Naturally Japan has a long history of earthquakes and seismic activity because it is located near major tectonic plate boundary and is also on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
As of about an hour ago, here are the latest statistics from the United States Geological Survey regarding earthquakes (greater than magnitude 1.5) that have occurred relatively near Tokyo, Japan:
1 earthquake today
3 earthquakes in the past 7 days
8 earthquakes in the past month
66 earthquakes in the past year
Since we landed 7 days ago, there have been three of magnitudes 4.5, 4.9, and 4.7, although I have not felt any of them personally. Given the fact that the first one this week happened on my first day of work here (it was a magnitude 4.9), it is probably a good thing. Using the statistics above of the previous year, that comes about to an earthquake every 5 or 6 days… which pretty much means that we have already had more than our fair share of the week so hopefully some quieter weeks to come.
Japan has definitely taken extraordinary measures over the years and requires most households to keep a survival kit (ours included) which consists of essentials like a radio, a flashlight, a first aid kit and enough food and water to last for a couple of days. Our introductory packet included a notice about an early earthquake detection program that notifies if an earthquake is imminent and cautions the residents to take cover.
By no means does this mean I am walking around waiting for the next earthquake to happen but it also doesn’t mean I am oblivious to the fact.
As promised, here is an update from my first 72 hours since leaving New York on Friday morning. I will add some pictures in this post to highlight some key things I am writing about but visit this page for my entire photo albumfrom my stay here in Tokyo.
Saturday morning, we were guided through a short tour throughout our community in Tokyo and were shown local supermarkets for our everyday needs, some places to eat/shop and how convenient it is to take the Tokyo Metro to move about the city.
Prior to even considering a role that would move me half way around the world, one of the first things I did was do a little research on the availability of halal restaurants here. I found that there were specific restaurants that only served halal food but I was not prepared to see halal items on menus at your regular, local restaurants and supermarkets here. This welcomed surprise will certainly make it easier to have a more balance diet here.
Since we have been taking the metro during off-peak hours, it has been relatively easy to figure out our way around the various lines and where to transfer/exit. Based off of a mere two days of experience riding the metro, I think it has been a relatively easy process to figure out way around the various lines and there are probably two main things that our subway system can learn from the process here:
1) They have very clear signs indicating which train cars are ideal for you depending on your destination or transfer point and
2) There are glass walls/doors on the newer platforms that restrict passengers from accidentally falling onto the tracks while they wait for the trains to arrive. Once the train has ‘docked’ into the station, only then will the doors open allowing you to enter the train with no access to fall onto the train tracks. I can only imagine the number of lives that could be saved and injuries that could be reduced if the MTA and the Port Authority were to implement this back home.
As a preview/teaser for my next post, we were greeted with this welcome present on our first day of work. Something to get accustomed to in Tokyo, I suppose.