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":
^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.