It was a beautiful, sunny day. We've had a certain feeling of spring in Tokyo lately, that indicated that I soon might start bragging about outdoors lunches and freckles to my Norwegian friends. Unfortunately, I hadn't been able to enjoy much of it, as most my days lately have been spent at the office, frantically working towards the aforementioned visit. So that was also where I was when we felt the shaking. We've had several quakes the last few weeks, but we soon realized this was bigger. Before I knew it, I was sitting under a table with a colleague - a mother - desperately trying to get in touch with her family.
Three major earthquakes, all over 7 on the Richter magnitude scale, and one reported at 8.9 (last I heard) started in the sea noth of Tokyo today. This caused a tsunami to hit the eastern shore of Honshu. Live TV footage of cars, houses - and probably people - being flushed away by the massive wave look like something from a disaster movie. One can only speculate how many are injured or killed. At the embassy we are working to locate all our nationals and to assess damage. The part closest to my heart at the moment is the local staff who are not able to go home (all public transportation is out, and walking in Tokyo is not an option, especially when millions of others are doing the same), and most of them also not able to contact their families since phones are down. We've had a few happy reunions here when kids have been picked up and brought here where we feel the most safe - which did what the terrible TV images had not yet: it brought tears to my eyes.
I am more fortunate than my Japanese colleagues, though. Our IP phones are working, and since Norway's phones are not affected, the other end is also working. With the calls, Facebook, email, and now this post, I have been able to notify my friends and family that I am okay. As one (or actually several) of my dear friends put it: "