Japan is well known for having a large number of earthquakes though the largest recorded earthquake in the world was a magnitude of 9.5 in Chile on May 22, 1960. According to the tectonic theory of Geology, earthquakes are most frequent where two or more plates meet. The Japanese islands [archipelago in Geography] too are located in an area where several continental and oceanic plates meet which causes the frequent earthquakes. So the meaning of it can further be clarified by saying “Japan sits on the ‘Rings of Fire’”.
I have been living in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, Japan since 2007 October. In the “Frontiers of Science” course, I was taught about the “Statistical probability theory to predict the percentage of earthquake occurrence” especially in the Miyagi prefecture. The lecture was concluded by disseminating “99% earthquake probability in Miyagi prefecture”. Till that moment, I did not know about this much percentage of probability of the temblor occurrence in my residing area; I just happened to know that I will be shaken any time. On the same week, I was asked to attend the training/preparatory session organized by the “Disaster unit” of the local government of the mentioned prefecture. From that moment, I was mentally ready to be shaken by the temblor any time.
It was the year of 2008, June 14, Saturday, 9.30AM JST. All the int’l students were inside the dormitories of “Tohoku University int’l house” and enjoying their weekend. I was also lying on the bed of room 905 located on the 9th floor of the 12th story building. Suddenly, this skyscraper received strong tremble. The intensity of the quake was comparable to that of the “late Michael Jackson’s hip” during his performance. As the building became the branch of the tree “shaking by monkey”, we people inside the dorm became the ripe fruits being the Monkey’s trial-target. I happened to look outside the window during the quake and noticed that all the parked vehicles were hopping on their seat.
As all the people were trained, immediately after the quake, about 300 people gathered at the nearby designated refugee area holding their passport and a bottle of mineral water. The condition of the ladies was pathetic who were gathered there by wrapping their body with a towel. Some were saying “Oh my god!!! What a terrible shake, it’s my first time”, some were shouting “Allah, you saved us!!!” and several were hugging by congratulating each other and saying that “we got new life!!”. Several Chinese and Koreans were shouting in their mother language with horrified face.
Almost all including myself remained at the lobby around 3 hours by chatting about the “aftershock” which was also pretty powerful. You can imagine that how strong the temblor was? The frequency of the shaking in Miyagi prefecture is 6/month in average. The magnitude of around 5 is even excluded by the local media. It has become habitual now.