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Howl’s Moving Metropolis Elizabeth Mazurok describes what it was like in Tokyo during the infamous 2011 Tohoku Earthquake.

I

n 2011, I was studying abroad in To- It was, to date, the largest earthquake kyo, Japan. Tokyo was a big change in recorded history. At its epicenter in of pace for someone born and raised Sendai, it registered at 9.0 on the Richter in a land-locked, agrarian Canadian scale. My location in Tokyo was a trifling province, semi-affectionately referred to 8.1. Earthquakes with a magnitude of as “Texas Jr.” Life in a bustling metropo- 5.0 or so can level poorly-constructed lis of roughly 13.3 houses and kill hunmillion was certainly dreds. At its epicenter in different – and some- Sendai, it registered at how quieter – than At the time, my 9.0 on the Richter scale my hometown of Japanese brother Edmonton. There and I were practicing was the expected culture shock, mixed singing in a school building. Imagine my with a whole heap of misunderstandings, surprise when the building started to but all of these experiences paled in com- rock back and forth. The shaking quickly parison to what occurred on March 11. intensified to the point where I didn’t

On that day, the Tohoku Earthquake of 2011 struck Japan at roughly 3:00 p.m.

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March/April 2015 | nagazasshi

photo flickr.com/evanblaser

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