23.3.11

Unforgettable March

March is another part of my long spring holiday. Thus, i've been making many plans to do on March. First, spending time together with my mom for a week since my mom had to go to a seminar in Niigata University. We planned to spend a whole day in Tokyo after the seminar. Second, me together with Dhilla and Fani were planning to go to Disney Resort (Disney Sea and Disney Land) for two days on 14th and 15th of March, we've also booked the hotel.
Everything seemed so fine. I spent 3 days in Niigata with mom starting from March 7th, then headed back to Tokyo on 10th. We walked around Shibuya for a while till then i had to go to work so my mom walked around other places by herself. After i finished my work, we went home together again. 
The next day, which was March 11th, was a very sunny day. It was a perfect day to travel. So, me and mom decided to go to places that she had never been to. Odaiba and Yokohama were the options that we chose. We left home before 11am. We decided to go to Odaiba first because i thought of enjoying Minatomirai , Yokohama view at night.
So, there we were at Aquacity, Odaiba. After we had lunch, my mom prayed first. It was around 2pm and we were on the 6th floor. When my mom done, i got my turn to pray. When i was still praying, i started to feel the quake. At the first time i thought i was normal, since there are always a lot of quake in Japan. But, it was getting bigger. I started to loose focus while praying. And it was still shaking until i finished praying. The quake was REALLY STRONG. I've never experienced earthquake as strong as that one. I was confused, i didn't know what to do. I wanted to run but my mom said we should just wait there because the shake was too strong. Yeah, it was even really hard to move. We waited for quite long until the first quake stopped.  All i could do were keep praying that the quake would stop soon and the building wouldn't collapse, and keep holding on my mom. There were high school students crying full of fears near us. When it stopped we hurried go down stairs and went out from the building. I saw some lights and decorations had fell down.
People were gathering outside the building. Some people seemed panic, some others didn't seem so panic. There was even a kid throwing up. But it didn't stop there. Another big quake happened then followed by  dozens of quite strong aftershocks. There was also smoke which i thought it because there's a building on fire not so far from the place where i was standing.
Me, mom, and a lot of other people were just waited there for a while. When we felt that the situation has gotten calm, my mom asked me to take photo at the Tokyo Decks. So, yeah even after a scary earthquake, we could still able to enjoy taking photos.
mom, Liberty Statue Miniature and Rainbow Bridge as the background

people sat and waited at the Tokyo Decks

If you figured by the pictures, the weather that day changed drastically after the quake. the warm weather changed to be so cold. We tried to go to the train station but it was closed due to the quake. Then we heard an announcement that we were suggested to go to a higher place because there's a tsunami warning. Oh, alright. There i was, started to get panic. I couldn't imagine if the tsunami would really hit us. Bus and taxi were so crowded. There's no other choice, so me and mom decided to walk to get far from Odaiba which was on the sea shore area. It was around 4 pm. We walked for few hours until we finally crossed the bridge to Tokyo area. We tried to get on the bus, but the street was so crowded that the cars couldn't even move. So, we got off from the bus and continued walking until we found a police box in Ginza area. We already knew the worst scenario to go home was to walk. Yes, walk! So, we asked the police man the direction to go to Setagaya area. This police man was very nice, he told us that we had to go to Shinjuku first, at least we could check if the train has continued to operate again while walking. From Ginza to Shinjuku, we had to pass Hanzomon and some other areas. We walked for hours, mom's feet were getting hurt. But, we tried to keep walking and took a rest for 2 or 3 times until we arrived at Shinjuku. Along the way, we walked together with hundreds or even thousands? of people.
We found out that all trains were still suspended and the traffic around Shinjuku was really bad so cars couldn't barely move. We tried to ask police men there on how to walk to Setagaya area, but they didn't even have a map! They couldn't tell us the clear direction. So, the only way that i know was if i walked from Shibuya. So, we aksed the direction to go to Shibuya. It was already 9:53 pm. It means that we've walked for about 6 hours!
From Shinjuku, we needed to follow the Yamanote Line track to go to Shibuya-- Shinjuku-Yoyogi-Harajuku-Shibuya. Between Yoyogi and Harajuku, we found a police office then we took a rest for a while there. I was glad because the police officers there were so nice. I even told one of them that we've walked from Odaiba, then he told us to rest first. Along the way, i watched the news about the tsunami that hit northeastern part of Japan. But, in that police office, they didn't show the news. They just showed another video. I thought maybe they didn't want to make us "the walkers" panic. 
So, after sitting for a while, we walked again and arrived at Shibuya at around 12 am. We first checked the bus that goes to Setagaya area. But the man there said it would take about 5 or 6 hours (normally it only takes 40-60 mins). Fortunately, the man told us that Den en Toshi Line had started to operate. Ya, it was the  first and only line that's moving since the quake. Luckily it passed the station near to our place. So we decided to take the train, buuuttt, the queue line was very long. It took about 1 hour until me and mom could finally get on the train! And the train was very crowded even worse compared to hectic hours when people go home after work. 
But, thanks God we could arrived at home safely. Aftershocks were still happening almost every couple of minutes. We couldn't just sleep right away. We still needed to check the flight for my mom but there was no information about the flight schedule. Then we decided to sleep and wake up early to check the flight status again in the morning. The flight for my mom that day was cancelled. We tried to find flight ticket for the next day but we only got the flight ticket for Monday, March 14th. 
I felt happy because i could spend more time with mom but in other side, i also felt worry. I wanted her to go back to Indonesia as soon as possible to be safe. Anyway, on the day after the quake, March 12th, i just stayed at home (*guest house actually) with mom for the whole day. Both of us were exhausted after walking for about 8 hours
Sunday, March 13th, mom was bored and trying to convince me to go outside. But i didn't want to go because i thought that it wasn't safe enough, since there are still some aftershocks. Mom still tried to convince me to go somewhere. So i decided to take her to a department store near our place. Going to a far place was way of too risky because the train could stop anytime. We could also have dinner together with my Indonesian friends in Nodai at a restaurant near our place. Before we went to sleep, we checked the access to Narita airport first because most of the transportations to the airport were suspended after the earthquake.  But, there wasn't any infomation so we just made sure that my mom's things were packed neatly and slept. 
Early in the morning around 4:30 am, after we prayed, we turned on the tv and there it was the infomation about the access to the aiport. Apparently there were only 2 units of skyliner that're going to the airport for that day. So, we hurried go to the Ueno station. Luckily we still could get the ticket for the last skyliner. So, there i said goodbye to my mom. A bit sad because i couldn't go with her to the airport. If i went to the airport, i wouldn't be able to go back to my dorm since there's no access. 
Days after the great earthquake and tsunami
Now it's been almost two weeks since the earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern part of Japan. The disaster weren't only quake and tsunami, but they are followed by the cooling system failure of nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture. People were panic, even there are some embassies of some countries that suggested their people to leave Japan. How about me? I've been trying to keep calm. I'm still in Tokyo now. I don't plan to go to Indonesia unless the condition gets too serious and dangerous. Air and water in Tokyo has been contaminated by the nuclear radiation in low level. But government said that it's still on the level where it won't cause health problems. Anyway they suggested to the infants not to drink from the tap water directly.
Graduation ceremony at my campus was cancelled, the welcome ceremony for the new students has also been cancelled. The shedules of the guidance for new students and classes are postponed for about a week. So, i got my holiday period extended. But i'm not so happy about this. I'm bored already.
Tokyo Isn't a Ghost City
It's so funny that some media in countries outside Japan published these kind of articles which say that Tokyo is a ghost city. We're living normal lives here. It doesn't seem as normal as it should be because of  the lack of electricity and fuel supply. Egg and toilet paper are quite hard to find, but we could still buy them in some stores even with higher prices than usual.   
Anyway, thats all that i want to share for now. Actually there's still a bunch of things i would love to share but i'm tired of typing everything. hehehehe. So, see you again everyone and stay safe! Adios!
 

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