Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Shaken... and Stirred

Earthquakes are kinda cool. I don't mean the really big ones that damage things and cause tsunamis and hurt people and stuff, but the little tremors that we feel so much here in Tokyo. They're more like little shudders than quakes, really, and it's interesting to me to feel the differences in each one.

Japan has about 1500 earthquakes a year. I am not kidding. 1500. Not many of them are severe. Some we don't feel at all. For instance, I didn't even know about the recent Hokkaido quake until friends and family from the States wrote to ask if we were OK. Quakes are so commonplace around here that they aren't really a news item. This one hit the wires because a tsunami warning was issued. Nothing happened, though.

Anyway, nature struck again this morning... about 3:30 a.m., I was shaken out of bed by an earthquake. I don't mean literally shaken so I fell out of bed or anything, but it woke me up and once I'm up, I'm up. This one lasted a long time - usually the tremors we feel last only a few seconds. This went on for at least half a minute. I could hear the house creak and doors sway gently on their hinges and could feel a little shaking, like someone was at the foot of the bed, jiggling it. That was about it. Everyone else in the house slept through it.

But for some reason, these occurrences leave me energized. It's like the earth is giving up some of its energy and I am a conduit to receive it. Plus, in my weird mind, it's exciting. I note the unique features of each quake - how long did it last, was it a jolt or a gentle shake, did it move side-to-side or undulate up and down?

I hope to never experience a full-out shake-em down earthquake, but for now... earthquakes are cool.