7.1 Earthquake in Japan and What It Feels Like To Live in a Skyscraper Town

Post-earthquake calm at Hanegi Park in Shimokitazawa, already showing signs of spring.

The first response of the government, about an hour and a half after the 7.3 quake that hit Tohoku Region (where Fukushima is), which bothered even us in the Kanto Region (where Tokyo and Yokohama are), was to issue complete information (from earthquake, to volcano, to tsunami, to flood, and more) in fourteen languages. Nationwide, at least 950,000 homes temporarily lost electricity, which was resolved as of Sunday morning. Scientists believe that Saturday’s quake could be an aftershock of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck the same region on March 11, 2011.

On March 11, 2011, Japan had already been hit by "The Great Big One," with a Magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami. At that time, although there was a scare of a nuclear radiation leak from the Fukushima Plant in Tohoku, and with the Tohoku Prefecture needing massive rebuilding, most of the country's busy cities and surrounding prefectures were back to normal in days. No collapsing buildings. No overall country productivity hampered.

With Japan acknowledging that it is in the "Pacific Rim of Fire," it has set aside government budget for disaster preparedness, and has strongly implemented strict building codes that require structures and buildings to be able to withstand Magnitude 9 quakes without need for repair; and beyond it, buildings should still not be collapsing (only needing repair). City wards have been diligent in educating the masses about earthquakes, with them even reaching out to us, then, students (who were technically just spending about a year in Japan), for disaster preparedness. I've experienced seeing falling mirrors and hanging things from the wall, when I was living in a wooden house in 2014, but I also found myself inside a shaking building, in the middle of a finance class (with us classmates saying "I love you" to each other, thinking it could be our last day on earth). Six years later, some of us who've stayed in Japan, have mostly remained calm, understanding the strong "foundations" of Japan, metaphorically and literally.

"There are two main levels of resilience that engineers work towards: the first is to withstand smaller earthquakes, the type that a building might see three or four times in its lifespan in Japan. For this magnitude, any damage that requires repair is not acceptable. The building should be so well designed that it can escape these earthquakes unscathed."

Unscathed on Valentine's Day

Impromptu copywriting: what your drink tells about you.

I'm grateful for all the prayers for safety for me and Japan, yet, my prayer, really, is that our home country, the Philippines, also gets to experience a government that genuinely looks after the people's best interests, a government that is quick to demonstrate efficient action, and a government that is committed in practicing accountability. My prayer, really, is that the Filipino people would have an idea of what a real #goodlife is, what good governance is, what good leadership is, and what good accountability is. I pray that that the people's eyes would be aware to higher standards, higher quality of life, higher expectations from those they put in office.

Amid all that's happening, we, at the #GoodCompanyJP want to greet everybody Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Valentines Day! For 2021, from Chinese New Year until the Passover, we're choosing 21 random people from our list (email list with home address) to receive #GoodWord post cards. Knowing how online burnout is real, and with social gathering impossible, we'd like to rediscover the power of connection, the old-fashioned way. More details here.

Simple joys: my favorite orange chocolate and a tulip.

Happy Valentine's Day from the city of skyscrapers!

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