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Fukushima: Nightmare in the city of ghosts

Memories of the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan

Excerpted from "Tokyo Junkie: 60 Years of Bright Lights and Back Alleys... And Baseball" by Robert Whiting. (c)2021 Robert Whiting. Used by permission of Stone Bridge Press.

I was at home in Toyosu sitting on our new high-tech john on Friday, March 11, 2011, when the Tohoku earthquake struck. I was used to quakes, dating back to childhood in California, and experienced any number of them living in Japan. There'd be some shaking -- sometimes violent shaking -- and then it was over, usually in a matter of seconds. No reason to panic. But this one was different. It refused to end. There was a dramatic swaying back and forth, punctuated by sudden, huge horizontal jolts and the sound of creaking walls that went on and on and on. It lasted an excruciating six minutes.

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