Home > Gaijin Chronicles > Still Got It

Still Got It

First things first – I’m okay, family is okay, mostly everyone I know is fine.

(In case you don’t watch the news, or are reading this post in the archives, I’m referring to the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck off the northern coast of Japan yesterday afternoon.)

Kansai is quite far from the earthquake epicenter, so for us the quake wasn’t nearly as bad. I work on the 16th floor of a building in Osaka, so whatever was felt on the ground was probably magnified quite a bit by the time it got to us – there was some swaying and rolling that got stronger and persisted for 2-3 minutes (which in earthquake time, is freakin’ forever…), but nothing fell over or anything like that.

The interesting thing about Kyoto/Osaka is that unless a natural disaster strikes us specifically (such as the Hanshin Earthquake), we’re usually fine. The biggest example is the typhoons – during typhoon season a few will usually hit Japan. The initial reports will have a typhoon pretty much bowl through all of Japan. However, at some point it will either just veer away from Kansai, or hop/skip/jump over us. Leaving us with a bit or rain and wind while other areas get slammed. For some, this is a point of contention, as if the tsunami’s actually did hit, we would get days off work and school.

So my wife is sitting here watching news coverage, and on one station I see entire rows of houses swept away in the tsunami. On another, raging fires. On another, towns buried in mud and deluge. So, I understand why people are worried. Watching this makes me worried too. But as I look outside my window, it’s life as usual. Nothing is destroyed, on fire, or being swept away. The old folks are playing cricket on the school grounds. Kids are tossing a ball back and forth in the street. Just the right amount of cars are on the road for the time of day. The trains are all running on schedule. Tomorrow, I’m going to go out and film some stuff for a TV show. Everything is business as usual here. It’s a bit surreal to know that a few hundred kilometers up, it’s a much different story. But I guess that’s just part of life. My thoughts and prayers go out to any and everyone affected by the earthquake. Meanwhile, I’m relieved that I and my family are safe and unaffected.


Yesterday the quake hit as most of us were toiling away at work. I felt the shaking, looked at the guy next to me, and he instantly voiced what I was thinking – “Isn’t this an earthquake?” The floor rolled around quite a bit, especially unnerving since we’re on the 16th floor. Not that I’m usually afraid of heights, but when the ground underneath you isn’t exactly terra firma, being 16 floors up doesn’t really help matters much.

After the swaying and rolling stopped, people gathered around one of the TV’s to watch the news. An announcement came over the com system – there was just an earthquake (you think?), but the building is fine, please go back to work. Most people continued to watch the TV coverage of what had just happened. The foreigners on our floor – some mid-west and east coast Americans, as well as Europeans were visibly shaken by the whole experience. As an Earthquake Veteran, I went back to work. I was in both the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. I actually mostly slept through the Northridge one. I remember mom waking me up and telling me we were in an earthquake. I asked her how strong…she estimated 6 or 7. I remember saying “wake me if we hit 8” and trying to go back to sleep. …You have to understand that I’m not really a morning person.

Anyway, around 4PM or so I was kind of hungry, so I went down to the nearby 7-11 to grab a snack. As I entered there was a kid, a young boy maybe around 3 or 4 years old, playing in the aisles. He took a quick look at me, and then immediately ran back to his mother, crying while saying “scary, scary!” Unfortunately for me, this is by no means a rare occurance, so I’m actually used to it. I tried to smile and look as non-threatening as possible, but the poor kid was terrified out of his wits until his mother carried him out of the store and apparently to his safety. While paying for my goods, I had to take a moment and process what had just happened – the kid had just experienced, albeit mildly, one of the largest recorded earthquakes in human history. And yet somehow, I was the scariest thing that had happened to him all day. So either – on his priority scale, large black man outranks the Earth itself rolling around under his feet, or he was too young to comprehend the idea of an earthquake but could still process big black man = OMG he’s going to eat me!

I’m not even mad or angry at the situation (I wish the mother had taken a moment to explain that there’s no reason to be scared of a person simply because they’re different, but meh whatever), I just had to take a moment and find the humor in it. Nice to know that some things haven’t changed at least.

Categories: Gaijin Chronicles
  1. CyberMonkey
    March 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Thank God you are safe, as a long time reader here I am glad you, your wife and anna are alright.

  2. AmishSamurai
    March 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    It’s good to know everything is okay. It was a relief seeing this post in my RSS feed and thinking “Az’s family is alright”.

  3. naho
    March 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm


    lol at the kid…yeah, I wish parents taught their kids about that kinda stuff..

    so happy that you’re ok!

  4. LShameless
    March 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I am glad to hear you, and your family is okay! I have to say, the kid thinking you’re more scarier than an Earthquake…pretty epic.

  5. hostilecrayon
    March 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Thank goodness. It may be a little silly, but since I don’t know too many people in Japan, I instantly thought of you and your family (especially since I also just had a baby and as such, was instantly worried), so I’m extremely relieved to hear you’re doing just fine. I’ve been reading along for years – ever since someone in my Japanese 1 class said to me, “Hey, you want to see how hilarious Japan REALLY is?” and I hope to be able to follow along with your antics and crazy life experiences for years to come.

  6. starshelle
    March 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I am so relieved your area wasn’t terribly affected, and I hope it remains that way. Thank you so much for posting the update.

  7. Cecil Shadow
    March 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Glad you are safe! Sounds like you live in the safest part of Japan πŸ™‚

  8. Dancingrage
    March 12, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Ah, good to see you are fine, Az.

  9. Ricky
    March 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Thank god you and your family are all right. I came here to see if you were and am so happy to see this post.

  10. Tunod
    March 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Good to hear you’re doing OK, Az. I wasn’t really sure where you were.

    Regarding the store incident, all I can think is, “The Gaijin Perimeter still functions. The world will recover.”

  11. vaidkun
    March 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    now always on the news is the nuclear plant it seems they have some problems there.

  12. cakeeater
    March 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Good to hear you’re fine. Cool to hear you live (or work?) in the Kansai area, also; I studied abroad at Kandai about a year and a half ago.

  13. lain
    March 12, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    It’s good to hear from you and know that you are safe!

    I think it’s definitely something that kids learn at an early age that specific outer appearances on a human is supposed to reflect something on the inside. And then maybe a little later we come to our senses and realize that the cartoons were wrong– you are right though, the mother should have said something.

  14. Romanticide
    March 12, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Glad to hear you and you family are okay and your locations wasn’t hit hard by the earthquake.
    But the kid saying “scary, scary” is just priceless XD
    And now I am wondering… did Miss Americanized at least got a free day out of that scare?

    • Misty
      March 13, 2011 at 4:51 am

      Probably not, at the quake happened at about 3 in the afternoon. Now that you bring it up though, I’m sure Ms. Americanized is somewhere going “Motherfucking earthquake! Why couldn’t it have been a few hundred more kilometers south? Then I could finally get a fucking vacation!” Hah…yeah.

  15. Ncrdrg
    March 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Very glad to see you’re still doing pretty well Az. And you kept your sense of humor, thank goodness.

  16. Livi
    March 12, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    It’s so relieving to know you and your family are alright. I instantly thought of you when I heard what happened. I was worried that I wouldn’t even see a blog post from you, so thank you for posting the update!
    My prayers go out to all those affected.

  17. lemon
    March 12, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    im glad u and your family are safe! Keep the posts coming!

  18. Helt
    March 12, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Very nice to know you are safe.

  19. Jackie
    March 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    I am glad you guys are safe. I live in the bay and i vividly remember the loma prieta quake in ’89, and I thought that went forever until I saw footage of the quake there. Kinda surreal when I was only watching the news to see what the weather would be like only to see that there was a 8.9 quake off japan with the live footage of the tsunami hit Sendai. To see cars on the road moving and people gettin out because the road was blocked, oh my goodness, I was in tears. In any case be safe and if you know any charities you would like your readers to send to help the people in Japan, post it. Sending love to Japan all the way here from the SF bay area.

  20. March 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Thank goodness you and your family are okay! When I went through my mental list of people in Japan I knew of I literally thought, “Oh crap! Az!”

  21. March 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Crazy shit. Glad you and your lot are ok.

  22. Naru
    March 12, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I’m very relieved to hear your family is safe! This earthquake really scared the heck out of me.

    Prayers to Japan.

  23. Vocab
    March 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Good to see that you’re alive, Az.

  24. Joyous
    March 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Glad to know that you and your family are alright. The videos are pretty scary.

  25. Jen
    March 12, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I’m so glad you’re all okay! The first thing I thought of when I heard about the earthquake was, “Az is there, I wonder how far it is from him,” and checked Google Earth. It seemed far enough away that you would be fine, but all yesterday I kept checking here to see if there was an update. I’ve been reading this blog for years, ever since your teaching days.

  26. Nochi
    March 12, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Oh, I was hoping you’d post. All the worry. But I’m glad everyone’s alright.

    Honestly, I think you should just go around telling people you’re scarier than an earthquake now. It’s an amazing catchphrase.

  27. Shoni418
    March 12, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Hey Az! I’ve started reading your blogs this year after hearing from so many of my friends (fellow students of the Japanese language & former JETs) rave of how hilarious they are. As a fellow black person, I absolutely love your sense of humor with regards to your experience(s) in Japan. So glad to hear you & youre family are safe! Ki o tsukete ne!

  28. March 12, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Glad you guys are okay!

  29. March 13, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Thank-you for letting us know you were OK. Good.

  30. March 13, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Thanks for the update; I was really concerned. Now that I know you’re all alive and safe, I can say – sorry I have been away for a very long time, and congratulations on being a new daddy!

    BTW – We are hearing reports over here that 4 bullet trains are missing, and that one of the nuclear power plants exploded and released all kinds of radiation. Any updates from your corner of the world to ensure accuracy would be greatly appreciated!

    • Neraxis
      March 13, 2011 at 10:16 am

      No actually explosion yet, mate. That was a secondary building that blew at the #1 site. Appaerently an oxygen and hydrogen build up caused the structure to fail. There’s a small possible of a leak due to damage to the containment vessel might have received from the earthquake but at the moment the radiation levels found in people still allows for decontamination but so far, their new preventative measures have helped forstall an actual meltdown. Long Island was worse than this so far. Here’s a page to follow.


      • Darkrider
        March 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm

        I think you mean Three Mile Island.

  31. March 13, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Hahaha. You can really tell Japan changes a man when among his first thoughts upon having that happen to him is “Well, the earthquake may have changed a lot of things, but at least small children are still afraid of me.”

    Anyways, glad to know you’re alright.

  32. March 13, 2011 at 3:10 am

    I have come out of lurking to say I am thankful you are okay. It is just heartbreaking to hear about all the devastation but the loss of life could have been much worse had it your area or the Tokyo area.

  33. edventure
    March 13, 2011 at 4:22 am

    Glad to hear you’re all ok. Thanks for the update.

    Next time you get the vibe a kid is going to run in terror, do your best terrified Richard Pryor impression and run away first. I can olny imagine the puzzled look on the kid’s face.

  34. Elaine
    March 13, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Thank goodness you and your family are alright. Like Kate, my first reaction when going over my mental checklist was “Omg… Az!” Please let us reader know if there are any organizations you recommend for donations. I wish there was more I could do to help. Keep safe and give that baby a kiss from all of us!

  35. Misty
    March 13, 2011 at 5:00 am

    When I found out how far north it was (which was about two seconds after hearing about the quake), I pretty much figured you’d be Ok. But I decided to check in for an earthquake post and thus here we are. So, you actually slept through Northridge? That is some deep sleeping. My own sleep varies (sometimes I’ll sleep for twelve hours and multiple attempts to wake me up…), and other times I’ll sleep lightly and wake up over a small noise. But I don’t think I could possibly sleep through an earthquake that would’ve been the high end of moderate by the time it’d reach my bed.

    The kid is pretty amusing, though. Maybe he thought you were a monster that was released from the depths of the earth because of the earthquake? Who knows. but I’m sure ten years from now if his brand new junior high foreign English teacher is a black man, old nightmares will resurface in which he has know idea where they came from.

  36. Aquasol
    March 13, 2011 at 7:30 am

    First off, glad you’re safe. I pretty much slept through Northridge too, but my parents forced me to get up in case something could fall on me, or my windows shatter, or something. So they had me huddle…over by the water heater, heh.

    Earthquakes are normally fun, but not when they cause disasters like this. To think there are a lot of people in the U.S. not only calling for a major cut in Tsunami prep and monitoring, but even calling for a block on U.S. aid to Japan! =/

  37. Nar
    March 13, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Yeesh. I’m relieved that you and yours are fine. Like a lot of people here, you were near the top of my “what do I give a damn about Japan-wise” list – you outrank KyoAni by a fair amount, so don’t worry. Still laughing about that little kid. It must be a little rough, but it’s good that you fare all right. I haven’t actually commented before, but I did feel the need to post given the situation – you know, I had never really considered the JET program since I found I Am a Japanese School Teacher, and now I’m pretty set on doing something similar. I’d rather the ground didn’t try to eat me while I was there, though.

    Anyway, good to know you’re doing alright.

  38. Bara
    March 13, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Good to hear you and your family are ok.

  39. Neraxis
    March 13, 2011 at 10:05 am

    What’s got me worried is the status of Fukushima’s #1 nuclear reactor. Several reactors got damaged in that while Fukushima #1 has it the worst. A cooling failure and and later an explosion at a secondary structure. Hell there a 20 kilometer evacuation radius for #1 and a 10 kilometer for plant 2.

    Az, you don’t have any friends from Fukushima prefecture do ya?

    I’m safely in Georgia and my friend and I are watching the reactor’s status like a pair of hawks. Hopefully them filling it with water and boric acid will prevent a meltdown.

  40. Loahnuh
    March 13, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Good to hear from you Az, I figured you’d be fine but it’s nice to have an insider view on the quake, as usual the media over hear is pretty much saying that this is the end for Japan and the rest of the world will soon follow as punishment for our hubris.

  41. Morris Keesan
    March 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for the update. We have many friends in Nagaokakyo, whom we haven’t heard from, but they’re close enough to you in Osaka that I’m guessing they’re okay.

  42. March 13, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Great to know you and your family are alive. πŸ™‚

  43. Agehero
    March 13, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Man, I know exactly how you feel. I’m an African in Hikone for an exchange program, and I just got back from Osaka for the weekend. A friend of mine and I got a little lost, and when I went to ask this group of girls for directions to the station, they screamed when they saw me. They were nice and helped me out in the end, but it was a little unnerving. When I got to the station though, my friend saw a woman holding the most intricate balloon animal ever and wanted to ask where she got it. I of course had to help him ask because my Japanese is better, but when I approached the woman, she screamed, took three steps backward, and almost ran away. When she realized that I wasn’t going to rape her in front of her husband though, she was embarrassed and she literally ran us straight to the place where she bought the balloons. The saddest part to me was watching random women, Japanese and otherwise, hold on tighter to their significant others as I ran by, as if I were chasing this woman or something.

    I guess I’m saying that I realize it doesn’t get much better, but the silver lining is that every time I’ve experienced this, the person who did it *thought* about it, realized that I wasn’t scary, and almost bent over backward to help me out.

    P.S.: I too have been Kanchoed in a Japanese School. I almost equated your stories about school to Fairy Tales until I had that experience.

  44. wole
    March 13, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Glad to hear you and the fam are good but please keep us posted on how things are going over there. God bless and stay safe man

  45. Lyn
    March 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I’m glad you and your family are safe and doing well.

  46. Vonbootystein
    March 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Hey Az, thanks for popping on to let us know you are okay. I was a little worried, but i thought you lived near Osaka and i hadn’t heard of any damage going on there. Glad you’re family is all safe and well. πŸ™‚

  47. ThinkingOfJapan
    March 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Az, thanks for realizing we were worried about you and your family to post this message. Hopefully you have access to a PC on a regular basis now, and can post more articles, especially in the upcoming weeks with everything’s that’s happened. Everyone else, please donate what you can to the Red Cross or Salvation Army to assist in their efforts. God bless you all.

  48. Mat
    March 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Glad to know you and yours are alright… and/or the whole area you are in is alright.

    And I can’t blame the kid. I’m still having a hard time grasping the sheer force involved in that quake (Moving an entire country’s coastline by feet is NOT easily pictured.)

  49. CT
    March 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    So when I heard about the earth quake I thought “omg I am glad I don’t know anybody in japan…wait…I kinda sorta do!!” and went to your website. As an OLDSKOOL reader, thank you for posting that you and your family is alright.
    Funny how you can worry about a person you read about online and have never met. weird.

  50. Steven
    March 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Hey Az,

    I’m not sure the kid actually experienced the earthquake. Here in Kyoto, no one felt it, and neither did my boyfriend in Osaka. Still funny though πŸ™‚

    We’re also going about life as normal here. Except, it’s not really normal. No buildings are collapsed, no one is off of work, but everyone here is really worried. It’s hard to sleep at night when you think about the earthquake and the tsunami and the victims of radiation in Fukushima. Also, people here are still afraid of a big earthquake happening in the Tokai region, which would probably be felt in Kansai. These are scary times, but all we can do is pray, donate to relief efforts, and (in the case of Kansai people) limit electricity use.

    • Steven
      March 13, 2011 at 9:03 pm

      ^meant to add that you probably just felt the earthquake because you were high up.

  51. colagirl
    March 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Glad to hear from you and that everything’s okay, Az. I was starting to worry.

  52. flpdm
    March 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Good to hear you are ok. Really like your stories.

  53. Fae
    March 14, 2011 at 12:18 am

    I’m so glad you and your family are okay.
    I agree with #52, it’s funny how you can worry about someone you’ve never met!
    Take care and stay safe!

  54. Shiny
    March 14, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Thanks for letting us know, Az. I see a lot of us lurkers (of several years) have unmasked this time. Hope the legions of people who worried for you makes you smile ;]

  55. Jen
    March 14, 2011 at 2:44 am

    Somehow, I should have expected this story to end the way it did!

  56. TheOtherJN
    March 14, 2011 at 3:23 am

    Hey Az, I’m glad you and your family and friends are fine.
    Indeed it really is jarring when we contrast the geographic area you in and the geographic areas of the places hit by the quake.
    Glad to see that at least some things haven’t changed much due to the earthquake, but I think there’s a sort of a mellow tone injected in the article? I guess you too are empathetic to those who HAVE suffered.
    Because of the earthquake, I have watched Tokyo Magnitude 8.0… how you seen it before Azrael?

  57. Athlynne
    March 14, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Glad you and the family are okay, Az, thanks for letting us know.

    *sigh* You, scarier than an earthquake? The Japanese are an odd people indeed. But you’re there, making it a more tolerant country, one terrified child at a time. πŸ™‚ At least he didn’t try to kancho you, right?

  58. Neraxis
    March 14, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Darkrider :
    I think you mean Three Mile Island.

    Wow, I actually said Long Island? Wow. Fail on my part, but yes, I meant Three Mile Island. Though now several officials have mentioned there’s a chance of a small meltdown, nothing major buat then later all of the recanted their statements, saying there’s no chance of a meltdown. I know I’m not the only one that thinks that’s kinda suspicious.

  59. Cheryl
    March 14, 2011 at 6:59 am

    So glad you and your family are okay!

  60. Vidgmchtr
    March 14, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I’ll be honest, I once did have a nightmare of a huge black man who wanted to eat me. I was 2, you know?

    (Oh yeah and I’m white and American.)

  61. Michael from Denmark
    March 14, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Hey Az! Happy you’re ok!
    Keep us posted on the situation. Would be nice getting an inside view instead of frantic news reporters repeating themselves.


  62. strtpls3
    March 14, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Glad you are OK Az.
    Odd that more of your school children didn’t have similar reactions…unless they expressed their deep, unabiding fear by trying to poke you in the ass…

  63. Chocolatetree
    March 14, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Glad you are safe! Checked your site first when I heard about the earthquake and an update of your status was relieving! πŸ™‚

  64. john ostermiller
    March 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Very glad you are okay Az. Thanks for sharing another great story. I hope you get an opportunity and the drive (read: a nice fat paycheck and stipend for plenty of expenses from a patron/book publisher) to put together an actual memoir one of these days.

  65. March 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I haven’t read this blog in a year or so….ok probably more, but the earthquake made me think of you and I just had to look your blog up again. Very glad to hear that you and your family are safe and ok….and that you’re still writing. :p

  66. evil_tennyo
    March 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    That would piss me off, geez and that’s normal? Well just imagine next time… GODZILLA, aaiiiieeeeeee!!! =P

    Glad to hear you and the fam are safe.

  67. March 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    A fellow Northridge Earthquake veteran! I remember that….I was 7 at the time. I slept through most of it and when I did wake up it was already on the side walk after my mother carried me out of the house. My first comment was: “I need to save my Megazords!” and then there was a boom and my next doors neighbors house was on fire from a broken gas line. Then I kind laid back down on the sidewalk and went back to sleep.

  68. jemmy
    March 14, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Glad to know that yo and yours are safe.

  69. ChrisDonno
    March 15, 2011 at 2:19 am

    glad to hear you are ok. Keep writing!

    Being a rather large black man myself, living in the mid-west, I’ve experienced similar things when visiting places that obviously dont have many brown folks around. I either get the fear reaction, or folks wanting to touch my hair. Very disconcerting.

  70. Randy
    March 15, 2011 at 3:20 am

    I’ve been a long time reader who’s been a bit remiss lately in keeping up. I heard about the disaster and thought of you and your family. I looked you up Saturday and was relived to see everything was alright. I’ve caught back up with the latest and await updates.

  71. DaveT
    March 15, 2011 at 4:36 am

    Glad that you are okay. Came here specifically to check if you were okay, and delighted to see you are. All the best to you and yours!

  72. Kittu
    March 15, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Hey I was wondering if you were ok, so I bing’ed your old site to find this place. Glad to hear about the lil Beyonce and certainly glad you and yours are ok.

  73. ArthurFrDent
    March 15, 2011 at 10:02 am

    good to hear it was no great shakes [nyuck, nyuck] it’s odd but I have checked up on all the kids I know of, weather blogger or alt, RL friend or just someone I read… and they have all been far away or whatever… but just knowing that the country is just a bit bigger than my state… It makes it seem like you must be closer.

    still, if a quake happened miles off of Sendai, and still affected you, it IS a big deal…

  74. Nar
    March 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

    As an addendum to my previous comment: Az, you have a pretty damn big following here. If you named a charity, we’d donate, tell our friends to donate, and it would escalate pretty quickly.

    Also, given the state of the Fukushima Dai Ichi/Dai Ni reactors, I’d like to tell you now that if you die due to radiation I’m going to be very disappointed. If large black man outranks earthquake, he’d better outrank nuclear fallout too.

  75. DutchMeteor
    March 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Glad to hear u & your family are fine, Az…

    My thoughts go out to Japan, though…Horrible to see what happened almost live (I’m in HK).. Lets hope those reactors hold up as much as they can though..!

    Take care…

  76. vaidkun
    March 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    nuclear is in really bad shape… my wife.. my family..

    γ©γ†γ—γ‚ˆγ†.. εŠ©γ‘γ¦

  77. bridgecross
    March 15, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Good, stay safe! In my head I know that 99.2% of the population is doing fine, but it’s still good to hear.
    Interesting about the terrified toddler! It just illustrates how much environment shapes us as children. You may have been the first black man he ever saw. My young daughter is Japanese, but growing up here in the US. Rounding a corner and seeing a giant black man, or a giant man of any color, is no biggie of course! If a young child’s brain isn’t “programmed” through early experience to expect these differences, there’s gonna be a shock. But I wonder if it’s always fear? That would be depressing.

    • vaidkun
      March 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      doing fine? are you kidding japanese may be calm but stress build up slowly but steadily.. i know what i talk my family is in tokyo

      • bridgecross
        March 19, 2011 at 6:04 am

        You are right, I should not have said “fine.” I should have said “alive.” My family is in Kagawa-ken, so I know what you mean.

  78. Hardy
    March 16, 2011 at 3:17 am

    great news aZ . its just such a shame, japan is such a great country and for all this to happen its just devastating

    im glad your ok. as some of us who have been here since the dawn of az blog time. if you did start a donation drive im sure we would all help out

    good luck mate and keep safe

  79. DC
    March 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Hi Az. Glad to know you and your family are safe. Too bad Japan isn’t out of the woods yet. As of this writing, there have been 3 — oops, now 4 — explosions plus a fire at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Things are so desperate there are plans to drop water from helicopters. This is bound to have at least an indirect impact on you, with rolling blackouts and fuel shortages to come. It’s probably a good thing you don’t have to depend on a car to get you to work.

    But hey, here in the USA the majority thinks the world is about us. Otherwise, how else to explain this kind of reporting?

    Massive earthquake strikes Japan; thousands dead and missing. Let’s see what the Hollywood Stars have to say about this tragedy on Twitter!

    An 8.9 earthquake has stuck Japan, generating tsunami warnings around the Pacific Rim. Let’s interview these American tourist who just flew in from Tokyo. Let’s also get reactions from local residents who have friends/family in Japan.

    • Steven
      March 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm

      Kansai isn’t really getting impacted. Apparently some trains are cutting service slightly and people have bought up flashlights, but the rolling blackouts are only affecting Kanto. We should be safe, even from the nuclear business. The only thing that could change that is a brand new 8.0+ earthquake.

      • Josh
        March 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

        Well said.. thats why every night I look at this: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/00000000091.html

        Most of the earthquakes were getting now are from up north but they are shifting a bit south… ahh 😦

  80. Tootsiepop254
    March 18, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Glad you and the fam are safe!

  81. TheOtherJN
    March 18, 2011 at 3:05 am

    The people of Japan are still going through hell right now, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. The death toll is rising; the economy is plummeting; grief and distress are magnifying amongst the people; embitterment and fear (especially of recurrent aftershocks) are growing; the risk of nuclear meltdown and radiation are concerning; the logistics of aid-giving and infrastructural rebuilding are overwhelming.

    The horror is not nearly over yet. The longer this hell will last, the more the chances of distress will be inflicted on those not affected by the initial quake.

    • vaid
      March 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      ofcourse now its the hardest time…
      and if things goes this way.. nuclear accident level will rise to 7 same as chernobyl.. that effected many countries.. so not only japan is to worry.
      i asked my wife to run from tokyo but she said no.. :/

  82. Andre
    March 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Good to hear you’re safe. It seems it took an earthquake to shake you up a bit and get you to post!

    With that out of the way, praying for victims of a natural disaster is a little bit counter-intuitive. Not only because praying in its own right makes no sense (who is this guy in the sky?), but because if there were a God, he’d have been the one to make the earthquake in the first place, so praying to the same guy is a little silly.

  83. Ryan
    March 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    great to know that you are ok and injecting some much-needed comedy into the situation.

    i spent a lot of time in sendai and all my friends are there (all ok as of now) and im planning to go back as soon as possible. from what i hear its a mess up there. good thing you were in the right place at the right time

  84. March 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Great to hear that you’re fine man! All the best and greetz from Vienna, Austria!

  85. americanInEurope
    March 19, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Glad to hear everything is ok with you and your new family. Kansai just seems to be the place to be, unless you were in Kobe right around 1995 or so.

    Regarding the kid, I experienced that almost daily living in Japan. Elevators are the worst, because you can feel the tension they have for being so close to a black man, you just want to make a joke or something to alleviate the pressure they must feel. It’s an unfortunate reality of living in Japan. The best you can do is wear a suit everyday and get confused for the Softbank guy lol πŸ˜‰

  86. James
    March 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Glad to see your safe and sound hopefully the radiation doesn’t effect you

  87. ShibuyaCakes
    March 21, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Azreal, you’re very welcome! I also donated to Mercy Corp. which goes directly to Japan and the ones that were affected! Also they have won a lot of accolades and awards for their work! Unlike Red Cross, whom in the past has been charged with money embezzlement and the CEO makes close to $500,000 a year. Don’t donate to NO RELIEF CROSS

  88. Josh
    March 21, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Wow, I mailed you a lonnnnnng time ago about some minor stuff (maybe me asking why you’re smashing so much?!?!) anyway it’s good to see that you still are writing a lot of stuff down. The stuff that you wrote back then still irks me a bit but the difference in your writing (well the content and all that) is great to read. I’m married and living in Tokyo with a kid on the way. My wife has some complications and is in an ICU and was there during the earthquake. Things should be fine in Kansai I’m guessing anyway. We were lacking food in Tokyo for a bit but things are (almost) back to normal now.

    Anyway I just wanna say, hang in there and keep writing! I kinda get what you’re saying about the kid (I’m white and I don’t get called scary.. I do get called a monster though!). It’s all water off a ducks back right? Take it easy and skywish for nippon.

    • Josh
      March 21, 2011 at 9:10 am

      p.s – I cant reply to your latest post for some reason but anyway would you be able to leave those links to the blog that your wife looked up? I took some time off work and need to figure stuff out…

      • Josh
        March 21, 2011 at 9:12 am

        … the hell that doesnt even make sense???!?!

        I need to find something to do with my time (besides daily hospital visits). I wanna do something directly for the people up North. (you can delete these two posts if you wanna.. because… I cant ;( )

  89. Joshua Navarro
    March 22, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Good to hear you are safe. I have a question regarding the make a donation button to the right of the page. I’d like to donate some money to the disaster relief. In your most recent post, you said you would use the bank account you have there to transfer funds directly to the various organizations set up to provide disaster relief. If I were to use that button, would that money go towards your own needs or to that bank account?

    • March 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      The money goes into my account, but I am taking everything that goes into that account and transferring it to disaster relief funds.

      • Joshua Navarro
        March 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm

        Alright good to hear. Just donated $50. GL with everything!

  90. Colton
    April 10, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Decided before I got my job that I’d donate $100 of my first paycheck to disaster relief for Japan. This kinda sucks for me in that it means I’ll be entirely broke for another two weeks (the other $160 went to paying a traffic ticket :/), but I’d like to help in any way that I can. Any suggestions as to which charity I should donate to? I’m guessing (the American) Red Cross, but any advice here would be great.

    • Colton
      April 10, 2011 at 5:44 pm

      On second thought, upon reading a few of these comments, my default donation will probably be Mercy Corps, I guess. Will research into it a bit on my own time, but advice would be greatly appreciated.

  91. April 15, 2011 at 9:44 am

    If you want to talk with other fans of Az’s work, come join us at the official forums (hosted on OP9): http://outpostnine.com/forum/index.php

    One post…and you’ll love it. Or be scared away.


  92. Blayne Bradley
    April 18, 2011 at 5:49 am

    And now I am completely caught up in reading all of Gaijin Smash, Chronicles and Japanese School Teacher, I am sad now.

  93. Blayne Bradley
    April 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    screen name at OP9 is Raenir Salazar.

  94. April 26, 2011 at 2:38 am


    We are currently in the process of (hopefully) approving new members now.

    There are currently 45,059 people waiting approval.

    HOWEVER, rather than just waiting for us to get around to you…

    If you want to join, you have two avenues to get approved MUCH quicker:

    1) Post your user name up on Az’s blog in the comment section for this story.

    2) Email your user name to:

    outpostnine (at) yahoo [dot] com

    The admins will have access to this email account, and it’ll allow us to “cherry pick” you out quicker.

    Thank you.

  95. Blayne Bradley
    April 26, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Sad Face, you guys don’t have the proper privileges yet 😦

  96. Cameron
    May 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Glad you are okay AZ and things worked out. I actually have a question about the forums. Not sure if there is anything you can do about this, but the avatar functions on the forum are disabled and/or not working. We’re all stuck with the same avatar settings. I was wondering if this issue could be resolved. Hopefully so. Thanks in advance. Hopefully the forums get busy like the way they used to be.

  97. Darrel
    May 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Wasn’t too bad in Tokyo, heard a couple people died though.

  98. Nights (OP9 Admin)
    May 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    @ Cameron

    The problems with the avatars is a known issue, and we are hoping that Az can fix it as soon as possible! 😦

    And I hope the forums will get busy again too…

    If you want to join, email us at outpostnine (at) yahoo [dot) com with your user name and we will try to get you set up.

  99. Radomir
    November 11, 2011 at 7:30 am

    I can not explain feelings your blog (life story) caused in me. What started as something to kill time in bus,became a match to best books i read in my life. Big love from Serbia. Best wishes Azrael.

  1. March 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

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