A little while ago, at 11:29 Japan time, a magnitude 5.0 (Japanese scale) earthquake shook our building slightly. NHK almost immediately cut to earthquake coverage, repeating over and over that the epicenter was around Nagaoka in Niigata Prefecture, that there is no danger of a tsunami, that there have been no reported injuries, and that the eastern Shinkansen trains had already resumed normal operation. The magnitude in Tochigi Prefecture, where we are, was 2.0.
I'm getting superstitious. We spent yesterday in Niigata. But maybe the crucial factor is that the last time we had a big earthquake was the same day we were scheduled to take the Narita Express to go to the airport. Today, we are again scheduled to take the Narita Express to the airport to send our daughter back to the U.S. for another year of university--and a third year of college Japanese. If this pattern holds, then northern Japan can expect another largish earthquake on September 28, when I'm scheduled to fly back to the U.S.
We may have to rethink our tentative plans for a daytrip to Sendai on Monday, the last day our rail passes remain valid. I'd hate to bring that lovely city another earthquake only a week after their last one.