On Friday afternoon around 2:45 I was teaching my 5th graders their last lesson of the year. We were shopping. I was so excited to see the things they had made to sell to their classmates! Suddenly, there was a slight earthquake. We get these quite a lot so I kept talking. But this quake didn’t stop. It just kept going. Then it got bigger. The entire building was swaying. The ceiling was flaking. We had the kids get under their desks and the teachers held the doors open, until they fell off. There was a slight break in the quake and we thought it was over. We all laughed and said, ‘’That was kind of scary!’’
And then it happened again, the lights went off and it just got worse. The teachers decided we should evacuate. We were on the 3rd floor of the building. We ran with the kids as fast as we could down the stairs and out the door. Finally we came to the playground, which is away from any buildings. We were safe, but the earth continued to shake. The kids were crying and we spent the next four hours comforting them and finding their parents.
I had an entire classroom full of 3rd graders who were singing ‘’If you’re happy and you know it.’’ The earthquake started, but we continued clapping our hands and tapping our toes because a little shake is nothing new. Then the shaking became a rumbling and several of my students started to fall down. The teacher began yelling to the students to sit down. Most students soon moved under tables as I held up a bookshelf that was threatening to fall. Light fixtures were swinging and students were screaming as the entire world around us was shaking. Once it finally stopped, all of the students were running outside (many of them barefoot or in their room shoes).
Once on the playground the scene was very organized. They were making many announcements, but it was virtually impossible for me to understand anything. About 20-30 minutes later we had an aftershock (or possibly another earthquake). The shaking of the ground and building were very frightening as well as the looks on the faces of the children. It took a little while for the teachers to assemble groups of students and walk them home. We cleaned for a little while at my school and then were dismissed.
Daniel showed up at the school and they let me go home. When we got home, we found this...
...and other similar scenes. We went and picked up our friend, Port. Then we checked on some other friends and headed back to our apartment to sleep. We had to push the bed away from the window, pick up the closet doors that had fallen off and all the clothing that had flown out of the closet, but after that we crawled in bed and tried to get some sleep.
It is still difficult to comprehend that we lived through the largest earthquake in the history of Japan. We are now tired, a tad dehydrated and anxious, but we could be so much worse.
The last few days we have been riding bikes to conserve gas, standing in line at convenience stores/supermarkets to get food and I regret to say neglecting some personal hygiene, but we are safe and healthy and turning our attention and prayers to those in Northern parts of Japan.