Update: March 25

I talked with friends at the gym today, mostly about the quake, of course, mostly, “Where were you?” and “Did anything get broken?” Many seemed impressed that I was outside, although it couldn’t have been any pleasanter indoors. A lot of people lost glassware, especially people who live on higher floors of apartment buildings. One friend lost a chandelier and another’s TV tipped over. One woman asked me if it was the worst one I’d ever felt. Well, yeah. It was the worst one in recorded Japanese history, so I guess that’s true of all of us. Another woman asked me how the kitties reacted and I told her I found them hiding together under the living room table. “Clever kitties,” she said, “That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do during a quake.” I hadn’t thought of it that way.

It’s still very hard to make myself go to work, particularly Shinjuku, which is scary unto itself, and also because the train I have to take is quite deep and most of the escalators are switched off, so that means a lot of hoofing. I’m glad I’ve persevered with my knee exercises or this would be a problem. Also, evening rush hour is normally not nearly as bad as morning, but they’re running fewer trains and businesses are encouraging people to go home earlier, so the ride home was very crowded. Still, these are minor inconveniences. Worse is my personal PTSD, which is feeling aftershocks that are not actually happening. I’d rather have them come from my brain than from the earth, but it’s still unnerving.

The closest major station to here is Shibuya, and it’s normally a horrible place, crammed with people all the time, dense traffic, at least three large screen electronic billboards blasting music and images, bright lights everywhere. I saw a shot of it on TV yesterday and all of that has been turned off. There’s still less stuff in the stores, but still enough. Hiroshi thinks this might teach us all a lesson in unnecessary conspicuous consumption. My words, not his. I think what he said was, “We don’t need all of that crap.”

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