Friday, March 11th 2011. A day I will never forget. I had just finished cleaning the school with the children. The third graders have graduated, so there is now 1/3 of the school missing when I do my rounds to shout "cleaning cleaning!!" at slacking students.

The chime sounded and I went back to the staff room and sat at my desk. I felt the ground move. Not much.. in fact, I doubted myself in thinking it was an earthquake because no one else had noticed it. I thought maybe I'd sat down too fast, making myself dizzy or something. No less than 5 minutes later we heard an almighty siren outside, like something from a war movie. Japanese people know what to do when they hear that, and someone ran to the tv.

"EARTHQUAKE!" We gathered round the tv, silently watching pictures of a whole city burning. I still had my iPhone in my hand from when I sat down, and I immediately checked facebook and the online forum for JETs that I am a member of, to see if anyone had been hurt. The tv said it was a 7 on the Richter scale (it's been confirmed as a 9 since), and that there was a big concern about tsunami, which explained the sirens. I sent an email to mum and dad saying that I'm ok.

Messages from other people in Japan started popping up on facebook and the forum. The earthquake had happened way up north so I was wracking my brain trying to remember who lived up in that area. I could think of two or three people. The tv was saying that they were expecting the tsunami in about 15 minutes.. so we sent the children home and I hurried home too.

Sherbet was going mental. Running and running and shouting... she was obviously spooked. I put the tv on, and it's been on pretty much ever since. Luckily, the tsunami was very minimal by the time it got to us. I went out to my Friday night private lessons, and was shocked to see the 8 year old Hikaru with his phone number and address written on his arms in big marker..

It's now Sunday night. It all just seems a dream. I can't believe the world is so harsh as to allow this to happen. The friends from up north are all alive, thank God. However, their homes are now gone. One has escaped Fukushima (where the nuclear power plants are) to Tokyo. I turned the tv off for some time today. It just gets too much, and watching it wont help the situation. I'm watching it again now, and it's just so terrible. The lists of people wanting to contact loved ones, as a desperate cry for contact, lists of the cities and how many have been found dead, and how many cannot be found, then on the internet, lists of foreigners who live in the affected areas..

There's a 70% chance that another earthquake as strong as the last will come in the next 3 days. I went out to buy dry biscuits just in case.. it's just so scary. I wish there was more I could do. I can't give blood because I'm British (mad cow disease and all that..), I've donated money too.

Most of all, I am so proud to be within a nation of really fantastic people. They know what they are doing, they were prepared and organised. They just got on with it. I'm so proud to be part of this country. And I know that everyone on these islands will work as one until houses are fixed and lives are rebuilt around the lost loved ones.