Comic: What to do during an Earthquake in Japan

Earthquake in Japan comic cartoon drawing gaijin tokyo

Yesterday afternoon, there was a 5.6 magnitude earthquake right next to Tokyo. I was working at my desk – the shaking was bad enough to knock a book over and send a couple pens rolling off my desk. It lasted about a minute and a half.

So in the grand scheme of things, it was a pretty “uneventful” earthquake.

But, of course, one of the first things I did after the quake finished (aside from propping the huge sliding windows on my balcony open, in case I needed to escape from the building) was to do on Facebook and post about the “huge earthquake.” So did everyone else. In fact, in the minutes following the quake, I counted 23 status updates about it, on Facebook alone (Twitter would have been more).

Hence this comic.

As for “real” earthquake advice… every website I check seems to have a different opinion. Some say get under a sturdy table and others say stay in the doorframe. My husband’s family taught us to prop the front door open, just in case the earthquake is horrible and ends up warping your door frame. You can get trapped in your house and die (electrical fire, flood, etc) because you can’t get the door open if the frame is warped.

I don’t know the best earthquake response. Sorry. Just go an post about it on Facebook like everyone else~


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My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book


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Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

22 Comments on Comic: What to do during an Earthquake in Japan

  1. The Facebook thing is so true! I live in Costa Rica and we have pretty strong earthquakes on a regular basis, from 5 to 7, and the first thing that most people do is post it on FB….jajajaja!

  2. Haha, earthquakes freaked me out at first (read: hightailing for the nearest table at the slightest wobble), but I fortunately live in a part of the country where quakes aren’t actually a big deal.
    That Facebook thing is SO true, though, especially where I live in Taiwan.

    (I discovered your blog just yesterday and spent almost the whole night up browsing through entries! Love it :D)

  3. 92JazzQueen . // 20 September, 2014 at 3:33 am //

    I live in California we get an earthquake once in a blue moon. Heck, we got an 6.0 up in the Napa Valley area a few weeks ago. However, I don’t go to school in that area.

  4. There was an earthquake at the East Coast just a day before I was supposed to ship out to school. It was a little disorienting but surprisingly I wasn’t too freaked out during it. The aftermath however… let’s just say I’m glad my family was no longer until AT&T at that point.

  5. I missed this oneーyay for business trips to Akita?
    Some good advice there. Turning off the gas pipe thing as well is another good one, especially in the event of a large quake.

  6. Living in Taiwan, I am not a stranger to a little shake, rattle, and roll at the hands of mother nature. However, I usually do update my facebook status (when the shaking subsides) if there is a substantial earthquake as it is a way of letting people know immediately that I am ok and not to worry.
    Glad you are ok!!

  7. Frank Leone // 17 September, 2014 at 1:50 pm //

    If you believe Myth Busters then standing in the door way is best. You haven’t laughed until you see someone run outside of one of those indoor onsens onto the street and then realise that they were naked. Then the confusion of whether to run back in during a quake.
    That would make a great toon.

  8. I never been to Japan, but I experienced that ‘Northern California Earthquake’ few weeks ago. I had no idea what I should do, it started when I was asleep, I woke up – it stopped – I moved to another side of the bed and keep on sleeping. then later Sing woke me up did I know there was 6,1 earthquake and then said I should wake him up because there can be an aftershock. I’m still completely clueless O.O

    • Oh wow. That’s a pretty big one! Did your building shake/get damaged?

      I don’t think we get earthquakes in Texas (or at least none that big), so I’m also pretty clueless when it comes to earthquakes…

  9. Robert Ryan // 17 September, 2014 at 11:42 am //

    (Sorry if this ends up being a double post–the first one disappeared after I registered with Disqus.) We had a couple of moderate ‘quakes when I was living in Ottawa, Canada, so I’ve looked into what to do. First of all, there’s no need to panic: most buildings in First World nations are designed and built so well that they easily withstand all but the strongest of earthquakes. Secondly, if you evacuate your building in an area where there are a lot of tall buildings, immediately make your way to a nearby park in order to avoid the threat of falling glass. Just thought I’d share.

    • Oh man, sorry to hear Disqus ate your comment.

      It’s funny that you mention that, because the first time there was a huge quake out in Ibaraki, I freaked out. Ryosuke’s dad just kind of laughed and was like “don’t worry, Japanese houses are MUCH stronger than American houses. It will survive.” For whatever reason, I was like “Yeah, yeah, ok, you say that now, but I don’t trust you…”

  10. I’m kind of lucky as I’ve only ever lived in regions in Japan that aren’t THAT prone to quakes. I’ve been here when the 3/11 one hit, but I was living so far away, that we didn’t feel anything back then.

    Do you have set up an emergency bag?

    • We don’t… We have a couple bottles of water and some Spam in a can, but other than that, we’re really not prepared. Since we live in Tokyo with three supermarkets within a 10 min walk, we don’t have to worry too much.

  11. My wife has a little 3/11 PTSD for any quake. As for me, I am pretty non-chalant about them. In this order I: ummm… updated facebook, took my coffee off the wobbly table, and while sipping said coffee went to check on the book shelves and kitchen shelves… All which did a great job weathering the quake since we bought those earthquake tension bars.

  12. Well, the updating on social media thing is legit. If the quake is bad enough and got you in trouble, at least there will be people who know what happened.

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