Monday, September 14, 2009

waiting for the big one

According to news reports, an earthquake of catastrophic proportions is "decades overdue." In fact I read in one AFP article that The Earthquake Research Committee warns of an 87% chance that a magnitude-8 earthquake will strike the Tokyo area -- the Kanto plains, home to Tokyo's vast urban sprawl (with a population of 35 million, it's the largest urban area in the world) -- within the next 30 years.

Another fun-fact (lifted straight off AFP): Japan, located on the tectonic crossroads known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire" and dotted with volcanoes, is one of the world's most quake-prone countries, and Tokyo is located in one of its most dangerous areas.

As they say at the British school, Crikey. (Lots of Ozzies at BST.)

I must confess I don't really think about the earthquake threat very much, but as it was the topic of conversation at my last book club meeting (we did discuss the book -- Robert Harris' The Ghost, which most of us agreed was entertaining if not terribly deep) I decided to dig up the earthquake prep kit that Terry ordered from his employer shortly after we arrived here, about 18 months ago, and make it more accessible. Or at least take a look at the contents. It now sits on our kitchen counter, ready to go.

I was delighted to discover that the kit included this fireproof, stylishly metallic rucksack (my friend Mizuho says the kanji printed on the pocket means EMERGENCY BAG) into which I have tucked a Swiss army knife, some beef jerky, a few granola bars and several bags of nuts, along with the other items that came with it: tweezers, Qtips, gauze, scissors, a length of rope, a flashlight and batteries, a whistle (in case I am trapped in rubble and am too weak to shout out for rescue? will I be Kate Winslet in Titanic?), a votive candle and matches, work gloves, a blue tarp, a plastic rain poncho, two tins of rice crackers and a single bottle of Mt. Fuji mineral water.

I added the case of six 2-L bottles. It makes a handy shelf for the pack. Mizuho says I should buy a portable toilet, but I'm not sure it would fit in the bag.

1 comment:

Mrs. Lear said...

I'm going to make a bag like that as my everyday bag - but I don't want it to say emergency bag - it should say something poetic in stenciled red letters, like, remain calm and keep your chin up.