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★Where Dreams Come True★ (yಠ,ಠ)y


That's the only picture I had time to take before chaos erupted.

We decided on impuls the night before to go to Tokyo Disneyland yesterday. Got there around 11:00, and had a nice time walking around the park. We were waiting in line for our fourth attraction of the day, right behind the castle in the picture above, when the ground suddenly started shaking badly. I'm sure most of you know by now we had a 9.0 earthquake here in Japan a little before 3pm yesterday afternoon.... Staff suddenly shouted for us to get down on the ground and cover our heads with our bags. Everyone had to get out of the various attractions, so it got pretty crowded and chaotic outside. Got some videos of some of the quakes, so I'll see if I can upload them later. But here are some pictures (some might take a while to load):



 





^Everyone were using their cellphones trying to call friends and relatives to see if they were alright. Many were also watching TV broadcasts to see what was going on. The email system was barely working, but we were able to get online and check pages like Twitter.


The employees were also ordered outside:





Everything closed down, and we were not allowed to go inside any buildings. So people started lining up to get out of the park and try to get on a bus, train or taxi back to Tokyo. Unfortunately the roads outside the park now looked like this:












We were walking around not knowing what to do for about 4 hours. Tried asking staff, but they couldn't tell us anything. Also, all information (what little there was) was all given in Japanese. Not a huge problem for me, but there were a lot of tourists who didn't know anything about what was going on, and I had to translate messages given to some of them.
All trains were down, and there were no taxis or busses running either. And it was absolutely freezing. It was cold to begin with, but then we got a really strong wind making everything worse. Around 7pm one of the staff people I asked told us to wait at one of the bus stops, saying there would come busses there that would take us to another train station. Eventually at least 400 people gathered at this bus stop, huddling together, and jumping to try and keep a little warm. We stood there in the horribly cold wind for more than two hours, when a bus finally showed up. People were jumping of joy and cheering loudly. Only to be told the bus would first stop by the other of the two parks; DisneySea. And of course the situation was just as bad there, meaning the bus would fill up and not return to pick us up. After another hour, bus number two finally came. But only to give us the same message. A little while later staff came and announced that there wouldn't be any busses picking us up after all. Thankfully they let us back into the park, where about 69 000 of us could stay slightly more sheltered from the wind, though we still couldn't go inside. And by now, 8 hours after the first earthquake, we were all starting to feel pretty hungry. And starting to look like hobos.



Eventually some of us were lucky enough to get half a glass of warm tea, and a couple of pieces of chocolate. Me and my mum with the precious tea, trying to contact people through my father's phone as my own died on me some hours earlier. All messed up by the wind:



After freezing some more we could line up to get a small portion of rice each. It wasn't very fulfilling (or tasty), but it was way better than nothing. And then we finally found a place where we could stay inside; Captain EO, or "the Michael Jackson building":


Inside:




^Our neighbours. Who were really kind and gave us a couple of boxes filled with chocolate and crackers:



Me in the darkness sitting in our bed crafted of cardboard and bubblewrap:



Didn't get much sleep that night, lying on a hard floor surrounded by snoring men, noisy toddlers and the rustle of people clad in thin plastic bags, along with several smaller quakes throughout the night. At 4:30am we got to fight over who would get breakfast, consisting of half a cup of corn soup and a small piece of loaf. If anything, they should really have handed out water bottles to people.

Trains were still down, but about an hour after "breakfast", a lady came by and asked if anyone would be interested in going to a station nearby with the busses which were now being prepared (yay!). By luck I was one of the first people who ran into her as she was collecting people, so we ended up being in the very front of a line of more than a thousand people who wanted to get to said station too. People moving from their various shelters towards the busses:



And the castle from my first picture seen as the sun rose behind it as we were leaving the park. 


^The park is normally never open that early, so it was a rare opportunity :)


This was NOT a fun experience at the time, but it was definitely an experience that I won't forget. When I finally got back home, my apartment was barely affected by the quake at all (expected it to be completely messed up.) And most importantly, Ben was alright.
Hoping to get a good night's sleep tonight, and a large dinner before then.

 


   



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Comments

( 24 darlings — Bonjour Honey! )
kass
Mar. 12th, 2011 10:25 am (UTC)
I am so glad to hear from you, you were the last of my friends that I was worried about and waiting for an update from. ^^;
That all is...so horribly grueling, but I am so glad that you and your family all alright, and Ben as well. And for your apartment, it must be such a relief to have most things in order.
I hope that the worst is over, and everyone can begin complete recovery.
chounohana
Mar. 12th, 2011 10:42 am (UTC)
The first and largest quake was pretty scary. But fortunately the buildings in the park are all built to withstand these things, so nothing fell down as far as I know.
Right now the biggest worries seem to be tsunami, fires, and those nuclear power plants. Hope no more people will get hurt.
reita_camui
Mar. 12th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
Great to hear your OK~
chounohana
Mar. 12th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
Judging by what they're showing on the news now it looks like people in the Tokyo area got off fairly easy in terms of damage. Hope everyone's friends around the Sendai area are doing alright too.
(Deleted comment)
chounohana
Mar. 12th, 2011 01:32 pm (UTC)
At least we weren't on our own. Being surrounded by thousands of people certainly makes you feel safer.
(Deleted comment)
chounohana
Mar. 12th, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
aww ^^;
I think I'd have been a lot more frightened if I was all alone during a quake like that, not being sure what to do. If there are other people around we can talk and make jokes together, making it easier to relax. And if people around you aren't panicking, it doesn't feel like you should need to either.
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous)
Mar. 12th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC)
Ah I forgot that your parents are still there! >_< Glad to hear all of you got back home safely and that Ben and your apartment are okay!

That whole thing seems to be really ugly experience for all of you! I really hope something like that won't happen again. :/
mina_cross
Mar. 12th, 2011 01:01 pm (UTC)
The comment above was mine! I thought I was logged in, but apparently not... >_
chounohana
Mar. 12th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
My parents obviously don't enjoy the situation, but they'd much rather be here together with me right now than on the other side of the world and in risk of not being able to contact me.
Once we got back to Tokyo things seemed like normal. Couldn't see any damage on the streets here like around the Disney resorts, though the earth's been shaking a few times this evening. Would be nice if it all calmed down soon.
mina_cross
Mar. 12th, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I kinda thought so... At least you were together there. Would be frightening if you got separated somehow. :/
you_and_mee
Mar. 12th, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC)
shit, disneyland er liksom ikke stedet man har lyst til å befinne seg når det kommer et gigantisk jordskjelv... Godt å høre at alt er bra med deg da.
chounohana
Mar. 13th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
Kunne jo vært verre. Vi var jo i det minste utendørs og ikke midt oppe i en berg-og-dalbane eller noe.

Begynner å bli litt lei av alle disse etterskjelvene, så synes jorden kan roe seg litt snart.
ma_a_ya
Mar. 13th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)
it's good to read, that you're ok! and that you even took pictures, that (at least for me) made feel more into the ambient. If I had been there, I wouldn't take pictures, i'd be very frightened :/
I've never been in a earthquake, that must feel really bad.
good luck with all that's happening! :)
chounohana
Mar. 13th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Many people had their cameras ready when the first quake hit as it happened just as one of the parades had started. (You can see one of the wagons in the background of a couple of the pics). I didn't get around to try uploading any videos yet, but there are afew from the Disney parks on youtube already.

There are constant aftershakes at the moment, but according to the TV broadcasts at least the danger of tsunami aren't as bad anymore.
elisa09elisa
Mar. 13th, 2011 10:22 am (UTC)
happy to know you are ok
chounohana
Mar. 14th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC)

shalotts_asylum
Mar. 13th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, what a day. I'm glad you're save!

A good thing about Japan is that the people seemed to have stayed calm. In other places there might/probably would have been a bad panic, but it seems here people maybe were worried, hungry or tired, but no one running around screaming and panicking. Also the neat line-up for the busses: wow.
It was really nice of the people to share the crackers with you.

I hope everyone got back home savely.
chounohana
Mar. 14th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC)
People were just calmly sitting/walking around waiting for instructions. A panic wouldn't have helped anyway, so people focused their energy on staying warm.
A lot of people were helpful in sharing their food, or trying to get food for families with small children etc. that couldn't go around searching for it themselves. I expected more people to be concerned about only themselves, so that was a really nice surprise.

I've seen pictures taken outside the park while we were still inside it, and apparently the tsunami flooded the car park and surrounding area (Which explains why the parking lot was so muddy when we got out). We were lucky the water didn't get into the park itself too.
otterley2
Mar. 14th, 2011 02:04 pm (UTC)
I'm very happy to know you are ok, when I saw on the TV about this disaster I only thought about you, Mrs. Fujiwara and the Art Cube people. >_<
Keep safe!
chounohana
Mar. 14th, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
Me, Angelica and seemingly all AC members, are alright :) The area I live in got off pretty lightly, and we're not even affected by the scheduled blackouts, and our local train is still running.
rizipony
Apr. 13th, 2011 09:48 am (UTC)
Great post! I wish you could follow up on this topic!

( 24 darlings — Bonjour Honey! )

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