Tom Fitzgerald recently left the IT department at W+K London and moved to W+K's Tokyo office. He picked an interesting time to arrive in Tokyo. Here's a post from him about his experiences.
Living with earthquakes
Texting your boss to say you’re going to be late to work because of an earthquake isn't something I thought I'd ever have to do. In the last five weeks I've sent that text twice.
As ridiculous as this might sound the truth is when I packed up my life and moved to Japan I didn’t realise my new home had an earthquake problem, it just slipped my mind. I've been living just outside the Tokyo area for almost 2 months now. I was here for the big earthquake on the 11th of March and for all the others since then. They range in magnitude, duration and where I happen to be at the time. They creep up on me, and when they start I am usually sitting at my desk trying to decide do I sit and 'wait it out' or make it for the nearest exit.
Video above recorded on Tom's laptop as he makes an emergency exit.
The first thing my new boss said to me about earthquakes occurring at work is, "When it starts, open the room door, so if it gets worse you have your escape route planned and ready." Planned it is, all staff here at W+K Tokyo have an emergency backpack filled with life saving items such as hardhats, flash lights, ropes and so on. Mine sits under the desk at my feet, problem is when a big shake occurs I race out the room and forget to take it with me; I need to work on that.
I currently live in a traditional Japanese house complete with wooden frame sliding doors. During a morning earthquake the rattling noise they make feels louder then a heavy metal concert – it's like an alarm clock with no optional snooze feature – gets me out of bed very quickly though.
The Fear aspect is a funny thing; my first few weeks in Tokyo were scary when they happened. Even after a big shake stops and I head back to my desk the adrenalin stays pumping for a while, all ready to help me run out the room again. Lately I am more used to it and act in a less panicky matter, while at the same time looking around for the nearest door or window – in other words, I'm getting pretty good at running out of rooms.
For all the earthquakes and concerns that I have for my new home they quickly disappear working in a city as exciting and unfamiliar as Tokyo. The country's collective strength and passion to rebuild the damage caused and move forward is awe inspiring to a fish out of water like me. The earthquakes will always be here but as long as the local supermarket produce continues to confuse and distract me – I'll be just fine.
If you want to contribute to the Japan relief fund, you can still buy W+K's poster here.