Notes I made in March 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami
(12 March 2011) Thanks to everyone for the messages. We are all OK — the really terrible losses are all further north, in Miyagi and Iwate, mostly from tsunami, fire and landslides.
As it happens, I was on my way to Tokyo in a bus with two sopranos and two pianists, for a practice session with a tenor when the earthquakes struck. We barely felt the first big shock (magnitude 8.9), but by the one following (magnitude 7-something) the had stopped on a high section of viaduct which was swaying quite alarmingly. From that point on the entire transport system of Tokyo froze: we arrived at the practice studio, eventually the tenor turned up on a bicyle, and we had our session. The streets were full of people waiting and walking, which we did too, spent the night camped in the lobby of an understanding but full hotel, and eventually made it back to Sano by two o'clock in the afternoon of the following day (today).
The effects were worse in Sano than in Tokyo: a 5+ rating on the Japanese shindo scale, which measures the local amount of shaking, rather than the total amount of energy released (the "Richter" magnitude). Keiko and Aki were in the car, but came home to find various objects had jumped across the room but no no real breakages. People who were at home say it was the worst quake they remember. And the power went off, until 8:30 this morning. Now we have been without water for several hours, but it is gradually returning.
The delays to trains in Tokyo were certainly worse than anything I remember. And the sight of what may have been a million people in total determinedly walking home was certainly memorable. So we have been affected, though I don't expect any effect on the puzzle shop at all.
Our thoughts go out to those who have family and friends lost or missing.