For those of you who hadn't heard, an 8.8 earthquake struck yesterday, March 11th, at 2:46 PM off the coast of northern Honshu, Japan. Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima prefectures were worst hit, by the quake and also by the huge tsunamis that followed, inundating the coast and sweeping away masses of cars and buildings. Here in the good old Greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area (or should we say, Not Greatest Tokyo Metropolitan Area?) the quake shook up buildings, knocked over massive filing cabinets, caused the ceiling of the Kudan Kaikan to collapse, broke up roads, knocked out power to Kawasaki City, and caused a fire in the Ichihara oil refinery which caused the oil refinery to subsequently explode (I must say, it's not every day that you see an exploding oil refinery.)
The quake also stopped all train traffic for hours, stranding hundreds of people in places like Shinjuku and Shibuya stations, and forcing hundreds more to walk home along highways, many kilometers in the cold and dark. Local hotels took in refugees who lived too far away to walk home over night. Emergency stores were brought out from company warehouses, and in some offices, with no one able to leave, the managers hit the convenience stores as fast as possible, carted back armloads of Yebisu beer, and treated the company underlings to a party.
The quake was followed by at least 12 aftershocks, many of them measuring more than 7.0 at the epicenter, which wasn't so much an epicenter proper as an entire fault line. Tokyo traffic patterns are still in chaos, while the damage, especially in northern Honshu, is still being assessed, though it is undoubtedly severe. The confirmed casualties already number in the hundreds, and hundreds more people have lost their homes and their fields. It sure isn't "business as usual."
Which brings me to my announcement, which is: not rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail may be able to stop Buck-Tick, but unfortunately...quakes can. The following notice was posted on the band's website a few hours ago:
Utakata no Razzle Dazzle
March 12th @ Zepp Osaka
Fish Tanker's Only 2011
March 13th @ Namba Hatch
Due to the large earthquake that struck yesterday off the northern Pacific coast of Honshu, traffic patterns within Japan are in a state of chaos, affecting the ability of the band members and staff to travel safely, and safely transport the band's equipment.
The band members want to put the safety of the fans before anything else. Currently, it has not been decided whether or not the performances this weekend will be cancelled.
In the event of a postponement or cancellation, fans will be reimbursed in full for their tickets, so please await announcements about a reimbursement procedure. Do not discard your ticket or ticket receipt.
We extend our heartfelt prayers to all earthquake victims, and pray that all those who lost their lives in this disaster may rest in peace. We pray for swift recovery in the regions struck by the quake.
Yeah, it sucks big hairy monkey balls, but read between the lines here: the Buck-Tick members are all safe! However, what with aftershocks and all that, the danger here is not over. All our readers overseas, please send us your prayers. And everyone on the Pacific rim, beware of tsunamis.