Photo borrowed from MSNBC.com.
Even though the epicenter was far away from us here in Osaka I could feel the big quake at 2:46 PM local time and several aftershocks. It was the biggest quake I have ever felt and it seemed to last forever. I spent the next few hours watching the effects (like the picture above of the tsunami spreading across Sendai) on Japanese TV and CNN. My university is confirming that our students are OK. They have urged all students to inform their parents/friends/home universities that they are safe. The internet, e-mail and Facebook seem to be the best way to communicate out of Japan. I have heard that land lines and cell phones are swamped and jammed in the Tokyo area. Here we seem to have problems sending keitai mail (text messages). Despite this disaster - and the effects to come - most people I know in the Kansai area are doing business as usual. At least for now.
Link to stunning earthquake/tsunami photos at MSNBC.com:
UPDATE: This post is not meant to downplay the devastating earthquake/tsunami disaster in Japan at all. The immediate effects seem not to have hit the Kansai area yet. People are working and doing the things they need to do everyday. (I am having a hard time pulling myself away from the news and concentrating on reading blogs and preparing for next week's classes.) Still we mourn the dead, worry about the fate of missing friends and loved ones in northern Japan, and are concerned about the possibility of radiation exposure in Fukushima and resulting power outages and shortages all over Japan. Here are a couple of links to access the latest news and warnings.
Kyodo News (in English; check out the photos as well): http://english.kyodonews.jp/
Japan Meteorological Agency: http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html
We in Osaka are not isolated from the events in northern Japan (and who is?) but are safe.