We would like to express our heartfelt sympathy to the victims of the Noto Peninsula Earthquake of 2024.
From a very happy day for Japan, January 1, something sad has happened.
It was the Noto Peninsula earthquake.
In fact, I was on the Noto Peninsula at the time.Yes, I experienced an earthquake of intensity 7.
Today, I would like to reflect on the day. I feel more at ease by putting it into words like this, and above all, because I want everyone to get to know the region of Noto.
*This is going to be an earthquake story, so if you are not a fan, please stop looking.
To visit Myoseiji Temple in Hakui, Noto
On January 1, we went to visit a temple called Myoseiji.In Japan, there is a culture called “Hatsumoude,” or the custom of going to God or Buddha to pray at the beginning of the year.
This is Myoseiji Temple. It is very cool.
It is a magnificent temple with a five-story pagoda and ten other nationally important cultural properties.
We also drew fortunes(Japanese say Omikuji) here.
Perhaps because it was New Year’s, there were food stalls. I bought some amazake (sweet sake) and sweets called obanyaki.
Here, kimono called “Hanayome Noren(brides’ curtains)” were hung.It is a custom in this area for women who are going to marry to bring this kimono to the place where they are to be married.
Running along the sea at Tatsuruhama Wild Bird Park
Afternoon, we then parked at a place called Tatsuruhama Bird Park.
It faces Nanao West Bay, a treasure trove of wild birds, and is very scenic. Here, I decided to go for a run with a view of the ocean.
I enjoyed running slowly and taking pictures.There were also wild birds.
The Noto region has many rice fields. I love the rice here, it is really delicious. The scenery is also very beautiful.
And just after this came the earthquake.First came the alert on my smart phone, followed by a light shaking.
I looked at my smartphone in a panic and saw that an earthquake had occurred in the area of Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture.
Pearl Island is often hit by earthquakes, so I was just thinking, “Oh, it happened again”.
And shortly after, at 4:10 p.m. The alert on my smartphone went off again.And this time, immediately, there was a tremor like nothing I had ever experienced before.
From the ground, it sounds as if a warbling sound is coming from the ground.I could barely stand up.
I looked down the road and saw a crack. The path I had been walking on had been easily broken.
As soon as the shaking stopped, I heard a community announcement and was told to evacuate to higher ground because a tsunami was coming.
But we were in the middle of a run, so we left our car 1.5 km away.I managed to run back, but I was filled with the feeling of what to do if a tsunami hit in the middle of it.
By the time I got to my car, there were cracks all over the road. Some of the bridges were broken and inaccessible by car.
This was taken a few days after the earthquake. Can you see that the bridge in the back has been destroyed?
We got into the car and evacuated to higher ground for the time being. However, even as we were evacuating, aftershocks kept coming again and again.I got scared every time my smart phone alert went off.
After settling down a bit, we returned to the relative’s house where we were staying. I wanted to make sure my family was safe.
There was a large piece of furniture in the house, but fortunately the furniture did not fall over and only a plate inside was broken.
I talked to a relative who told me that some years ago they installed anti-earthquake goods to prevent the shelves from falling down.
The house was safe, but then aftershocks came again and again, so we decided to stay outside the house.This is because we have not yet confirmed that the house will never collapse, and we do not know if it will be able to withstand a major earthquake like the one that just hit.
It was getting cold and the electricity and water were out due to the earthquake.We got in the car and decided to have dinner.
In Japan, there is a custom of eating “Osechi” on January 1; Osechi is made and prepared several days in advance.
Because of this “Osechi”, I had no trouble finding a meal that day.
As it was getting dark at night, we decided to go to the shelter.The shelters are also dark, with no electricity or water.
However, a kerosene stove was placed there, so I spent the night there with about 30 other evacuees.
The second day after the earthquake – Knowing that it was a major disaster
In fact, on the first day, the Internet did not connect very well and we did not receive much information.
On the second day, the Internet was connected a bit and I learned about the situation again on the TV in the car.
First, I learned about the fire in Wajima. In Wajima, there was a market called “Asaichi,” which is a traditional market that has been going on for a long time. It was a real shock to hear that this market had been destroyed by fire.
Then there is Suzu City. I have been there several times. Suzu is famous for its salt, and it is really good salt.I also read that there was a tsunami in the area of Suzu, which was very heartbreaking.
We drove around to see what was going on around us.
The ground is cracking here and there.
The pharmacy was OPEN, so I went in for food and drink.
Inside, the earthquake has caused a great deal of trouble. However, the store was open even under such circumstances, which was appreciated by consumers.
Where I drove a little further, the sidewalk was broken like this.I felt that the earthquake really affected a wide area.
I want to convey the charm of Noto.
The second day was spent in a different shelter. There was electricity and light.
In addition, a community member handed me a stove, saying, “It’s cold, use this stove I brought from home”.
I always think that everyone who lives in Noto is really kind.
An old saying goes, “能登はやさしや土までも(Noto ha yasashiya tsuchi madeomo)”.
It represents the agricultural climate that is gentle not only to people but also to the soil, and at the same time, it means that the people of Noto are simple and warm.
That is why it is so sad and painful that we have been hit by such an earthquake.But despite this, the people of Noto are warm and welcoming.
And most of all, I love Noto’s food. The rice and vegetables are really delicious.Whenever I visit Noto, I always end up buying many souvenirs.
There are two things I would like to ask of you.First, I would like to ask you all to get to know the Noto region.It is not the impression of an area where there was an earthquake, but the warmth of the people there, the landscape created by the people there, and the crops.
And second, if you see something from Noto somewhere, I hope you will buy it and support it.The people of Noto are trying to revive their beloved region once again. We hope you will support them in their efforts to bring back the warmth of the landscape once again.
In my next blog, I will show you what souvenirs I bought.