Living in Japan, you may have already heard your phone suddenly blare 地震 だ (it’s an earthquake). But there are other words you should know in case of emergencies, such as 脱出 ルート (escape) and 避難路 (the escape route).
Other words that may come up a lot are the various ranks of the Richter scale as people try to work out how big a quake is.
In Japan, earthquakes are categorized into seven levels known as 震度. Each level also has two subdivisions marked 弱(lesser) and 強 (greater). So a 震度6弱 is strong enough that most people will find it difficult to stand; whereas a 震度6強 is strong enough that people will likely have to 這う (crawl) from the room.
Floods, fires and other emergencies
Of course, the strength of the earthquake depends on the proximity of it to you and your place. The most dangerous place to be is the 震源地 (epicenter). After the initial hit, there are the 震動 (tremors) that affect the surrounding area and these are later followed by 余震 (aftershocks).
Unfortunately, after an earthquake, each prefecture may have something else to deal with whether its a 洪水 (floods), 火事 (fires), 猛暑 (heatwave) or even the 噴火 (volcanic eruption) and 雪崩 (avalanche). These unfortunate events have to lead to Japanese learners being forced to absorb new words like 被害 (harm), 避難 する (to take refuge) and even 死亡 (fatalities).
Also, don’t forget to reset your gas if it has been unpredictable since a quake.
Considering all of this, every home should be prepared in the event of an earthquake or any other emergency event. Many families in Japan will have 対策 or 防災 グッズ (emergency goods prepared in case of an earthquake).
One of the golden rules for surviving the aftermath of an unexpected natural disaster is to be prepared. The 非常持ち出し品 (emergency goods) that you have in your pack should include things like 水 (water), 乾燥対策グッズ (dehydrated foodstuffs) and a 救急 (first-aid kit).
It can also be useful 備蓄品を備える (to stockpile dried goods) just in case.
For all our readers: don’t forget to prepare your 対策グッズ (emergency kit) and 救急セット (first aid kit).
While we should be aware of being prepared for the worst to happen at all times, fingers crossed that these words for earthquakes and natural disasters are not words that we will need often.
- How to reset your gas after a magnitude 5 earthquake with video:
- For earthquake preparedness:
- How to recognize what level earthquake you have: