Where were you when the 3/11 quake hit?

Shizuko Shokoku
Retired, 87 (Japanese)

I’ve never experienced such a quake in all my life. I was at day care for the afternoon when it happened. Everyone around me held onto the tables in front of them, and some people tried to leave the hall, but the caregivers instructed us to stay in our seats or, if we could, go under the tables.

Kiminori Funasaka
Sales, 31 (Japanese)
I was on the street in Shinjuku at the time. It was panic! There were very loud “clang” sounds coming from above; as I looked up, I saw the cranes on top of buildings swinging to and fro. An old lady and an elementary school kid were next to me at the time, so we all went to a nearby park until things settled down.

Ehssan Ahmed
Teacher, 25 (Ethiopian)
I was at home watching a film when it hit. As the quake began to shake more than any other I’d ever felt before, I thought, “This is it. This is the big one.” Books and other things started dropping to the floor, and if I hadn’t run to catch the TV, that would have fallen over too.

Fumiko Nishimura
Neighborhood watch, 76 (Japanese)
I was standing right here (on patrol) when it struck. The garage doors behind me began to shake wildly and the cables above the street were swaying as if I was on a big ship! It was difficult to keep my balance but I managed to gather about 10 children around me who happened to passing by at the time.

Alexis Wuillaume
Photographer, 25 (Belgian)
I was in Disneyland for my graduation! During the reception, the ground began to shake. The chandeliers in the hall began to swing and actually started to hit the ceiling. Luckily, a friend had a car so I was able to get out of the park and not be stranded, unlike many of the other graduates attending that day.

Nahoko Fujisawa
Project administrator, 26 (Japanese)
I was on a narrow street just outside my office in Ebisu. I stood there open-mouthed and kept staring at walls, electric wires and poles swaying back and forth. Suddenly I heard a young lady call me over to an empty parking lot. I came to my senses and ran over to her, thinking, “Thank God I’m not alone.”

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