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This journal is written by Kuma (Felis catus) and Kuma's owner Y (homo sapiens). We have moved from Japan to Australia in 2011.

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2016-03-11 03:49   The day my life has changed

Y (Kuma's owner)

Five years ago today, I was in Japan. I was an Adobe Flash creator, mainly making online games, but I didn't have a job on that day and I was relaxing with my four cats without knowing what would happen. My husband was also at home and he was working.

It was before 3 p.m.; the massive earthquake struck us. I was in the living room and quickly held on to the water tank of tropical fish with my hands. The water splashed everywhere, my four cats lost countenance and walked around the living room. My house was shaking unbelievably. I hoped it would stop soon, but it didn't. I felt it lasted so long, and it was really long. It went on for more than 200 seconds. The time of shaking was 7 to 10 times longer than the Great Hanshin Earthquake and the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake.

I thought that that day might be the last day of my life.

After the shaking stopped, my husband turned on the TV and we were waiting for the latest news coming in. I checked around inside the house' the water tank lost some water but it was OK, and the fish looked scared. The living room floor was wet with sprinkled water from the tank. The books fell onto the floor, and the kitchen shelf doors were all locked automatically. (Japan has many earthquakes and some daily necessities have a special function corresponding to earthquakes. For example, heaters have to have the function that extinguishes the flame when earthquakes occur. This is decided by law.)

I could see the people on TV were all in utter confusion. All the TV stations changed their program to the news. After a while, I realised what happened. The epicentre was offshore of Fukushima Pref. I sent some text to my friends and made sure they were all right. Then I went outside. There were neighbors on the street. They found that there was a gap of about 1 to 2 cm between the boundary of the public street and our sites which were flat before the earthquake. Unbelievably, the massive energy made the ground rise up. We lived roughly about 400 km from the epicentre. If we lived near the epicentre how much damage would we get?

I went back to the living room to hear about the damage on the TV. I don't remember when I heard the news about the Fukushima nuclear reactors. I just remember that I thought the awful thing had started. We had a guideline book for nuclear accidents and we knew what to do. We stopped the ventilator and closed all the windows. Sometimes, we talked with our neighbor about the direction of the wind because we thought that winds might contain radio activity.

As time passed, people knew the details of damages including the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. That news of the nuclear reactor left us uneasy, very uneasy. That was not only the news that made us feel uneasy, we saw the scene of the damage to the town in Fukushima. It was an awful disaster. Many people died, and of course domestic animals and wild animals died as well. The beautiful scenery has gone and almost everything around Fukushima was devastated. It was very sad.

I suddenly recalled the memory that I had read "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery when I was small. There was a phrase ""The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched." This story tells something good or beautiful, but I thought the opposite. The most dangerous things cannot be seen, touched, tasted or smelt. You know what I mean. I was worrying about cesium, strontium, plutonium and so on. We didn't know what was going on inside the reactor, and five years past, we still don't know what is going on now accurately.

Pandora's box has opened.

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