Whenever I tell people I live in a high-rise apartment, they always ask, “But what about earthquakes?” I’ve always just shrugged and repeated some of the assurances we had from the real estate company about how strong the building is and how firm the ground it’s built on.
Until tonight. We had a siren on the television, and within a second the building was shaking. Nana opened the sliding glass door to the balcony and then ran to me and gripped me tightly while the swaying continued.
It took a few minutes to get all the information. The quake was just off the coast of Chiba, M6.0. In the Japanese seismic intensity scale (which measures the amount of shaking at the surface), it was a low 5. Within Tokyo, it was a 3. Importantly, there was no danger of tsunami.
So what will I tell people when they ask now about living in a high-rise apartment? For the most part, the building swayed gently. Given the intensity of the quake, it wasn’t bad. I feel safer here than I would in a lot of other buildings (including the wooden house I rented for 17 years).