Just a few minutes after 5am this morning, as I was coming out of some vivid dream (the details of which escape me), the apartment building began to shake. It felt almost as if some invisible caregiver were trying to shake me awake, but the intensity abruptly increased. The window frames rattled, an empty Volvic water bottle fell in my kitchen, the bathroom door opened a crack.
I hopped up, put on a t-shirt and some socks, grabbed my passport then stood in a doorway. The shaking subsided but still lasted much longer than I would have liked. Now I have my lights on and despite its being only 5:20 and very rainy outside (the sun is barely up on a dimly-lit, drizzly kind of morning), I'm ready to bail at a moment's notice. That's probably not what to do in an earthquake but I'd rather take my chances on my feet than risk being buried if an earthquake strong enough to drop this building strikes Hamamatsu.
Cars continue to run outside, their tires whirring on the wet pavement, people on their way to work as on any normal day. As for me, my stomach did some flip-flops and my knees did a minor variation of what the earth put us through this morning.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency earthquake information site here, this morning's quake occurred at 5:07am and reached a magnitude of about 6.6 on the Japanese scale. The epicenter was just off the coast of Shizuoka, to our east. Apparently, what I felt was in the range of magnitude 4 or 5. I do not want to feel anything higher. Ever. The thing about earthquakes is, you never know until later if you felt the worst of it-- which in this case would be considered very mild to anyone except a person hailing from the seismically boring state of Georgia-- or if you were just feeling the outer edge of something much worse.
How's the rest of Japan? The last time I felt something like this, Niigata got hammered, so I'm always concerned. Experts have been predicting a large one in this area for some time. Are we building towards it this week, or have the recent seismic events lessened the pressure and put it off for a few more years?