My Day ...the day the Earthquake happened...

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Friday, March 11, 2011

10:39 Today is changeover day again, I didnt sleep brilliantly last night, it was probably because i had tea before bed at 10! I packed up my things last night, forcing them into my brimming rucksack and watched some more desperate housewives before bed.
This morning I got up at 930 took a quick shower, put my tea in a plastic water bottle, that's how they come out of vending machines after all! Grabbed my yummy raisin butter rolls and got on the bus. First stop the golden temple- Kinkakuji Temple. Whilst riding the bus I got to impress everyone I think as an old guy with a stick got on and I gave up my seat for him. I saw from the corner of my eye a few people smile. I got another seat shortly after though which was good as it's quite a long bus ride! It started raining outside, but the sun is also trying to shine. Either way, I have waterproof jacket/trousers on and sunglasses...ready for anything.

10:54 Argh! Ive made a stupid mistake. I've come without my memory card for my camera. Unbelievable!!!! I have to go back for it now, do I ride the bus route ALL the way round, or look for a short cut...bugger bugger bugger.
Diaster averted! just as I realised this I saw a Panasonic shop and thought I'd have a look in...phew! I've bought a 2gb card. Cost 1800 but now I have a spare at least.

12:43 The golden temple was beautiful. Bright gold reflected in double on a pond in front with many islands in it. There were of course hundreds of people there, and there seemed to be far too many tourist shops at the end. The sun tried to come out, but not enough to dazzle us with.

The next place I've come to is Kitano-tenmangu Shrine. Here the blossoms are starting to come out. There are many shrines here for people to pray to. I just wish I understood what they were all for. There is a garden here that looks like it will be full of blossoms when the time is right, and would me a magical place to walk through, but it's still looking wintery, although there ate parts where it's really coming out in red and white  just inches from my head.

13:35 Next stop, the castle. It was quite interesting, you couldnt take any photos inside it, but the gardens were pretty and the decoration inside on the wood and paper walls was of trees and tigers and hawks. We had to take our shoes off to walk round inside and it was pretty chilly! Massive place, but no furniture giving it a sense of what it may have been like. 
It's 2.30 now. I'm pretty tired so going back to the hostel to have some lunch and then make my way to Osaka.
16:33 There has been chaos on the train lines, people seem different today, and I keep seeing news crews, and lots of people standing around tv's as something is burning somewhere and all are watching. I have no idea what it's about as I can't see for all the people, it's in japanese and I can't undestand or see anything. Right... off to find my hotel and fight through these crowds.
Trying to find my way to the hotel and asked a lady who helped me get a ticket as the machine had no button for English which she did. She then seemed to be going to the same platform so I followed her and her 2 friends, then we got Juso station and they all got off. We searched for the exit and she asked me where I was going, I told her the Plaza Osaka, they were too! So we walked through the rain and found the hotel together which was nice. It was raining pretty hard (which I'm dressed for) and they all went in a shop to buy brollies. By the time we came out it had stopped! Found the hotel and am on the 14th floor. Will go and check my mail.

19:10 everything makes sense...having gone down to the lobby to find some reception, I had an email from my best mate asking me to phone her immediately. Worried that something had happened at home, I called, only to find out that she was worried about me as I was clueless and just found out, from her that all this bother I've seen is due to a massive earthquake in Tokyo. I also had several more messages from people, and phoned my folks in Africa to let them know I'm fine. Also with all the bother going on in this small country in the middle of one of the worlds biggest earthquakes, my damn ex has to get in touch (not only with me, but with a friend AND my parents) and cause a personal earthquake and tsunami which is not helpful! 

20:00 I'm in my 14th floor hotel room and finally had a chance to put on the tv and see what's happening. Every single channel is showing news on the earthquake, including footage from inside buildings whilst it happened, smashed glass, destroyed roads, and the tsunami washing ships onto streets. I can't believe I was so oblivious to it all. The news readers are wearing hard hats in the studio which is slightly bizarre, and come to think of it, i saw a fair number of newscrews in stations today. It seemed to happen at 230 I understand, this was when I noted that I was going back to the hostel for lunch- so I was on the bus.
Just so you know, today and the next 2 days, I'm in Osaka, then back to Beijing.
My room has a great view over the city, I have a kitchen sink, fridge, hob ring and hot water canister in a cupboard, and a nice bathroom with a deep but short bath in I which I plan to take a soak in later. Oh and a double bed, fab!

PS - Anyone trying to send me a text or call me - My phone REFUSES to pick up a local network, so I am only contactable via the web. no idea why the effing thing won't work, but I guess it saves me money, and I wouldn't answer the phone anyway even if you did ring me! I occasionally get a network in China, so I might have a flood of texts then I suppose. 

PPS- Anyone actually curious to see my throat...go back to the entry and you'll be greeted by a larger than life photo of my throat. Taking this picture was challenging. You may be able to make out the yellowy spots on the back of my throat.

Best thing today - having a chat with my best mate and my mum! (all born from the worst thing although I would have called you soon anyway...I promise!)

Worst thing today - the worst earthquake and tsunami ever worst own earthquake and tsunami caused by a certain someone. Thanks for that.

Most beautiful thing - GOT to be the golden temple 
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Lizziekins on

Re your PPS - errr no thanks lol

Jo & Sarah on

So glad to hear you are ok, we text you but didn't hear anything back (straight away) so started to panic! We hope you enjoy the last couple of days in Japan and stay safe...and forget the past (i.e. that very stupid ex of yours) and look only to the bright future!!

lots of love, J & S xxx

Graham on

I'm so sorry to hear your phone didn't work reliably yesterday. That must have been an awful, awful experience. It's a real shame Japan can't get its act together -- a thousand people dying and nuclear reactors nearing meltdown are simply no reason for bad cell service. It's spoiling your vacation!

So relieved to hear you had a cushy double bed. Fab!

Von Adder on


Zoe was not aware of the earthquake, she made that perfectly clear from the start and has yet to amend her blog, yes it's a tragedy, yes it's sickening and yes shit like this with it!

Zoe is on an around the world trip on her own, she has her own huge problems, which i'm sure your not aware of. Can i ask you a question? do you have friends in Japan? i have, lots, and iv'e been desperately trying to contact them all since this horrendous disaster, all are accounted for bar one.
I know Zoe and nothing in her blog made feel like penning the sort of moronic sarcasm that you obviously took great delight in typing, Zoe will be doing her damned best to try and help out, but that's not easy when your on a tiny budget and a schedule and caught up in a natural obviously don't know Zoe, you obviously can't read properly either and your obviously a troll!.....Zoe can you not close this blog to the public?, there are a lot of retards out there!

Susanne on

Hi Zoe, I stumbled across your blog whilst Googling info on quake in Osaka as I have a work colleague there on holidays. I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading about your travels & I sincerely hope you do not close this blog to the general public. As I teach my children ignore idiots (such as Graham) and keeping posting your fabulous & very enviable trip details.
I noted you asked a few time for people to identify who they are so you know who is "following" you. I am (almost) a middle aged mum of 2 teenage daughters who lives in the Blue Mountains NSW, Australia. Loved reading your entire posts from start (sure beat doing the housework!!!), can't wait for your next update. Safe travels, you are certainly a courageous & inspirational young lady. Good on you for following your dreams.

Graham on

@Von Adder
Yes, I have many friends in Japan. Lived there for quite a while. And that's why I took offense. Especially at this:
"Worst thing today - the worst earthquake and tsunami ever worst own earthquake and tsunami caused by a certain someone. Thanks for that."

So the situation was known, but what was post-worthy was intermittent cell service, how cushy the bed was, or an interpersonal incident.

I'm not trolling and the intention isn't to ruin anyone's vacation, rather encourage compassion, self-reflection and more care in future posts. As you point out, this is a *public* blog -- I found it during a search for updates on the catastrophe. I certainly have not posted with delight -- sadness and a little anger, with a dash of hope that I might help a stranger avoid offending others in the future.

"Retard", huh? Classy! I'm not sure if you're the best judge of my reading ability though -- "you're" is misspelled three times in your post.

Lizziekins on

@Graham, go easy. If you read through the blog you'll realise intermittent phone signal seems to be the norm for Zoe wherever she's been so far (I only found out my friends were safe thanks to Facebook).

If I had been sleeping in dorms, or tightly packed trains I'd be ecstatic at the thought of a double bed to myself. Zoe certainly isn't trying to offend, whilst I appreciate the situation out there is sensitive, Zoe is only communicating to her family and friends that she is safe and well. Life unfortunately does go on when there's tragedy, and as she's nowhere near the epicentre I'm not really sure there's anything for her to say.

Holmesinho on

Context is everything. Zoe's followers know what she is going through and what lead up to her post which is written from a traveller's perspective in a country where she doesn't speak the language.
I know through a chance skype conversation that she had been oblivious to the effects of the earthquake though she had felt it and couldn't work out from the TVs what was going on and why everyone back home was concerned for her safety.
Zoe is one of the most compasionate friends I have the pleasure to know. As all of us who know her can vouch, she often loves to much rather than too little.
Take care Zoe and I look forward to the next update. N xx

Von Adder on


"I'm not trolling and the intention isn't to ruin anyone's vacation, rather encourage compassion, self-reflection and more care in future posts."

U culd ov just Sayd it likE that, insted ov been A sarky git.

Nurse! my pills, the spelling thing is happening again!

Clare on

So glad you're ok! x

Clare on

@ Holmesinho

Well said!

Brett on


I've known Zoe for a while now. Godmother to 1 of my boys, especially beautiful from the inside out and to be honest there aren't many people in this world that I have that view of. You know NOTHING about her, her moral fibre, her journey and yet you feel educated enough to cast your opinion. As has already been stated, Zoe was merely commenting on the fact that so many friends and relatives were desperate to hear from her and the phone service was affected by a natural disaster that she was UNAWARE had even taken place. Perhaps you seek recognition of your life by stirring up trouble on blogs or looking to get a reaction by casting misguided opinions. There is one thing above all others in life and that is RESPECT. Respect other peoples model of the world. I am truly saddened by the fact that in the wake of this disaster you took time out of your day to put negative comments on the blog of someone you know nothing about. Especially when you complain about how cynical someone is by being cynical yourself. I guess the irony of that is wasted on you.

Mrs Bloom on


This is not a 'Vacation', nor is it a holiday. Now go find some other part of cyberspace to irritate.

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