A Memorable March

In : El Japan, Kiddo, Picture Pages, School, Travel, Posted by on Jun.06, 2011

I’ve been doing some analysis of our blog since school’s been out, and I definitely see a pattern to our lives, which is undoubtedly run by our school calendar.

Every March we find ourselves counting the days until Spring Break.  This year was no different, well, a little different.

Day 1 @ the ER

March started out with a big bang – I mean fall. I was running down the stairs with Todd to get final approval for an advertisement that Todd and I had been working on together. I ended up falling down the stairs, hitting my eye, my computer went through the wall and fell 2 feet to the ground. Upon further analysis, we’ve come to the conclusion that my boot heel caught the strip of rubber on the stairs designed to keep people from falling, I smacked my eye on something still undetermined, and my computer survived unharmed, while its hard pink plastic case shattered and was not salvageable. I ended up spending the entire day in two different hospitals, with Amy as company. I was deemed healthy and relatively unscathed after an CT scan, two X-rays of my legs, and a tilt test – all done by gorgeous ER doctor.

Here are the photos of the change in the bruise above my eye over the course of a week.

Friday, March 11th, I’d come down with a stomach bug, completely unrelated to the aforementioned fall, and stayed home from school.  I was bummed because I was afraid that I would be sick the whole weekend.  It was just before school let out that I felt really nauseous.  When I stood up, I felt more nauseous. It was then that I heard the tell tale signs of an earthquake – our apartment was making a steady clicking noises as it rocked back and forth. This motion is why Japanese buildings are so resilient to the earthquakes. It is also why people feel seasick in the buildings during an earthquake. It was not super strong in our prefecture, but it was long.  I immediately called Todd who was watching a soccer game at school.  He did not realize that we were having an earthquake, but then the school siren went off. I was on Japan Meteorological Agency, which issued a tsunami warning immediately after the earthquake. All students and teachers also had a tsunami warning and went to the second story of our school, which is a several 100 meters from the coast.  When he went into the school to help, we hung up and that was the last cell coverage for a few days. We could still text, but talking was difficult.

As soon as I found out that the family was ok, I went on NHK live stream in English just as the tsunami was hitting the North. I had just deleted my facebook account the night before because someone had hacked into it, so I took to twitter to recount as much of the actual news coming out of NHK as possible. Tony and Lindsay stayed in Yokohama, and their school canceled classes for two weeks on Sunday night, and on Monday morning they headed south to stay with us. All Shinkansens were back up and running south by that time and were standing room only so they weren’t turning anyone away. Tony and Lindsay were worried about the constant aftershocks, rolling power outages, and lack of public transit. Once they arrived in Kobe, they realized how unaffected our area was. Many places here were reducing power, and instant noodles, bottled water, and ginger ale were no where to be found, but those are insignificant issues compared to what the North was facing.

Since then our school has been doing as much as they can by raising money, creating bags for people in the North filled with things that they would want/need, and some teachers have even ventured up north to lend a helping hand. The area is no where near “normal”, but there have been massive efforts to start the clean up. Here is an article of the recovery efforts by the Boston Globe.


After the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the ever present nuclear situation had everyone on edge. Some of our students left early for Spring Break because their parents’ companies requested it. The uncertainty of the situation was difficult. I had planned already to go to Washington, DC with another teacher and 17 students. There wasn’t any talk of canceling our trip. I really wanted to Todd out of the country as well – not because I thought he was in danger, but listening to the news in Japan for a week was not going to be a relaxing Spring Break. So Jon, Todd, and the kids headed for Bangkok and Cha-Am, which is just a short drive south of Bangkok. They had a great time relaxing by the beach. The kids loved the Kids Club, so the grown ups even got some time to themselves. Here are their photos from the trip.


My trip was fantastic – other than being stuck overnight in San Francisco because we missed our flight by 20 minutes. Our experiences during our DC were amazing, I got to meet Katy’s family and I saw Marilyn again. Patrick and Maggie rocked as our guides and coordinators during the trip. I blogged about each day at my professional blog. Here are my posts of Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, and Day 8.

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