Sunday, 3 April 2011

Cracks, Squeaks and Wobbles

Our university held its shortened opening ceremony yesterday. But the semester won`t start for another two weeks because of the quake. Several other universities are starting late but working Saturdays. Rikkyo and Waseda are not starting until after Golden Week at the beginning of May ... and Rikkyo is teaching through the summer vacation. The horror! There is already concern over what will happen once the summer blackout schedule kicks in. Students will have to be let out early. And are we going to have to teach without aircon?! The Japanese Department of Education says that the spring semester this year must be 13 weeks long minimum (it`s usually 15 weeks). It could all be chaos but that is the situation here right now. No-one knows what will happen so we just carry on.

It`s quite nice to be back at work, to catch up with people and hear their quake stories. One teacher walked for 7 hours to get home. Another had no water for two days. Many people lost TV`s, glass items and crockery. It was the heavy and the tall things that seemed to fall. Small, light things just bounced up and down. Maybe the heavy things built up momentum with all the shaking to and fro.

I also had a laugh watching ex-student Y in the uni brass band rocking out with tambourine and bongo drums to medleys from Disney. Three weeks ago we had a series of national disasters. Now we are singing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. I hope we don`t have a quake now, I thought, in this giant auditorium with all the curtains and heavy lighting. But we didn`t. We had one later during the graduate guidance meeting on the 8th floor. Most people ignored it.

Back on campus, I have been moved to an office on the 9th floor. Office 99. Bodes well, doesn`t it. The guy who came to do the heavy lifting asked how I felt about the two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves next to my desk. He wobbled them to demonstrate the danger. I had him remove them. Later I walked around campus and found quite a few cracks - see photos above. Back at my apartment, the ladder (to the sleeping platform) squeaks, the laminate floor creaks and the fridge wobbles.

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