The devastatingly destructive earthquake in Japan is being called the largest in the country's "recorded history."
The phrase "recorded history" carries meaning because we humans are a chronicling race. And somehow knowing where an event falls on a timeline and how devastating it is gives us the coordinates of our catastrophe. If the cataclysm can be fixed in time and in space, maybe it helps us wrap our minds around it.
Kit Miyamoto was riding on a train in Tokyo on Friday when a massive earthquake struck off the Japanese coast. Although the earthquake's epicenter was hundreds of miles away, the train came to an immediate halt.
Rather than panicking, Miyamoto recognized that the sudden stop represented an attempt to protect against loss of life. "As soon as the train feels an earthquake of any magnitude, it stops so you will not get derailed," Miyamoto says. "This is the Japanese alarm system at its best."
Sunday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan went on television to say that Japan is facing its largest crisis since World War II. He urged each of Japan's citizens to show resolve as they rebuild the country together.
Here's a quick rundown of conditions being reported in Japan, as it struggles to cope with the after-effects of a powerful earthquake and tsunami:
More than 450,000 people have evacuated areas of northeastern Japan.