I Felt the Earth Move

wedding kimono Surviving an Earthquake

Here is my story of life in Japan surrounding the time of the earthquake. I share this to give you an idea of what things were like. I am grateful to so many people in my life who care about me and have sent messages of concern and prayers and good thoughts. Thank you. My apologies for not responding to each one personally, but it has taken me all this time to gather my wits and make sense of my experiences. So here goes….

On March 9, I was lamenting not being able to celebrate my birthday the way I wanted …my job was intense that day. I was finishing up my rotation with the military in Japan with no hint that two days later I would experience one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded.

As I huddled inside the door frame that Friday afternoon, March 11, I tried not to panic. Stationed just outside of Tokyo, I had just walked up the outside steps to the 2nd floor of a building on base. Immediately I was met by four women who were startled and shivering. “It’s an earthquake!” they shouted. I responded to myself with, “It’s OK, Jo, everything will be all right.” But I was trembling with fear.

It took a second and then I felt the scary, unnatural sensation of the building rocking and shaking. I HATE EARTHQUAKES. They frighten me. I always think the worst is going to happen.

I tried comforting myself by recalling that the building was reinforced, that Japan has strong earthquakes all the time, that this one couldn’t be that bad. As the building shook more violently, I thought, Oh no, I don’t like this, I want to get out of here, I don’t want this to happen. I fought the strong impulse to run outside. But where? I could see tall trees and buildings, light poles, telephone poles but no open spaces.

I felt confused and terrified and I didn’t exactly feel like waiting for the building to collapse down around me.

[Read more…]

Share hereFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFollow meFacebooktwitterpinterestinstagram

When Things Get Hard…

…A Lesson in Not Quitting!

I have never been someone to purposely do things the hard way.

In fact, most of the time I try to avoid anything that might be over the top hard. I like things easy. It doesn’t mean I don’t MAKE things hard for myself, but by nature, I’m pretty easy going.

Sometimes, it’s just easier to go along with whatever and sometimes, it’s not worth the fuss to go overboard and buck everything.

Lately I’ve been exploring where taking the easy approach might be a cover for something else.


Last night I was in my hot yoga class. The temperature was about 95 degrees with mat to mat people. It was so hot and I was tired. I wanted to get up and leave, I just wanted it to be over, I hated it. My legs hurt and I felt weak and when I heard the instructor say, “now come into Warrior Two” I wanted to scream. “I’m sick of Warrior One & Two. Don’t even go there for Warrior stupid Three.”

For those of you who are non yoga types, these are strong poses that you hold for various amounts of time, some longer than others. You build strength as you do the asanas,(poses) and the warrior ones are hard. Sometimes it takes years to master.

And it depends on how your body is that day, whether you’re tired, or if you had enough water intake, or in general what your stress level is.

And I went because:

  1. I know it’s good for me.
  2. I needed to let go of the stress of the week.
  3. The yoga instructors there are so damn good.
  4. I knew I’d feel great after the class.

[Read more…]

Share hereFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailFollow meFacebooktwitterpinterestinstagram
%d bloggers like this: