Christopher Gross Recalls Vacationing in Japan during the Tohoku Earthquake

Christopher Gross of Christopher's and Crush Lounge just happened to be vacationing in Japan during the Tohoku earthquake this past March. He was in Kamakura, south of where the quake and tsunami struck. While Tohoku  devastated some regions of Japan, Gross said that where he was staying, you might have not known there was anything wrong. Not much, anyway.


Take shelter: When it happened it went on for like two minutes and we were at like a teahouse where they also give cooking classes. They were dressing everyone in kimonos. I was about to take off my clothes -- I was taking my socks off and I felt the place shaking, so I put my sock back on. They're getting everyone under the tables so they're safe and I look for a second and realize I'm under a gas stovetop, so I got out and walked out onto the street watching everything. It was fascinating. I didn't have any fear that I was going to die. At about a minute and thirty seconds, I started getting a little concerned.


In the event of an emergency, don't forget your hard hat: The people who worked at the store grabbed everyone to put them under the tables, one ran to shut off all the gas and another opened the windows because I guess that's the routine -- if the glass breaks, you get it all over yourself and if the gas line breaks, you'll start a fire. They have a routine. A lot of them have hard hats in their offices. Then after that, there were a couple after shocks.... Actually a lot of aftershocks and a couple big ones, but they went back to tea service.


Natural disaster = opportunity in US: We went down to Florida to help after Hurricane Andrew years ago and one of the first things that happened down there, was fast food trucks pulling up to sell things for exorbitant prices and here [in Japan] everyone was just helping. There was no 'Let's sell water bottles for $10.' In the US there probably would have been like t-shirts saying "I survived the earthquake..."

The aftermath: It's in bad taste, but you're kind of laughing about it because it went for two minutes and nothing happened, but then when we got back to the hotel and started turning on the TV, we saw how tragic it was. You almost felt guilty. Seeing all of the stuff come over the TV and then you start looking at the people and they're very calm.

Make sure to come back tomorrow to learn more about Gross' adventures in Japan.

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