Saturday, September 16, 2006


But only a pretend one, today at least.

Japan takes disaster preparation very seriously, with an annual "Disaster Prevention Day" when various drills and events take place. Before you laugh at the concept of preventing disaster such as earthquakes and typhoons, bear in mind that the magnitude of the consequences has as much to do with our preparation and response as with the natural event itself (eg consider Katrina/New Orleans).

Today wasn't actually disaster prevention day, but for some reason there was an event put on in Yokohama, I think deliberately targetting the foreign resident population many of who will struggle to comprehend the official Japanese language information. There were plenty of fluent dual-language speakers around, including the lady explaining this earthquake simulation. It's a reconstruction of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, which killed about 140,000 (mostly in fires in the crowded streets)

It was a lot shakier to experience it than it looks on camera! Jules started off standing up but soon saw the error of her ways...several stories up in a tall building I imagine it could be very scary indeed.

There was also a smoke-filled room to negotiate (no photos from that!) and fire engines and extinguishers to play with. We actually bought a fire extinguisher a couple of weeks ago - yes, I know we should have done it ages ago, but we do have plenty of bottled water and food stocked up. Beyond this sort of obvious preparation, it's pretty much a matter of crossing our fingers.

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