10 years on…

11th Mar. 2011, I was working in the office located in Ibaraki, Japan. Roughly 100 km away from Tokyo.

It was just an ordinary working day and was friday afternoon.

I don’t cleary remember what I was doing at that moment. Probably summerising the audit report since the financial year end was approarching (You see, the most of companies in Japan takes finaicial calendar starts on 1st Apr.)

As you may or may not know, Japan is the bussiest epicentre of earchquakes. The most if not all of Japanese experience countless number of earchquakes in their lifetime.

The 3.11 was one of them, at least I had thought when small shake was felt in the office. It was 2nd floor of 4 stray building.

Everyone in the room was aware of the quake, saying

“Oh an earthquake”

without any impressions.

Then it continues longer, maybe for almost 1 minute.

Some says at this point

“Hmm, it is a bit long”

I stand up and look at the window. But I am sure everybody thinks it is just another ordinary earthquake.

Then it is getting stronger.

I walk to the door and open it. It is practice to open the exit in case that the door frame becoming deformed (so you cannot open the door).

After a moment, the tremor get severe by large.

Some shouts

“Hide under the desk !”

One of colleagues is panicking when her coffee is spilled out on the desk

“Oh my coffee!”

I shout.

“It does not matter, get under the desk !”

I myself is quite panicking at that moment so finally another colleague pulls me down.

The tremor does not stop, is just more and more severe.

A month before that, deadly earthquake hit Christchurch New Zealand, where I used to live.

Many buildings collapsed and there were many casulities.

I have read one news article (I think it was NZ Herald) about survivor of one of collaplsed buildings.

The article was like this.

“Fitst, the tremor was getting stronger and stronger, then the light is out”

followed by

“The next moment, the floor was collapsed and I was falling”

Now it is me to be under the same condition.

Tremor does not seem to stop and just more severe as if it is continuing forever. Then…

The light is out

I thought

“This is it. next the floow will be disappearing, I will be falling, and will be buried. Man, this will be the end of my life ?”

It was just fortunate for me that the building did not collapse.

The buiding was evacuated. It was still quite a cold weather if early spring.

We all got together and tried to gather information. Some was showing the TV coverage to show huge tsunami washed out the coast.

I could not go home as no train ran. One of my colleagues, who is still goot mate of mine, took me and another colleague to his home by his car (He lived nearby while me and other lived far so no way to home) but no power nor water so we decided to go to evacuation centre nearby.

We had sleepless night with almost non stop aftershocks.

10 years on. 16,000 lifes were lost. 2,500 people are still missing.

That day, I could have died.

I feel that my life since that day is given one.

Remembarance. 2011.3.11



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Naoki Satoh

Naoki Satoh


オランダ在住 ITリスク屋さん。ガジェット好き。ホームタウンのコンサドーレ札幌を応援している。タッチラグビーをやっている。語学マニア。専門はIT監査、IT統制、リスク管理、SAPセキュリティなど。