On Monday the 18th of June 2018 at the time of 7: 58 am, Osaka was hit an earthquake that hit 6.1 on the Richter scale that tragically killed three people and injured hundreds of others.
The earthquake in Osaka, Japan, was the first time I had been involved in an earthquake, or any significant natural disaster. While I felt safe throughout the whole experience, my memories of the occasion when the quake shook the earth are still fresh in mind, and I can’t get over how organised the authorities were from the moment the earthquake in Osaka had hit.
The moment I experienced an Earthquake in Osaka – Japan
Sometimes the best-made plans don’t work out.
On the morning of the 18th, I left the hotel at a reasonable hour in the morning with a busy day ahead as I was heading out to Nara to visit some temples and deer. A quick feed and coffee, I was out the door and off to the Kitahama subway station, which would eventually lead to the Kintetsu-Nara Line.
So far, so good.
Like any other morning in Osaka, I assume it was a routine morning for all commuters, and the train had been packed with business people and students going about their everyday routine with most eyes fixated on their mobile phone screens and checking out the latest news or social media gossip for the day.
Halfway to Nara with everyone minding their own business, all the mobile phones on the train gave out a loud alert, including mine. I had no idea what was going on because the message on the phone didn’t specifically mention it was an earthquake; in fact, it read:
Stay calm and seek shelter nearby.”
Emergency! Take cover? WTF. Those were the thoughts racing through my head.
Was it terrorism? Were we under attack? Had there been a significant incident somewhere in the city? I was somewhat rattled by not having any understanding.
Now, fortunately, a high school student sitting next to me on the train had seen my puzzled look and good on her for reaching out, in broken English, she said, “earthquake.”
“Earthquake,” I repeated, and my jaw must have hit the floor because a few other people in my vicinity were laughing at my reaction to the earthquake. At least everyone on board was relaxed, a clear tale sign that things may not appear to be so bad, just another day for them, remembering that earthquakes in Japan are frequent.
It’s important to note at this stage while sitting on the train I never actually felt the earth move, that would happen during the next 24-hours when I felt a few tremors with the aftershocks following the major quake, which got my heart racing also.
At the same time the alarms were belting out over the phones, about the very same time I was getting my head around it all, the train had come to a complete halt, much like every train in Osaka I could safely assume. Announcements went over the speakers, but it was naturally all said in Japanese, so it didn’t help me to get an idea of what was going on.
We sat there and sat there, for much longer than I anticipated, although time was going quick due to the mind being fixated on the morning’s events. I messaged my wife in Australia to tell her the circumstances, posted a message on Facebook and for the next hour I checked the news on the Samsung Galaxyphone in reference to the earthquake in Osaka.
Finally, albeit slowly, the train began to move, taking us only as far as the next station where we waited longer, with more announcements over the speakers and the local authorities walking back and forth on the train. Finally, we were let out of the train at the Ikoma Station where we stayed for a couple of more hours as the time began to crawl, boredom had surely sunk in.
With no idea what was happening, I asked a different student with the aid of my phone translator, “how long,” he answered politely that it would be another 1-2 hours. I nodded my head, there was nothing I could do about, I bought a terrible coffee from the vending machines, and I waited much like everyone else.
After about a four-hour wait, trains began to move; I decided to head back to the city instead of going out Nara, I didn’t want to wander too far from the city at this stage, especially at a time of uncertainty.
I took the train back to Osaka, but the sightseeing didn’t end there as I explored different parts of the city with everyone out and about in the Osaka City with little fears of the earthquake that happened in the morning. While the experience stayed on my mind for the rest of the trip, I’ll never forget the moment I experienced my first earthquake in Osaka.
A shout out to the emergency responses in Osaka
I need to applaud the emergency responses in Osaka, from the instant alert to the phones, to the authorities reacting quickly to assure everyone’s safety, it had been handled like clockwork, and I send a huge thank you to everyone involved.
As I said, I felt safe and out of harm’s way the whole time, however, it was a great comfort to know that the city of Osaka had organised structures in place, in case of emergencies.
Check out these books from Amazon about earthquakes in Japan