A strong earthquake took place around north Eastern Japan in the afternoon of March 11th. The first round of damage came from shaking, but most of Tokyo was ready for a big one so there was less damage from this.
20 to 30 minutes after the quake, a Tsunami hit the Pacific ocean coast. Many people managed to get to safe places. Most of the vehicles you see on videos, floating on water, were empty. However, most of the deaths occurred due to this. At one point 20,000 people were missing, now the numbers are around 10,000.
All phone networks (voice) were congested for at least 16 hours. Emails and Twitter helped a lot to find that our loved ones were safe.
Electricity and water got cut off in many places. Train services stopped for safety reasons, even when there was power. Buses and taxis were full. Most people spent the night at their offices that were also shaking every half an hour or so. I spent the entire night looking for people :o(
Tokyo got almost back to normal in the next couple of days. Train services resumed one by one. Fires were put out. We got home and cleared up the mess there (all furniture at my place either fell down or moved, but that is no damage compared to the other places).
There was a food shortage with highways closed and trains not working, but I still did not see panic buying. We have been in power saving mode, I am online only a couple of hours a day (down from 16 hours earlier). People are cooperating with requests to not overstock food, or overuse electricity.
As for personal experience, it was not as scary because I was in Tokyo. Another thing; What you see on a small TV screen or a few square meters of newspaper happened in a very large area. No single person went through all of that.
Now we have two problems. Providing support to evacuees and dealing with the nuclear reactors. More on them in my next post.