Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

THE DAY THE BIG ONE HIT a[euro]I Thought It Was My Final Daya[euro]; Lismore Man's Account of A[euro]surreala[euro] Quake

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

THE DAY THE BIG ONE HIT a[euro]I Thought It Was My Final Daya[euro]; Lismore Man's Account of A[euro]surreala[euro] Quake

Article excerpt

Byline: Megan Kinninment

A LISMORE professor visiting Tokyo has described how buildings swung back and forth around him during the devastating earthquake that struck Japan last Friday.

Professor Baden Offord of Southern Cross University, who is currently working at Tokyo University, described the 8.9 magnitude earthquake as a asurreala experience and is now questioning whether he will stay in Japan given predictions of another earthquake of 7.0 magnitude in the coming days.

aThis, and the escalating news about the nuclear power plants 250km north of Tokyo, is not good,a Prof Offord said.

aWe are now seeing whether we should fly out of Japan and will seek advice from the Embassy.a

On Friday Prof Offord was about to have lunch in a cafe just outside the Komaba campus of Tokyo university when the quake happened, forcing him and his friend, Professor Toshiko Ellis from Tokyo University, to cling to each other as the earth shook around them.

aWe left the restaurant when is started to shake violently and everything was falling. Most of the people went under tables,a Prof Offord said.

aWe held on to each other as the poles and buildings swung back and forth, not sure of where we should go for safety.

aIt lasted for several minutes, which is the thing that I will remember for the rest of my life.

aIt seemed ages before the ground stopped moving.

aThe street scene was absolutely surreal.

aIt was like being on a ship that was rolling all over the place.a

Prof Offord has been living in Tokyoin Meguro, at the University of Tokyo International Lodge since September last year as part of a 10-month appointment as Chair (visiting professor) of Australian Studies at the University of Tokyo.

He said he had experienced many tremors in Japan, but nothing like this quake.

He said his lunch companion described Friday's quake as athe big onea. …

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