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Mar 11 2011

Japan Quakes of March 2011

Most people would have seen or heard the news about the quakes in Japan over the last couple of days and my wife and I were certainly not expecting to be experiencing it first hand on the 35th floor of The Ritz-Carlton in Osaka. There is nothing like the sensation of a building swaying from side to side and the sound of the structure creaking as it absorbs the ground movement to make you wonder if you should say your goodbyes or make a bolt for the emergency stairs.

I guess in a way I am still processing what happened even though Osaka escaped the worst of what has hit the northeast of Japan. In the heat of the moment you can put on your bravest face or cower in indecision or be completely stricken by fear.

Who would know what they would do until you experience such an event for the first time?

Of course, technology makes the world an incredibly small place. Television is almost wall to wall with coverage of the tremors, the tsunami and subsequent aftermath. Twitter and Facebook have lit up with first hand accounts of these events and people looking for loved ones. Telecommunications networks are put to the test as people attempt to contact relatives locally or from overseas. Tsunami warnings have gone out to Pacific nations and ongoing seismic activity continues to be recorded.

Architectural technology has also played an important part over the last couple of days as buildings designed to withstand tremors test their mettle against the most powerful quake recorded in Japanese history. The Ritz-Carlton building in Osaka had its fifth floor designed to move in the event of a quake instead of being a rigid structure. People on that floor today definitely saw the building reacting as it was intended whilst those further up also experienced their fair share of the energy of the quake being absorbed and dissipated. Elevators also automatically stopped to prevent damage to the lift shafts and its cars.

Meanwhile, all of our essentials are packed and ready in the case that we need to get out quickly including mobile phones, iPads, chargers, an external battery, passports, credit cards and money.

Stay safe, folks.

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