AsiaJapanOsaka

Unexpected Delay in Osaka, Japan with 6.7 and 7.2 Earthquakes, Tsunami and Typhoons

Osaka Travel Blog

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Arriving overhead Osaka, Japan.

Jenny and I were returning from a trip to Hawaii (including our Safari Helicopter ride out of Hilo over the active volcano) but when we landed in Osaka to change planes to get to Okinawa, we were told there was yet another typhoon hitting Okinawa so we had to spend the night in Osaka.  That very night we felt a few tremblers, but since we were standing over the train station we ignored them.  Well, after dinner we went back up to the 11th floor of our $100 USD per night "room" (which was more like a office cubical with a bathroom as big as the bed) when the first earthquake (Oki-gi-shen in Japanese?) at 6.7 magnitude hit.  The tall buildings in Japan are all built on special rollers just for earthquakes, so the walls started moving a good 10-15 feet sideways!  Talk about scarry!  Jenny asked where would we meet up in this city we were visitng for the first time ever (unexpectedly) if the building collapsed and we made it out alive.

Umeda Sky Building, 40-story towers and a suspended ring obsrvatory--yes, we went up there after two huge earthquakes!
  The building shook violently for about 2 mintues.

Just a few minutes later we got hit by the bigger 7.2 magnitude quake.  The shaking got the room moving again over 15 feet (4.5 meters) sideways this time!  After the big one, I called the front desk to see if there was anything we needed to do.  They were very calm and told us the elevators were out but the hotel (and the entire city) did not lose power.  We eneded up having to climb down all 11 floors to get out of the building the next morning and we had to contend with all the aftershocks which lasted a couple of days (2-4 magnitude).

That same night we turned on the TV to see the damage (no channels in English which was disconcerting, but you could get a sense of how big the quake was) and the screen changed from earthquake coverage to a map of the entire country of Japan with big flashing yellow and red coastlines.

Umeda Sky Building, 40-story towers and a suspended ring obsrvatory--yes, we went up there after two huge earthquakes!
  I thought, oh, a tsunami warning--but where is Osaka exactly on the big flashing map?  Everything was in Kanji and I could make out Tokyo Bay, but where are we?  The next morning we read an English newspaper that said there had been a 2.5 meter tsunami wave that sank 22 ships in Osaka Harbor!  But we never saw any of the waves--we were too far inland I guess.  But what about Osaka's Kansai Airport?  That place is built on a landfill runway in the middle of Osaka Harbor!  But I guess it was doing OK since we were able to get a bus back out to the airport.

Unfortunately, when we got to the Osaka Kansai Airport to fly on to Okinawa, there were no more seats on any of the planes and the typhoon was heading north toward Osaka.  We checked back into the same hotel and had to wait a total of 5 days to get back to Okinawa due to the typhoon hitting Okinawa and then Osaka.

View of our hotel from the Umeda Sky Building, 40-story suspended ring obsrvatory--yes, we went up there after two huge earthquakes!
  We did get to visit the 40-story Umeda Sky Building (梅�"�スカイ��"ル Umeda Sukai Biru) during our delay since we could see it from our hotel room.  I still can't believe we went up to that observatory ring suspended 40-stories above the earth the day after those huge earthquakes--including after-shocks!

The real kicker for me personally about the whole thing was that I had travelled on business with the military from Okinawa to Hawaii for a meeting before Jenny and I travelled to the Big Island.  When I finally got back to Okinawa to file my business travel voucher, I was told the U.

View from the Umeda Sky Building, 40-story suspended ring obsrvatory--yes, we went up there after two huge earthquakes!
S. Government does not pay for "acts of God" so we had to personally foot the bill ($1,500 USD including per diem/food expenses and hotel for just myself) out-of-pocket and then the military charged me another 5 days of leave because "you stopped in Osaka for your own convenience"!   Ouch!  Lesson learned--always take leave in conjuction with business before your duty time if you can.  Then "acts of God" will not cost you more in the end.

shirlan says:
It almost sounds like you are a magnet for earthquakes and tornadoes. Haha
Posted on: Jun 01, 2008
Sweetski says:
Wow, quite a story. Glad those Japanese engineers know what they are doing :)
Posted on: Jun 01, 2008
missandrea81 says:
Survived earthquake, check! ;)
Posted on: Jun 01, 2008
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Arriving overhead Osaka, Japan.
Arriving overhead Osaka, Japan.
Umeda Sky Building, 40-story tower…
Umeda Sky Building, 40-story towe…
Umeda Sky Building, 40-story tower…
Umeda Sky Building, 40-story towe…
View of our hotel from the Umeda S…
View of our hotel from the Umeda …
View from the Umeda Sky Building, …
View from the Umeda Sky Building,…
View from the Umeda Sky Building, …
View from the Umeda Sky Building,…
View from the Umeda Sky Building, …
View from the Umeda Sky Building,…
View from the Umeda Sky Building, …
View from the Umeda Sky Building,…
Jenny with view from the Umeda Sky…
Jenny with view from the Umeda Sk…
Jenny and Jeff with view from the …
Jenny and Jeff with view from the…
Umeda Sky Building at sunset, 40-s…
Umeda Sky Building at sunset, 40-…
Osaka train station from our hotel…
Osaka train station from our hote…
Umeda Sky Building at sunset, 40-s…
Umeda Sky Building at sunset, 40-…
Umeda Sky Building, 40-story tower…
Umeda Sky Building, 40-story towe…
Osaka train station from our hotel…
Osaka train station from our hote…
Jenny visits 1 of 12 Berlitz Langu…
Jenny visits 1 of 12 Berlitz Lang…
Jenny visits 1 of 12 Berlitz Langu…
Jenny visits 1 of 12 Berlitz Lang…
Umeda Sky Building, 40-story tower…
Umeda Sky Building, 40-story towe…
Umeda Sky Building, 40-story tower…
Umeda Sky Building, 40-story towe…
Osaka
photo by: yasuyo