Several students have asked me to write about my experience, so they can see the English used for describing this event.
"I woke up suddenly, to feel the bedroom and whole house shaking much more than I have ever experienced.
My partner and I ran to the living room to switch on the TV...one cat ran off the bed and jumped outside the window...the other cat was already out (came home again 2 hours later).
We watched TV and were shocked to see such a large quake and so near Sapporo.
In our living room some picture frames and plant pots had fallen down. But luckily there was no broken glass.
Then the electricity stopped. Strange silence outside - a few neighbors came into the street. Next to my house is the above-ground Namboku subway line - the tunnel had emergency lights...that was the only light.
We had a flash light and we had our smart phones.
We tried to go back to bed...but of course the aftershocks continued and we were busy online - Facebook and e mail - contacting friends.
In daylight we checked the house and garden - and our elderly neighbor. She knew there had been an earthquake - but didn't understand why she had no electricity. She only has a house phone, so we called her son on our smart phone.
We also put water in many bottles - because online friends said the water supply may be cut.
NHK Culture Center in Tokyo telephoned me to tell me my Thursday class was cancelled. Sapporo staff could not contact teachers. My partner's work also was cancelled.
We walked in the neighborhood and saw people buying tissue paper/toilet paper and diapers from open shops. It was strange to see no traffic signals!
Back home we monitored the situation on our smartphones - and I charged the battery with my car. Then I drove to a friend's home to help her charge HER phone.
And I went to my mother-in-law's care home near Susukino. It is a 12 F block. Of course, no electricity - so I climbed to the 10th floor :-) They had water, but no power - but the staff were all there and the old people were fine...a little confused because there was no TV.
And at home? We decided to eat the sirloin steak in our freezer - our cooking at home is electric-powered - so we didn't want the meat to spoil and go to waste. So - the afternoon of the earthquake - we are in the garden with steak and beer, in the sunshine....
We got power back about 6pm. Very lucky. So many friends and students waited for days to get power, or water. My earthquake experience was much more relaxed.
I waited only 20 minutes for gasoline. I bought milk on Monday. At home I really had enough food. Our home stay guest arrived a day late. Friends in other countries heard the news and sent many messages. Imagine student on Friday came and charged her phone - Imagine classroom itself had NO damage...even the origami flowers didn't fall down.
It was a big quake. The biggest I have ever experienced. And I was so tired and stressed all weekend - I had very painful back ache. I think it was worse because Hokkaido had the typhoon on the Wednesday night, so no sleep, and then Thursday was the quake.
So strange to see Hokkaido and Sapporo in the news. But I am annoyed that the media says "many streets in Sapporo are damaged"...it isn't true. "Many"???? Not even "many" in Kiyota-ward. "Some" or "a few"...many foreigners are worrying about if they should cancel their holiday here. I worry about Hokkaido tourism.
I hope YOU are ok! Please come and tell me your earthquake experience. Yesterday at NHK Tuesday classes, I was amazed that students had prepared their usual homework and were ready to talk in English about this week's events.
Hokkaido people? Very strong!!!!