Katie Oi just left for the JET Program last summer for the town of Minami Sanriku, a small town outside of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. Sadly, her town was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. Katie is safe, and is currently in the area, and was gracious enough to share her experiences, both before and after the disaster, with her alma mater, Claremont McKenna College. An excerpt is below. Katie, my heart goes out to you and everyone you know back in Japan. May your town, along with the rest of Japan, recover swiftly.
On Wednesday, March 9, just before noon, I experienced my first large earthquake. In the middle of class and panicked, I dove under an empty desk while the other 2 teachers remained calm for the students. The students seemed unphased by what was later reported as a magnitude 5 to 7 earthquake. I was mentally shaken, but we resumed class as normal. There were reports of 50 cm tsunami waves heading our way but nothing threatening. The highest recorded was 60 cm high.
The news made me uneasy: they were predicting an even bigger earthquake to come sometime ambiguously in the relatively near future. I became earthquake paranoid. Everyone was talking about it, telling me there was a 99 percent chance of a large earthquake to come soon. However, nobody expected it to come just two days later…