The Japanese can be pretty blasé about earthquakes.
They’re accustomed to to the minor tremors that happen over there as a routine part of life, and can be amused when gaijin like me get panicked over small murmurs.
Several years ago, I was in a hotel in Tokyo when I woke up to feel the floor swaying. The actual motion lasted just a few seconds, but it had me in a cold sweat.
Not sure what the emergency protocol was, I called down to the front desk.
“May I help you, sir?”
“Did you feel that? What do I do now?”
“It’s nothing, sir. Please go back to sleep.”
While I couldn’t see his face, I felt a tiny smirk in his voice, and I can imagine his chuckling out loud after hanging up the phone.
So when a Japanese person writes something like this, it’s clear this was something once-in-a-lifetime:
Holy shit. That was the longest tremor I’ve ever experienced.
All the train systems in Tokyo area are still shut down. I saw streets crowded by those who were marching their long journey, which sometimes could take hours of travel.
And while I’m writing this, things are still shaky every couple of minutes.