Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Earthquakes and drama

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I had my first experience of an earthquake last night! It was really confusing at first - my windows started rattling and I couldn`t work out why because it wasn`t windy. Then I noticed that my TV was swaying and I finally twigged as to what was going on. But before I stopped wondering if I should dive underneath a desk or start preparing an emergency packed lunch it had stopped.

The quake hit at about 7pm here and was located about 70km off the southern coast of Japan and even caused a small tsunami of about 50cm. It was quite big, measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, but didn`t cause much damage because it was so far out to sea, and in Fukui we barely felt it. There was also a second earthquake which happened at midnight - it`s bad enough being woken up in the middle of the night, but especially confusing when you can`t work out why the room`s spinning though you haven`t had anything to drink. This one was bigger than the first, at 7.4, but it felt about the same.

All very exciting, I can assure you! I also got hit by my first typhoon last week. It`s typhoon season here so there`s been about one a week hitting the far southern coast of Japan, but No 16 was the first to actually come across the mainland and hit Fukui since I`ve been here. Luckily because Fukui is surrounded by mountains they dissipated much of the storm`s force, but I was still kept awake all night by wind and rain. I also got to experience the phenomenon of tiny red vans whizzing about the streets with sirens on, warning people that a typhoon is coming. Now I just need to see a volcano and a tsunami and I`ve got the natural disaster set! Actually, there was a small eruption in a prefecture to the west of here last week, but it didn`t require any evacuations - just dumped a whole load of volcanic ash all over the local crops, much to the annoyance of the farmers.

In other Lewis related Japan news I appeared in the teacher`s play this morning as part of the school festival - a highly embarrassing experience. I`ve been practicing every night after school this week, but in the end the teachers I was acting with just ad libbed their parts, which left me a little confused, seeing as I had no idea what they were saying. This led to me coming in at the wrong part with all my lines, much to the amusement of the audience! So, a shambles, but a good laugh all the same. The play is a farce set in the eighteenth century, so they decided I should play a European merchant. So I explained that in the eighteenth century English people wore collars called ruffs made out of lace. Unfortunately I think the costume department got the wrong end of the stick and I ended up wearing a giant cardboard collar painted with bright pink and yellow stripes. Still, it looked great...

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