 18, 2011
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12/05/2012

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DiaryfromSendai,Japan(Final)
March21,2011
byBravenSmillie
 
 
Photostakenonthedayoftheearthquake.UploadedontheblogofSendaiTakamoriPublicElementary,wheremydaughtersattendschool.http://www.sendai-c.ed.jp/~takasho/takasho_blog/ 
Duringourlow-techpost-quakeidyll,I’dtakentomakinglong,carefulreconnaissancetripsonmybicycletolookatthestateofroaddamage,changesintrafficpatterns,storerationlinesandthegasstations,allofwhichwereeitherclosedorhadkilometer-longlinesofcarswaitinginhopesofafutureration.Thequakehadimmediatelydisabledelectricgasstationpumps,andasubsequentrunonfuelemptiedstoragetanksthroughoutnorthernHonshu–that’smytheory,atleast.Soweresistedthetemptationtousethecartoziparound,visitingfriendsandrunningerrands.IknewIhadjustoverhalfatankofregular–about23liters,andlookingatthosegaslinesmadeitseemworthsaving.Ononeoftheserecontrips,IbegantosufferfromaconditionIcall“coffee
 
deprivationheadache,”andstoppedataroadsidevendingmachineforsomequickcaffeine.Twoyoungmen,perhaps19or20,hadgottherebeforeme,andwerefeedingin1,000-yennotes(worthabout$12each),methodicallyemptyingitofallitsdrinks–kerplunk,kerplunk,kerplunk.“So,it’scometothis,”Ithought,androdeonwithoutmyfix.Thisindignity,asmuchasanythingelse,tippedmeinthedirectionofleavingtown.Irrationalorsmart,ifweweregoingtotrytodriveouttoanairport,Ifeltwe’dhavetodoitimmediately,beforetheroadscloggedupwithothersjustlikeus.Chiaki’sparentswereclamoringforustocomestaywiththeminTakarazuka,nearOsaka,wellsouthwestofanypotentialdanger.So,strugglingtocontrolournervesandsoundcasualforthekids,wepackedupandtookatentativedriveofanhour,westfromSendai,acrossthemountainstoafriend’shouseinYamagata,whereweenjoyedrunningwateragain.Buttheedgysenseofimpendingpanicremained.AllworkingbusandairtraveloutoftheSendaiareawasbookedsolid,andwefoundthatthesamewastrueinYamagata.Wehadn’trunintoheavyroadtraffic,though,possiblybecausefewhadenoughgaslefttotrygettingout.TensehoursofsearchingamiddiminishingoptionsyieldedusfourseatsonaflightoutofthelocalairportinAkita,adriveofabout4-1/2hoursnorthfromYamagatabythemountainroute.Justlikeanydadabouttotakethefamilyonaroadtrip,Ididafewthumbnailcalculationsoffactorslikemileage,weatherandroadconditions.Butonthistriptherewouldbenomarginforerror.There’dbenohelporgastocountonalongthewaytoAkita,andanysimplemishapcouldputusinserioustrouble.Wouldthesnowbepackedorfresh?Wouldfreshsnowhidecracksintheroad?We'dhavetoforegotheheater,useneutralgeardownhill.
 
Wouldouroldbrakepadshandleit?There’dbedozensoftunnelstopassthroughupthere.Wouldtheybedamaged?Heavysnowfallwasforecasttostartinhours.Itriedtothinkofeverypossibleflawintheplan,butknewI’dmisssome.WesetoutfromYamagata,andruraltownroadsgavewaytoagradualclimbintolowmountains.Arounddark,IwatchedtheodometerandfuelgaugepassapointIwascalling“V1”,thepointofnoreturn.Moremilesandhourspassed,eatinguppreciousfuelontheclimb.IbecamesofocusedonmileagethatIevenslowedthewindshieldwipersdown,hopingitwouldsaveanounceduringthetrip.Andwhenthethoughtflashedthroughmymindthatthegirls’fightinginthebackseatmightcostuspreciousfuel,Irealizedmynervesweregettingfrayed.Itwasthen,about50kilometersoutofAkita,thatIsawinthedistanceatinyyellowdotshiningthroughthesnowinthedark.Couldthatbetheyellowofa“Shell”sign?AsIdrewcloser,Isawtwotaillightsbrightenbrieflyandveerlefttodisappearintoit.ThatglowwasaShellsign,whereamanwouldsell9litersofhigh-octaneandsaveus.Therestofthetripistravelogue.Thenextmorning,thefourofussatinapassengercabin,watchingthevideoscreenwithafeedfromacameraunderthefuselage.Iwatchedthedottedlineontherubber-scuffedrunwayslidebackunderusanddrawaway,concernedabutthecarI’djustleftbehind,mywife’sparents,work,andhowI’djugglethecreditcardbillswe’drackedup.Cartrouble.In-laws.Bills.IclosedmyeyesandthankedGodforreattachingathreadthathadsnappednearlyaweekbefore–thethreadconnectingustotheordinaryconcernsofapampered,modernlife.
 
Ourheartsgoouttoallthepeoplewhohavelostlovedones,theirhomes,theirfreedomandpeaceofmindinthedisaster.Andatthisminute,bettermenthanmeareatthecenterofthatbull’s-eyemap,bychoice,facingdownthefearsweran

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Meyra Zamri added this note
i'm a little bit pity to japan.. ^^
SYED ALAY ABA liked this
Barbara Alfaro added this note
Thank you for this vivid and compassionate account of what you and your family experienced. The images of the "thousand-yard stare" on the faces of the school children and later, the same children "hugging and encouraging each other" will be with me a very long time.
Scribd added this note
Read the final chapter of the personal account from Sendai, Japan. Read the entire series here: http://www.scribd.com/collections/291...
7BILLIONHUMANBEING added this note
god speed great read my prayers of god teaches are with all japan that more are found alive thanks for sharing
Michelle Laird added this note
A five-part account told with courage and compassion of one family's escape from Sendai. The author's edginess is palatable as he drives to the point of no return -- one eye on the road, the other on the emptying gas tank.
Tammy Nam added this note
"I closed my eyes and thanked God for reattaching a thread that had snapped nearly a week before –the thread connecting us to the ordinary concerns of a pampered, modern life." ... very compelling first-person account. If you haven't already, you really should read all five entries in this series.

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