Finally we got to the tweets about the earthquake. Japan being Japan, it's actually not super uncommon to get the occasional, "Ah! Earthquake!" tweet, so we didn't think much of it at first. But as we kept reading, and people were tweeting, "We're still shaking!" we realized this one was big. Thankfully, the two people we know personally in Japan had already tweeted, indicating that they were alive. One of them was worried about his anime figures at home, and the other one ended up driving nine hours to get to his home, but was otherwise fine. (Though he did say (loosely translated) that the drive nearly killed him.)
Anyway, despite only knowing two people personally, we follow a lot of Japanese people, and it was really impressive to see all of their reactions. First they all tweeted that there was an earthquake, and then when they realized how big it was, they all tweeted to let everyone know they were okay. There were a lot of retweets of earthquake information and advice on how to deal with the aftermath. And most of all, they just seemed to be encouraging each other. I mean, reading all their tweets, yeah, the gigantic earthquake sounded really, really terrifying (because earthquakes are scary), but more than anything, it just felt like everyone was going to be okay. (That might have something to do with all the tweets of, "We're going to be okay!")
One thing we saw retweeted a couple of times was a comment about how all the gaijin were shocked to see footage of Japanese people dealing with the crisis. They were amazed about how no one was looting; they were calmly picking things up off the store floors and paying for them. The scary thing about that is if that's shocking, what happens when there's a crisis here? (That was a rhetorical question. We've already heard the looting theories, and we have some friends who are convinced they'll need guns for when the inevitable happens.)
The whole thing kind of reminds us of the Northridge quake in '94, because while we weren't affected by it (much; there was a crack in the wall, but that was the most we suffered), it was still close to home, and there was just a very surreal feeling afterwards, like everything was different, even though everything we could see was the same.
And it happened when we're a little closer to Japan than normal.
Some of you may remember back in August or September we mentioned something about a job that could require us to relocate to Japan. You may also remember that we never heard back from them and so the whole thing just kind of disappeared. Well, it didn't actually disappear, because that October, we heard from the agent about the job again. It wasn't that we didn't get the job; it was just that it had been delayed. We decided not to tell anybody, because we didn't want it to turn into another, "Hey we're going to Japan! For reals this time! ...Juuust kidding!"
And as it turned out, we again never heard anything back. But this time, we made sure to contact the agent regularly (about once a month, so as not to be too annoying) for updates. The project kept getting delayed and delayed until about two weeks ago. We had gotten an e-mail in January telling us to get ready. That's why we had a sudden strong urge to organize our apartment--because we might have to pack everything up. There were a few more delays, until finally we got an e-mail on a Friday telling us that the project would begin on Monday.
So we e-mailed the agent, and asked if the project still required us to go to Japan. He said it was yet to be discussed, but it wouldn't happen for some time. And that's the confidential project we've been working on for the past week. Not in Japan.
I have to admit, though, while we are grateful that we didn't go to Japan right before the big earthquake, we weren't too upset about not going to begin with. First of all, the possibility hasn't been ruled out, and more than anything, we didn't have to suddenly pack up all our stuff. It was quite the relief. But anyway, I don't think of this as a, "We could have been there!" kind of thing, because I always felt like we've been where we're supposed to be. (Except for those first few months after moving to Fresno.) And we do still want to go to Japan, of course.
Despite not being in Japan, we are working more closely with people in Japan now, so the project has been affected (which is another reason we're closer to Japan than usual). We can work overtime to make up for any loss, though, and most importantly, we're glad the people we're working with are safe. Or, at least one of them is. The other one hasn't said anything since the first "I'm okay" e-mail, and there have been some pretty strong aftershocks, so we're starting to get concerned. We'll be praying for his safety.
Today I'm thankful for the great attitudes of all the people in Japan (one voice actor said he e-mailed a fellow voice actor asking if he was okay, and the response he got was, "Never better!"), our friends being safe, getting to work on our non-confidential project today, the yummy Cheez-its we had for snack time, and the nice organization of the scavenger hunt we had at Home Evening Group (new name for singles' ward Family Home Evening) last night.