• Home
  • About
  • Guest Post

    Lady Luck and four-leaf clovers

    I don’t want to sound like your kindergarten teacher, but for those who are Americans living in Tokyo, Hurricane Katrina’s doings over the last few days served, I hope, as a reminder that you need to have your earthquake kit ready. If the big one comes, the police and fire departments will have their hands full rescuing the elderly and infirm; it would be nice not to pile the able-bodied and unprepared onto their workload. The US Embassy earthquake preparedness guide/checklist is always a good reference.

    If you read Japanese, Hitachi will also have a helpful feature on its site up the day after tomorrow:

    Residents later this week can find out what their homes would look like after a major earthquake by using a Web site that pinpoints danger spots in the event of a temblor.

    The system, developed by a group led by Shigeyuki Okada, a professor at Nagoya Institute of Technology and an expert in earthquake disaster management, is designed to give residents ideas about preventive measures, such as rearranging furniture, against temblor-induced damage.

    The service will be free.

    Residents will simply enter such information as floor plans and sleeping areas, and the program will highlight the danger areas.

    The system was tailored for ordinary use by Hitachi East Japan Solutions, a Sendai-based software engineering company.

    The start of consultations on Hitachi East’s Web site is scheduled for Sept. 1, the anniversary of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. Earthquake-related drills around the country and reminders about disaster preparedness are expected on that day.

    The site will allow you to configure a model of your house based on room layout, furniture placement, and ages of household members. Feed them in, and the site will give you the most obviously vulnerable points in the house. Sounds pretty cool.

    6 Responses to “Lady Luck and four-leaf clovers”

    1. John says:

      I always kept a folding knife, rope, foil emergency blankets, lighters and iodine water purifcation tabs (along with the stuff that takes the iodine taste out) in addition to what they recommend.

    2. Toren says:

      I was in SF for the ’89 7.0 quake, and now I have an entire rack of gear down in the basement, including 110 gallons of water, 4 months of food, 40lbs of propane, batteries, etc. And the armaments necessary to protect ’em all, too.

      Live and learn…but if you can learn from others first, that’s ideal.

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Truth be told, I’ve been a little slack lately. I have pretty much the bare minimum–should rectify that. When you cadge a can of tuna from your earthquake stock every once in a while, it adds up (or subtracts down, as the case may be).

      There’s also an elderly lady down the corridor–she may live with her husband, though I’ve never seen him. I’m the only other person on our floor who doesn’t have children, I think, so I’ve kind of assumed that if she needs help before anyone official can come, it’ll fall to me to check up on her. If her supplies were wrecked and we had to share, I’m not so sure she’d enjoy subsisting on Calorie Mate, Nutella, and kidney beans.

    4. Toren says:

      Certainly the situation is a great deal more difficult in urban Japan, where finding space in your roku-jo apartment to put 20 kilos of survival gear is a major undertaking, much less the 1/2 ton of it I have in my big-ass ‘murrican basement.

    5. John says:

      Calorie Mate? Yuck! I brought that stuff on my first trek up Fuji, without taste testing it first. Big mistake.

      BTW, do they still have lychee and apple-flavored Fanta?

    6. Sean Kinsell says:

      We’re lucky enough to have an extra room; I’m chary of using it for my earthquake kit, though, because it’s down the hall from the master bedroom/living room/kitchen, which have only one door between them. That’s where I spend 99% of my time, so if I were unable to get to the spare room, I’d be separated from my supplies.

      I don’t think anyone buys Calorie Mate for its life-reordering deliciousness. It’s compact and doesn’t need heating, so I keep it around as a supplement to the canned goods and crackers and stuff. Fanta, of course, still comes in all kinds of ghastly flavors. Lychee and apple are still around, to my knowledge. You can also get melon, which (I say this as a honeydew and canteloupe devotee) is super-gross. It’s, like, 20736.

    Leave a Reply