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My First Experience as a Stranded Commuter

My First Experience as a Stranded Commuter

tl by danluffey

3.11 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster
My First Experience as a Stranded Commuter
calendar text: Bird Hospital
middle text: This cockatiel goes to the hospital on the 11th of each month. It was just supposed to be another medicine pickup for blind Grandpa cockatiel, but...
bottom text: *I made my main character a huge bird. I figured that it'd be better not to make it too overly realistic, you know?

1: [The hospital I go to is located in Chiba, near a very famous convention center and resort.
2: [My little Okame was also feeling under the weather...
3: Weight: 97kg.
4: Okame's stool looks fine, so I think you have nothing to worry about.
5: Okame's been eating well every day, too!
sfx: rumble
6: Waah!
sfx: shake
7: An earthquake!
8: This is a really big one!

sfx: rattle
1: [Things fell!
2: Ahhh! Look how much that precision machine's shaking!
sfx: rattle
3: [Then, the doctor opened the door
4: [and secured an escape route for us.
5: Got to keep my arms on Okame!
door: Examination Room Door
6: [Once things settled down, we watched the news on a cell phone.
7: It came from the Sanriku Coast. It was a Magnitude 7.9!
8: (The first announcement
9: The medicine equipment almost fell over! That was really scary!
10: If they had broken, we'd be out of business.
11: [The tremors continued...
12: I'm a bit worried, so I'll be going home now.
13: [And thus, my long journey home began!

sign: Makuhari Station
1: [When I got to the station,
2: [I found that tickets weren't being sold.
3: [Train service was suspended, and there was no news of when they would be moving again.
4: (Due to the recent earthquake...
5: /I'm sure if I wait a bit, they'll be back up soon.
6: [Or so I thought in the beginning...
7: Hey, what's all that smoke?
8: Is there a fire?
9: [We could seek black smoke in the distance.
10: [Soon, the sun set, and night fell.
11: It's cold!
12: (I've waited over three hours now...
sfx: shiver
13: Train service will be suspended for the rest of the day.

1: We will now guide all refugees to Makuhari Elementary School.
2: Huh?
3: Refugees?
4: Those who would like to stay the night at the station are free to do so.
5: (But the trains will not be moving!)
6: What?!
7: (Are they asking us to spend the night here?!
8: /What should I do?! It takes two hours to go one way by train, there's no way I can walk home!
9: (This can't be happening! I can't go home!
10: /And with how cold it's getting...
11: There's no way I can keep Okame outside for so long!
sfx: brrr
12: /I'll go back to the hospital and get the doctor's opinion.
13: /They're probably closed by now, so I'll have to call.
sfx: loooooong...
14: (The only pay phone at the station

1: My phone won't connect!
2: Same here.
3: [Everyone was trying to make calls at the same time, so communications froze.
4: Cell phones are useless in crisis situations!
5: [I had no choice but to look for another pay phone.
6: [But...
7: [Because everyone uses cell phones now,
8: /Huh?
9: [I couldn't find a pay phone no matter how long I walked. They've completely disappeared!
10: /There used to always be one next to cigarette stands...
sign: Cigarettes
11: [Now that I think about it, cigarette stands don't exist anymore either!
12: /Are they relics of the Showa Era now?
13: [I saw a huge crowd of people by an electronics store.
sign: OX Electronics
14: [Of course, they were all watching the evening news on a TV.

1: /What is this?
2: (Weird...
3: /It looks a streetside TV from the Showa Era...
4: I walked here from the convention center. Things were getting pretty bad there. Women can't even walk outside alone.
5: The road liquefied!
6: (Liquefied?
7: [Later on, I found out on the news that one of the resort areas had been liquefied, along with the Makuhari Convention Center.
8: [Other similar reclaimed lands like Big Site were safe because they had gotten new liquefaction resistance put in.
9: Wait a minute here...
10: maybe something really bad's happening in Japan right now?
11: [I finally realized just how serious things were.

1: [It was colder than usual that evening...
sign: Bird Hospital
2: It's coooold!
3: (Somehow I managed to get back to the hospital...
4: You must be so tired.
5: What are you going to do now?
6: We can keep Okame here if you like.
7: You could stay at a business hotel or a net cafe.
8: (I only have 7000 yen on me!
9: And I left my credit cards at home...
10: If you don't have enough money, I can lend you some.
11: [But all the motels around were full...
12: If you don't mind, then how about staying here?
13: Yes please!!
14: (My angel

1: I put Okame in an incubator at once.
2: (Medical thermal case
3: I'm so glad we found a warm place to stay!
4-5: Caaaaaw!
6: [The patient below was an African Grey who was imitating a crow.
7: [He had been put in here for feather picking.
8: (Caaaaw!
9: [Next to us was a sulphur-crested cockatoo who had a black sheet over him.
10: Gyaaaahhh!
11: (It was there to muffle his voice.
12: [There was also a grey cockatiel and a budgie among others.
13: Tweet!
14: Twee!
15: You won't be lonely with all these other birds here!
16: Caaaw!
17: Tweet!
18: Gyaaaah!
19: Twee!
20: All the other birds were sick, though.

1: [They put out a futon in the waiting room for me.
2: [They gave me hot food, supper, and even a radio so I could listen to the news.
panel 2 text: Cup ramen, candy, tea
3: These people are so nice! I can go to the bathroom whenever I want, and I have air conditioning too!
4: I figured I might be able to seek shelter in the elementary school if things got bad, but I bet it must be tough for all the people packed in there...
5: [The next morning...
6: [The trains started moving a little past 9.
7: (And now for traffic news...
7: [Because of how crazy everything was, I decided to leave Okame with them.
8: I'd just be too worried walking around carrying
9: my little Okame.
10: I promise to come back to pick Okame up once things calm down.
11: (You sound like a poor mother going out to work for her child...

sign: Makuhari Station
1: [To get home, I went to the station.
2: [The line was so long!
sfx: loooong...
3: [Apparently, there was an event at the Makuhari Messe convention center the day before.
bag: Drugstore Show
4: [There were a lot of people carrying the bags I had seen yesterday.
5: [So they couldn't get home either, eh?
6: [Despite the line, the trains were running fine, and I got on one within an hour.
7: /I thought people would be packed in here like sardines...
8: /But things are going pretty smoothly!
9: [And then, at long last, I returned home!
10: Yaaay, I'm home!
11: I'm so glad I have
12: (Never thought I'd be this happy to come back home...
13: a home to return to!

sfx: click
1: I'm hooooome! (I know, I live alone, but...

1: [Pots and pans had fallen out from the cupboards,
2: [pictures and furniture were tilted,
3: [windows were open...
4: Did I get ROBBED?!
5: [All my valuables were still there.
6: (So it wasn't a robbery...
7: Phew.
8: Why does the floor feel all dirty?
9: What is this, sand?
10: [Then, I looked up to see a huge crack in the ceiling!

1: [The shock from all the tremors had manifested itself everywhere.
2: If I had gone out without taking Okame with me...
3: Let's just get this cleaned up...
4: [Now that I think about it, it was a good thing that Okame and I hadn't been able to return home.
5: [At least, this way, we ended up safe in the end.
6: It's too that everything broke, but oh well!
sfx: fwoooosh
side: The pay phone I used during the disaster was free. Even though I called a long-distance number, nothing was charged to my telephone card.

My First Experience as a Stranded Commuter / END


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