20210117 It’s that memorial day

It’s January 17th.
I wonder how many people remember 26 years ago (1995) today just before 5:47AM.
The great earthquake that shook all of Kansai area to devastation.

It was in 1994 December, when I was in the development team of controllers when I was still working for Minolta Camera (now Konica-Minolta) and was stationed (long business trip called “Choki Shuccho”) in Kobe.
Most of our work was done in Kobe and we (my colleagues and I) were to transfer to Toyokawa, Aichi in January, so we did.

Minolta had few development centers for OA equipments.
Toyokawa was the main, Atsugi (Kanagawa), and Kobe.
I was going back and forth of these 3 places.
In January, I was in Toyokawa since the manufacturing plant was there.

Somehow, I wake up before disasters or alarms.
I have that 6th sense that warms me.
I woke up about 5:45 that morning.
Then about a minute or so, I heard a roaring sound in the ground.
I knew something bad was coming and was about to jump out of my bed.
Then about 10 seconds later or so, it shook!
Luckily, when I was in Toyokawa (about 300Km away from Kobe), it was about a scale of 3 in scesmic intensity scale of Japan.


When I went to have my breakfast, the news on the TV did not say much except there was a huge quake in Osaka area.
In the late afternoon, I found out what really went on.

That day, Kobe development team could not be caught.
All lifelines were cut off.
Didn’t know if they were safe or not.

In that quake, there were over 5000 people that died.
Non-Fatal casualties, probably 10 times or even 20 times more.
My wife’s house (I wasn’t married back then) warped.
Many were left homeless since it devastated the whole area.
It was snowing and many froze.
Houses with “blue sheet” to cover holes and cracks on the roof were everywhere.
The government asked the undertaker federation (not a labor union) to dispatch workers to help.
BTW, the government asked us with the Great East Japan Earthquake on 3.11 as well.
Many of us went to pick up bodies and place them in the coffin.

We have to be reminded that we are vulnerable to natural disasters.
No matter how technology evolves and enhances, we are still vulnerable.
The worst part of that year was the Aum Shinrikyo religous cult that sprayed sarin gas in Tokyo subways.

I am an undertaker that have seen many end of life situations.
Once alive, we are marching toward death every second.
That includes myself as well, without saying.

Rest In Peace for all thouse who have parished.