Devastation in Hachinohe, where I spent a great deal of my youth.

A massive earthquake of 8.8/8.9, depending on the source, has struck Japan.  To my knowledge, this is the largest earthquake ever measured in Japan, and among the largest world-wide in over 100 years.

I’m sitting here on my couch, watching NHK (on TV Japan), scanning the internet, and praying for “無事だ” (I’m safe) messages from friends all over Japan.  My heart is in my throat.  In my 10 years in Japan, I never experienced anything like what they are going through right now.  If there is any saving grace, it is that the epicenter was off the coast.  Had it been on land…?

There aren’t just tsunami warnings.  There are “o-tsunami” (massive tsunami) warnings.  A tsunami is already massive.  I don’t even want to imagine how gigantic a tsunami has to be before they decide to call it “massive.”

Hundreds are dead.  Unknown hundreds, perhaps tens of thousands, are missing.  Relentless aftershocks.  So much destruction.  Floods.  Fires.  Collapsed buildings.  Gigantic ocean ships thrown about like toys.  Humans swept out to sea.

I’m starting to hear from some of my friends via internet messages that they are safe.  I hope to hear from everyone before this horrible day is through.

On a final note, I have contacted the U.S. Department of State and offered my services as an interpreter and translator.  On the very off chance that they should request my help, I will attempt to get a message out via Facebook and Twitter to let my family and friends know.

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