3.11: Did the Earth Just Move?

A first-hand account from Tokyo of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis triple-header, which struck Japan March 11th, 2011.

Bright Tokyo sunlight spills like holiday wine into the classroom. The fine weather makes it even harder for the students to stay in their chairs on this Friday afternoon before spring break. Never mind other distractions, like the roar of an airplane close overhead or the rumbling of earth moving equipment as it passes close by the school.

The students try their best. 16 heads bend over laptops, gamely putting final touches on term papers. Finish this, they know, and it’s smooth sailing into two weeks of vacation.

But that earth moving equipment just keeps getting closer and louder, coming down the road, then for some reason pulling into the parking lot at the front entrance of the school. Then, bizarrely, it moves into the school itself, comes down the hallway, through the closed door, the noise and vibration impossible to ignore as it comes right inside the classroom with us and I think we all realize at the same time this is no earth moving equipment at all but a temblor, an earthquake. A big one.

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