Friday started off as quite a normal day, I went to my job at the junior high school in Isesaki as normal. There were no lessons planed because it was the day of the third year student’s graduation. The parents arrived and the ceremony took about 2 1/2 hours. Afterwards we waved them off and posed for photos with the kids.
We returned to the staffroom for lunch, at about quarter to three, we felt a little shudder, which got increasingly worse, some teachers started to cower under their desks. Everything was shaking so much I was worried that the school being such and old building might collapse. One of the teachers made a bolt for the back door of the room and we all followed suit into the carpark.
At that point my heart was beating so much and I was so shaky that I wasn’t completely sure the quake had stopped.
We returned to the office and switched on the TV, one of the teachers told me that it was the worse quake he had ever experienced. I tried to call my wife but the phones weren’t working.
I left school at 3:05 and cycled to the train station, there was another big aftershock on the way there. It was the first time I had been outside during a quake and see all the lampposts swaying was unnerving.
At the station all the trains had been stopped. I emailed my wife and waited. I was relived to get one back saying she was ok. I had internet access from my phone and watched the news on the BBC and Sky websites. The images were shocking.
I was stuck at the train station for 4 hours, the police came and gave us blankets after an hour which we were very thankful for because it was so cold. Eventually I managed to get a lift home with Yuko’s father.
The flat where we live is on the third floor of an 8 floor apartment building. It was a complete mess, lots of smashed plates etc. but no real damage. My wife phoned and told me that she would have to stay late at the hospital where she worked.
I put the TV on and started to see more shocking images of the tsunami. It was a very selfish thought at the time but I had always wanted to live near the coast in Japan, my wife had always refused saying it was too dangerous, I had always held a bit of a grudge about that, but was now very happy that she had put her foot down.
We have been having aftershocks regularly since the earthquake. I’m only just beginning to understand the tragedy of what has happened.