September 27th, 2003


Hanshin Quake

I got a Friendster email from Danja, yay! She wondered if I was safe after the earthquake today. It was on a different island, so I didn't feel it.

But coincidentally, I was talking about the Kobe earthquake with a student, then with my coworkers today. And another friend brought it up a few days ago. My student said how the small neighborhood economies in Kobe have completely flip-flopped, and everything in downtown Kobe is brand new.

Like, the current downtown area didn't used be such an entertainment district. The old downtown, Kasuganomichi, is pretty quiet. I didn't know until today that Kasuganomichi used to hop. My student, a doctor, has her hospital there, and it was flattened.

And the manmade island, Rokko Island, was totally fubared just 15 years after it was built. Along with the other manmade island, Port Island. But while Port Island was mostly industrial, Rokko Island was on it's way to cosmopolitan. It had the world's best (biggest?) water park. (R.I.P.) Actually, it is pretty nice now, but people are a little more afraid to live there since they saw how it fails to stand up to a quake.

Ii naa! The world's best waterpark! Oh, alas!

Really makes me wish I could travel back in time eight years. Or even twenty, to the time when Japan was in a position to build the best waterpark on a manmade island and import beaches from Australia.

Thousands (tens of thousands?) died in that earthquake. Then there was no electricity, water, or commerce for weeks. After the disaster itself, there was no emergency response for a quite a while. The city was silent and everything caught on fire. What the hell was that like?

How has it affected the people's identification with the city? I talk with approximately 120 people each week (IRL) (もちろん)and many of them say they'd never live anyplace but Kobe. If they're over 12, they remember the earthquake and probably lost someone they knew. I'm sure even strangers feel a bond over that.

So that's what I thought about today.

Today I took my first 二級 practice test. I knew it would be hard.. but it's SO hard. But FUN! That I didn't expect. I think it's knowing that I can't pass that eases the pressure and gives me that boost I need to enter the next stage of my study.

After work I went to ES for my おしゃべりタイム, but only Mafumi, Muyan, and Hiroko were there. So I got to take notes and and study, which is more fun for me. We four wore bright green.

I'll close this entry with a picture of Don enjoying a teeny tiny beer.

Ok, my quest is to go to bed early. Ja oyasuminasai.