I lived in Saitama, which is right next to Tokyo. If I understood all the explanations about earthquakes correctly, there are no fault lines where I was living but there were some all around us...which means we felt all the quakes in the area. If it happened north of us, areas south of us might feel it a little bit or not at all. If it happened south of us, areas north of us might not feel much of the effects if at all...you get the picture.
I think I became pretty fascinated with them. As did most of us who had no experience with them back home. Within seconds of feeling one, the texts between us were flying around fast and furious.
And being the graceful, poised person that I am, I always handled my earthquake experiences with ease.
Like the very first time I felt one while I was completely alone. It was about 3am and I was wide awake with a miserable cold; coughing and hacking so hard that sleep was just not going to be happening. I was laying on my belly, praying for sleep when suddenly, there was a bit of vibration. Then my whole apartment was shaking back and forth. Now, you need to understand that my bed was in a loft. I had to climb up a ladder to the loft...in other words, I slept on a shelf. A big solid shelf way up in the air. And when my world was shaking back and forth, I felt a fear so pure and so instinctual, all logical thought left my brain. I managed to raise myself up as far as being on my hands and knees and I wasn't fast enough to beat the ice that rushed through my veins and froze me in place. I just stayed there...on my shelf...on all fours...at 3am...and screamed. All I could think was about how impossible it looked to get down my ladder. I was later cheerfully informed by a coworker, "Don't worry, if it was that bad, it would throw you out of your loft. You wouldn't have to worry about climbing down the ladder." Awesome. That was good to know.
So as you can see, I was clearly the picture of level-headedness and calm confidence in the face of new situations. Fortunately for me, I had not lived in Japan when an extreme quake hit. What I experienced was really nothing. And that suits me just fine!