No matter how your setting is on your mobile phone (at least on most newer mobile phones) the sound of the loud and shrill “ring, ring, ring, ring” message pushes your adrenaline flow to the maximum. Automatically now I check my mobile phone for the early warning message about which prefecture in Japan just had an earthquake and my mind is fully alert for the search of a safe spot. The origin of the quake and the distance to my own location gives me an idea on how soon I have to be ready. Although not all the time when the warning system goes off a stronger earthquake is felt and I might experience some unnecessary stress, still I am truly very grateful for the warning system.
It seems that Japan has spent loads of money in the past 15 years into building an earthquake early-warning system. The set up is with a network of seismometers across the country. When a seismometer detects the initial shockwave of an earthquake, computers quickly calculate how powerful the second wave could be and if it meets a certain threshold, an alarm is sounded. Televisions, radios and newer cell phones all get the same message within seconds.
To be honest I hate this sound, because I even unconsciously know something potentially bad is going to have very, very soon. For sure I am fully alert and active for what might come. As soon as I can feel the ground shaking I am grateful and amazed about the technology. So when after a few seconds nothing really happens, instead of complaining I remind myself that I prefer to be pushed too many times into panic mood over nothing, then being completely unaware like on March 11th (received the message hours later due to mobile network breakdown). On the other hand, for sure I had a big smile today on my face when the alarm went off, because I just had left an elevator on the way down.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)