It was an earthquake! My heart started beating hard. What should I do? The sun was just starting to light the day. I looked through the window didn’t see anyone leaving the apartment. I opened the door and noticed sounds of voices in the neighboring apartments. I called my brother, who was still sleeping and did not want to wake up. He told me that this kind of tremor is relatively normal. But it was not exactly like that. Yesterday’s earthquake, August 11 reached 6.5 on the Richter scale and had its epicenter in Shizuoka province near to Aichi, where we were.
After the fright, I went to the station to take the train to Tokyo, the last stop of my trip. When arrived at the Nagoya station to take the bullet train (Shinkansen), nothing worked. The staff of the station was running back and forth trying to inform the passengers of what was happening. At the beginning, everybody was impatient about missing appointments and afraid of arriving late to work.
I thought it was very difficult for the Japanese to deal with train delays and getting late to the job. However, people started calling from mobiles to give notice they would be late. At the station, TV’s were announcing the problems caused by the earthquake. More than 100 people were injured and typhoons and floods were threatening some areas. As a result, the Shinkansens were held up for 2 hours.
I also would be late for my appointment in Tokyo. But there is nothing that can be done when faced with an uncontrollable force of nature. Neither the punctuality nor Japanese organization could do anything. When the trains started running again, they ran very slowly towards the capital. I noticed very heavy rain and typhoons. A journey that normally takes 3 hours, took double of the time.
Later I knew that the earthquake had been very strong. It was the biggest to hit Shizuoka since 1944 . It was so intense that two nuclear reactors had been shut down due to the earthquake. That was all I needed: a nuclear accident exactly when we are in Japan to participate in the ceremony to remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Lucky nothing that serious happened!
**Pressenza editor, Alexandre Sammogini was invited by the Hiroshima City Council to pay homage to the victims of the atomic bomb. On August 5, the journalist will officially launch Pressenza Press Agency from Hiroshima with the symbolic lighting of a torch for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence**
*(Translation: Janete Inamini)*