More about the Kyushu earthquakes

What do you like to do while riding in a train?  Look out the window?  Read?

I like to do both.

Recently I took a train ride, so I read about the recent earthquake damage in Kyushu in the children’s newspaper. (Kodomo Asahi Shinbun)


This says that over forty people were killed.  (This number may be higher now.  I’m not sure.)



This article says the bullet train derailed during one of the earthquakes (presumably the first large one.)  Nobody was killed, fortunately, and I have since heard on the television news that the bullet train is now running properly again.


This explains the main plates.  As you can see in the illustration of Japan, there are four plates moving in different directions.

Underneath that illustration, there is a graph which tells the major earthquakes in Japan in recent years.  I’ll explain the graph:

1995  Magnitude 7.3  Kobe:  You probably weren’t born yet, but in 1995, there was a major earthquake in the area of Kobe City.  Lots of people were killed.

2004  Magnitude 6.8 Niigata:  Then in 2004, there was a strong earthquake in the Niigata Prefecture area.

2011 Magnitude 9.0  Tohoku:  You probably remember the next one:  In 2011, there was a huge earthquake off the coast of Japan which resulted in a devastating tsunami.

2016  Magnitude 6.5  Kyushu:  And then finally, the recent earthquakes in Kyushu.  They actually had two major earthquakes.  The second was more than Magnitude 7, I believe.

Do you live in an area with earthquakes?  It’s scary, isn’t it.

All Japanese live with the knowledge that there is a possibility of an earthquake at any time.   They combat their fears by preparation:  strong buildings and other structures, emergency supplies, drills, emergency plans, and so on.    They want to be prepared when the next one hits.

And then also in Japan,  there is a bit of “Shikata ga nai…..”  That means “It can’t be helped….”

Whatever will happen—–will happen.

Kyushu Earthquakes

We all know that a major earthquake happened here in northern Japan five years ago.  Now the other end of Japan is getting a beating!

A major earthquake struck on Thursday evening on April 14th, 2016 in the southern part of Japan.   Its epicenter was in Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu.   And since then poor Kyushu has been getting battered by earthquakes.

This illustration shows the island of Kyushu.


Yep, that’s it.


This is all of Japan.  Kyushu is that purple part in the southwest region.

Not only did they suffer that first major earthquake, but they have been reeling from aftershocks in Kyushu, and have had more major earthquakes.

We also had many aftershocks after our Tohoku earthquakes.  At the beginning there was one every few minutes.   I could hear the vibrations before they arrived, they were so strong.  They sounded like a train.  I would say to my husband, “Earthquake coming!  I can hear it.”   And then the house would shake.

The earthquakes that were aftershocks of 3/11 lasted more than a year, getting less and less frequent.  It’s hard to know when they finally petered out, but I think it was about two or three years later.   So poor people of Kyushu!   I know what they are going through.

Even poor Kumamoto castle has collapsed partially!  People have been killed, roads have been destroyed, and in general its just a tough time down there.

(And then meanwhile, if that wasn’t enough, poor Ecuador across the Pacific Ocean also is stricken by its own major earthquake!)

Poor Ecuador!

Poor Kyushu!

Let’s remember people in need all over the world.



The free illustrations come from  Thank you so much, irasutoya.  I couldn’t have illustrated this post without you.





Hanami in central Fukushima City


It is “hanami” season here in northern Japan.  Hanami is when the cherry blossoms are blooming.  So let’s go to our local park and look around.


Do you have cherry blossom trees where you live?  In Japan, they make people want to party!


Oh, and now we are at the public library.  How did we end up there?  Well, we might as well read while we are here.


Books about cherry blossoms!

Cherry blossom viewing is a very old tradition in Japan.  It’s a deep part of  Japanese culture.

After the earthquake in March of 2011, not as many people wanted to view the cherry blossoms in Fukushima.  But they still bloomed.  Year after year, in good times, in bad times…  Springtime will always be the season of cherry blossoms in Japan!

“World Masterpieces Theater” from Nippon Animation

Our kids’ museum here in Fukushima City had a fun exhibit!  It was an exhibit of movies  of “World Masterpieces Theater” from Nippon Animation!


“What????”  (You are probably saying.)  “I only know of Ghibli!  You mean there is ANOTHER great Japanese animation studio?”

There sure is!  The focus of this particular studio is remakes of western classic books.  So no geisha in these movies!  No samurai!  No ninja, either!

These Japanese movies have never been translated to English (as far as I am aware) so that may be why, if you have never seen them before.   However, they are extremely famous in Japan.

Let’s see if you are familiar with the stories in some of the movies!


An American book with a racoon….hmmmmm.  The story line is that an American boy finds a racoon that he takes care of.

Never heard of it?  It’s so famous in Japan!

Rascal by Sterling North


This is an Italian classic book.  No, I had never heard of it, either!

It is called Cuore.  I think that means “heart.”

It is by Edmondo de Amicis.




If you are Canadian, this one is easy!

She’s a redheaded orphan named Anne of Green Gables.

This very famous book is by L.M.Montgomery.


An American classic about a mischievous boy and his even more mischievous pal named Huck Finn.

That’s right!  It’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.


This story will make you cry.  It’s set in Belgium.

It’s A Dog of Flanders by Ouida.




Another photo of the dog of Flanders and his boy.  Oh, I need a hankie just thinking about this book!


DVD’s of the movies.


Yeah, Rascal is a big deal in Japan!


Our library had a special exhibit of the books from the World Masterpieces Theater.

You may be wondering:  Do Japanese people know western classics?

Yes, they do.  I am a library volunteer, and trust me when I say that the western classics (and many other books besides) have been translated into Japanese.

Just like in America, some people sit down and read these books, and some people don’t actually read them–but do have a passing familiarity with the stories in the books.

And of course, they are included in school as great works to study.

So there you have it!

Let’s read great books from literature from now on!  Okay?