|The Hakodate Beer Garden, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. We|
were on the 2nd floor when the earthquake came rolling through.
Our itinerary includes pretty much everything - including, apparently, an earthquake. There we were at 8:23 PM local time, quietly (!) drinking beer and conducting our farewell dinner - actually saying goodbye to Frank and Joy Souza as they are leaving the group early in the morning. Frank was up at the microphone explaining how the group might be able to up-load photos for sharing when Kaori and I felt the earth begin to roll beneath our feet -- we immediately looked up and the chandeliers in the beer parlor were rotating slowly -- and for a long time, it seemed. Being a group of blasé Californians who experience earthquakes fairly frequently, most paid no attention and continued to drink beer. Frank continued his explanation, and the chandeliers continued to rotate lazily for another couple of minutes. We later learned that it was a 7.8 (!) earthquake centered 540 miles south of Tokyo in the Pacific -- and deep enough that the tsunami folks issued no warning.