Earthquakes

I’ve felt three of them in my lifetime. First, the 2011 Virginia earthquake: I had just returned from a summer in Korea and was staying with my family in the Maryland suburbs. My grandmother and I were the only ones home when the ground started shaking; it felt just like a passing train, so I didn’t really take note of it at first, until I remembered that there weren’t actually any train tracks nearby. I stumbled down the hall and asked my grandmother (in Croatian)–“is this an earthquake?” She nodded, not the least bit concerned–she’d been through many quakes in her long life and knew when to worry.

And then, last year, I was in Hiroshima on vacation when the 2016 Kyushu Earthquakes struck, waking me up two nights in a row in my hotel: first the largest foreshock, and then the 7.0 main quake, which to my inexperienced self felt massive (much bigger than the Virginia quake), but which still was weak enough where I was, more than a hundred miles away, to not do any damage.

(Nearer the epicenter, it was a different story, of course–damage in the Kumamoto area was fairly extensive, but Hiroshima was as close as I got.)

A few days later, I saw a solitary, elderly European tourist at Haneda Airport, carrying a gift bag from Kumamoto Castle. He must have had an unexpectedly interesting vacation.

The entire experience rendered the rest of my trip–stops in Yokohama and then Taipei–a little surreal; all the lost sleep left me in a near-fugue state. I need to get back to Taipei some day, in a better state of mind: I hardly remember what I did for my three days there.

I don’t have any particular motive for writing about this now, to be honest. I just couldn’t sleep last night, and the occasional rumble of passing trucks brought back memories.