H&H Olympic reporter’s blog: ‘The Tokyo Games has been full of drama – and then there was an earthquake’

  • The Tokyo Olympics has had it all – Covid restrictions, hotel quarantine, searing heat, high sporting drama – oh, and as of this morning (4 August), an earthquake.

    At 5.33am, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan, about 25 miles deep out at sea, and the tremors could be felt across Tokyo. I can vouch for that personally – I was woken up by my bed swaying back and forth.

    At first, in my half-asleep state, I quite enjoyed the motion and gentle rocking feeling – that was until I woke up enough to realise that this was, in fact, an earthquake, and then it certainly did feel a little disconcerting.

    The shaking went on for about a minute, then subsided. I immediately reached for my phone to WhatsApp my H&H colleagues, Pippa Roome and photographer Peter Nixon, in the rooms either side of me: “Um, was that an earthquake?”

    A quick scan of the Japan Meteorological Agency website confirmed that yes, it was in fact an earthquake, and not an insignificant one at that, although the magnitude of it here in Tokyo was much less than that at the epicentre out at sea. The JMA also reported no tsunami risk, which was comforting to read before I went back to sleep for a couple more hours.

    Of course, earthquakes are very common in Japan – the country is situated within the notorious “Ring of Fire” of seismic activity, and is located on converging tectonic plates. Those who live here are accustomed to feeing a small shake every few weeks, and a larger one every few months. At frequent intervals along the streets are earthquake evacuation information notices, and most buildings in Tokyo are built with earthquake protection, including several Tokyo Olympics venues.

    It turns out that both Pippa and Peter were so tired out from our busy schedule of reporting out here at the Games that they had quite literally, slept through an earthquake. I was pleased to have been woken though – while slightly scary at the time, experiencing an earthquake out here feels like a strange rite of passage in a way. We may not be able to see much of this amazing country outside the Equestrian Park and our hotel, due to Covid regulations – but waking up to an earthquake certainly provided a small taste of life in Japan.

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