Sunday, March 13, 2011

Earthquake Update!

Hi everyone!! Thanks for all of the facebook messages, tweets, calls on skype, e-mails… wow!! I’m safe and everything here is going on as usual, we’re just getting ready for the planned power outages. They will go in cycles, so I won’t always be available to talk. Just know that I’m OK!

What have I been doing all weekend besides stressing over aftershocks, hoarding water, and stocking up on instant ramen?


Today some of my photos were posted on

I volunteered with some other people and translated a portion of these FAQ about the nuclear reactors for the Science Media Center of Japan.
You can read them at this link:

I also took a video this morning on my way to the train station:

Unfortunately the trains weren’t running, so I couldn’t get to work, which is probably better anyway.

I took this video last night when I heard some helicopters flying overhead.

We just had another aftershock now. I’m just praying that this is over soon!

Thank you everyone!

Friday, March 11, 2011


earthquake 004

I just wanted to let everyone know I’m ok. We are still having aftershocks, but I have electricity, so my heater works. The water is fine, but I have some bottles just in case. I also have blankets, a flashlight and food just in case things get worse. Hopefully they will not.

earthquake 008 earthquake 006

We evacuated school today sometime around 3. Things started shaking, and just didn’t stop, so we went outside to the soccer field/schoolyard where nothing can hit you on the head, and waited for things to stop shaking. It was scary.  Some of the concrete fell from the ceiling, and there are some big cracks in the walls. I got a ride home, because all of the train lines have completely stopped running.

There is an oil refinery in Chiba that has been on fire since the quake first hit. People are stranded all over Tokyo. Some of my friends are sleeping in their offices tonight. The videos on the news are really really scary. The tsunami have reached six meters high (or probably more) and are strong enough to sweep away a moving vehicle. Buildings are collapsed. Landslides are happening. The power is out in some places. People have no food, water, or candles. Miyagi prefecture, the hardest hit, has 34 people dead and 90 found injured so far.

Please pray for Japan.

We are having an aftershock right now. I’m scared, even though Tochigi is relatively safe as far as earthquakes go. I hope this ends soon.

for more information:

Tsunami Warnings (

Rail Service Delay Notifications (JR)

U.S. Geological Survey - Earthquake Information

Up-to-date Earthquake information from the Japan Meteorological Agency


My friend Masa made this really wonderful page full of earthquake safety information, and it is in English, so please be sure to read it and get things together for yourselves if you are in Japan!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


chanoyu 007

I’ve been reading up on Chanoyu, or Sado, or Tea Ceremony, or The Way of Tea, or whatever you like to call it. One of my coworkers took me to her ochakai lesson with her mother and for the first time EVER I got to wear kimono! It was so exciting, and probably also very good for my posture. The obi is very tight and stiff, but not completely restricting, but the most difficult thing, I found, was standing up and sitting down without letting the undergarment show. I felt a little awkward, but I’m sure if I could practice all the time, I could easily get used to it. However, putting on a kimono by oneself is no easy task. I have a kimono, but I unfortunately do not have all of the appropriate underthings…yet. Don’t you love the tabi (socks)? They remind me of Ninja Turtle feet. Hee.

chanoyu 001 chanoyu 009

Also, I’ve been to ochakai before, but this was a lesson, and not an actual tea-meet. It was way more relaxed than the real thing, which made me feel a lot more comfortable and about 75% less awkward and foreign! You can learn so much about Zen philosophy from tea ceremony, and Japanese culture as well. If you want to learn more about the way of tea, I’d recommend reading “The Book of Tea” by Kakuzo Okakura. It’s all about the aesthetics and philosophy that are the tea ceremony itself. The book also includes the history of tea ceremony and talks about its earliest forms. The book also has a few anecdotes about the most influential tea master, Sen-no Rikyu, who broke apart his tea bowl and committed ritual suicide after performing his final tea ceremony.

chanoyu 005

“[tea ceremony] is an attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.”

– Tenshin Okakura, The Book of Tea

Sunday, March 6, 2011


random stuff for the new camera 001

I finally FINALLY bought myself a new camera. The shutter on my old camera doesn’t respond when I press it anymore, so I’ve been using my cell phone as a replacement (If you haven’t noticed from the poor quality photos I’ve been posting here as of late). I’m pleased with the nighttime mode and I also really like the HD videos. So, look forward to seeing some nice looking photos on here in the near future!

random stuff for the new camera 004

(testing out the night mode)