I wrote this maybe 20 minutes after “The Earthquake”. My hands were still shaky and I was extremely tense. It took me a long time, when I was looking back on this journal entry, to figure out what I wrote because it was slightly incomprehensible. This is what I could make of it from my memories and the parts of this entry that I could understand.
Well, I just experienced my first earthquake and I must say that it's an experience I never want to go through again. This wasn't even a devastating earthquake, but it was one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me. I was in the middle of teaching my final class of the day and all of a sudden I hear some of the girl students from another class start to scream. I also felt a little shake but I thought it was just some of the students running down the stairs next to the classroom. The next thing I knew, the entire world around me started to move under my feet. It looked like something out of a science fiction movie. I was shaking so much that everything I saw became blurry. The teacher ducked down underneath the desk and the students in the class were screaming and going underneath their desks. What did I do? I stood there dumbfounded and scared out of my mind. My body was completely frozen. I didn’t duck for cover. I didn’t move at all. Actually, I did move, but not by my own accord, the earth decided it would do all the moving for me.
After the few seconds that felt like an eternity, my teacher stood up and said, “Earthquake”. I said, “Yeah”. “We had a very big one about six years ago”, he said and I replied half-laughing because I was glad to be alive, and half-crying because I was scared out of wits, “Yeah, I know.” (For those who don’t know, there was a devastating earthquake that leveled the city of Kobe in 1995. The fault line that was the center point of the earthquake happens to be on the northern part of Awajishima, the island I live on.).
I then told the teacher that it was my first earthquake, which he then explained to the students (no earthquakes in New York). For the last 15 minutes of class I was a mess. I was in a daze and had a scared smile on my face. I’ve never been so paranoid in my life! I was expecting major aftershocks and I couldn’t concentrate.
From what I could gather from what the teachers were saying afterwards, it was about a four on the Japanese scale for earthquakes. I don’t know how strong that is, but I do know that I can’t imagine what the people in 1995 had to go through. That earthquake only lasted seconds but was able to destroy a city and kill thousands of people. I’m just happy to be alive at this point.