Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Shortly after dinner Friday evening we heard fire trucks passing in front of our building. This is a normal occurance as the fire station is a bit around the corner and our street is one of their main routes to get out of the area. I (Rich) picked up Max so that we could look out the window and see them pass. This time they took a side street and went down past the back of our building. Max went back to playing with his toys and we heard more sirens. These trucks came from a different direction and made a u-turn going back down the same sidestreet. Odd….We continued watching other cars pass and looked at the trees lit up in blue and white lights for the holidays. I pointed out to Heather a new store is opening up across the street on the 28th, and it has something to do with being a “mozzarella bar”. Yum.
Hold on. More sirens….More fire trucks. Max and I quickly put on our coats and shoes and went down to investigate.
We walked up the street and it looked like the fire trucks disappeared. Upon reaching the corner though we saw one stopped. Interesting…We walked further and saw another. Then an ambulance. Then another truck. Then hoses out on the sidewalk, all aside the low building next to ours. We kept walking and Max was calling out and pointing at the fire truck, and was excited at the ambulance and flashing lights! Then he pointed out the “ladder truck”…which was closer to our building. A few more steps provided a clear view of the street between our building and Robot Park. “Holy Cow!!!” I thought (and as Max has recently learned to say). Nine fire trucks and the firefighters were going into our builing, Residence B! But it seemed like nothing serious as the firefighters, though many, were not running around in a panic (then again, this is Japan).
We walked up through Robot Park and across the bridge over the street. There seemed to be a fair number of people milling about. Max started chasing some kids and we went inside by our lobby.
Once inside we now heard fire alarms and red lights I had never noticed before were flashing. Holy Cow! (or substitute other appropriate word here). An automated voice was blaring over the loudspeaker. It sounded kind of like at the end of one of the original James Bond movies when the evil hideout is in self destruct mode: “RESIDENTS OF BUILDING C. PLEASE EVACUATE. THERE IS A FIRE ON THE 42ND FLOOR”.
So I of course went upstairs to tell Heather. There were no alarms going off in our building and I assumed everything was safe.
We prepared a bath for Max and an announcement came over the loudspeaker in our apartment. It was in Japanese. It was very loud. Heather and I looked at each other quizzically as it did not sound like any Japanese I had mastered so far (“two beers, please”, and “turn left at the light”). Finally, the announcement came in English. “PLEASE DO NOT BE ALARMED. THE SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL”. Then they repeated the annoucement again in Japanese. Again in English. I thought that was a good idea in case someone didn’t hear it the first time. Then they repeated it a third time. Four. Five. Six. I started to feel alarmed.
Max’s bath went without further incident. I suppose it was good he was in a big pool of water. While drying him off we heard more crackling coming over the loud speaker. It took me a while to find the camera to record this (listen to the attached) but fortunately they made the annoucement SEVEN times.
I can’t wait to see what happens in a big earthquake.