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Views from Kumamoto: What were your experiences of the quakes and their aftermath?

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Toshihiro Akizuki
Engineer, 31 (Japanese)
When the second quake hit, I was sleeping. The lights were knocked out. We went to my grandpa’s room. He’s 101 and can only move slowly. We carried him outside to an open space. We had drinks, food and a radio, so it wasn’t so bad. The aftershocks are scary. Some walls are down and we have no gas or water.

Francis Muimanzi
Ph.D. student, 29 (Tanzanian)
It’s still fresh. It’s my first time to experience such a terrible earthquake. I mean, it was a very terrifying moment for me. I was so worried, you know? Everything was shaking. I’m glad me and my family are OK, so maybe for now that’s my greatest relief.

Akiko Tsuchimura
Librarian, 44 (Japanese)
When I felt the first big quake, I was in the bedroom, resting with my husband and two kids. There was a really loud noise. I covered my children until the shaking stopped and told them everything was OK. After the second quake, there was a tsunami advisory, so I headed for my evacuation point. Everyone there was uneasy.

Kazuto Otsuka
Retired, 71 (Japanese)
I experienced the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995 when I went to Kyoto. This was my second one. In the Hanshin quake, about 5,000 people were killed, so in comparison, the toll this time was small. After the Hanshin quake, there were many fires. I think it’s very fortunate there weren’t fires this time. Fires are really scary.

Kazumi Sugimoto
Retired, 63 (Japanese)
Both quakes came at night, and I was very scared. My house was swaying but there wasn’t much damage. However, we have friends who lost their house and car. I learned a lot about what’s important from the quake, and the messages I received later cheered me up and reminded me we need to help each other.

Patrick Ijima-Washburn
Translator, 46 (American)
After the first quake, we cleaned up the house so we could wake up to some sense of normalcy. We went to bed Friday thinking the worst was over. Then the next quake hit. We lost power and water. We’re better off than many, but we’re mentally exhausted. It’s thanks to friends and family that we’re able to get by.

You can read Liam Nolan’s account of his own experiences here. Special thanks to Jessica Weinstein and Samantha Zimny for help with translation. Interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp.