Eyewitness Account Of The Japanese Quake Host Melissa Block speaks with Ken Saito, a witness to Friday's tsunami in northeastern Japan. Saito works for an Internet company and was in his office when the quake hit.

Eyewitness Account Of The Japanese Quake

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Ken Saito was in his office on the 10th floor of a building in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, and he joins me now.

Ken, you've made it home. Why don't you talk about what you felt when that earthquake hit this afternoon?

Mr. KEN SAITO: We were all laughing at first, thinking it was a regular earthquake. A lot of people were, you know, taking videos on their cell phones, and a lot of people were saying, you know, it's going to end soon. But once it got serious, you know, we can see their expressions change on their faces.

There were a lot of people screaming, so people started going under their desks. And it really, literally, went on for maybe two minutes...

BLOCK: Mm-hmm.

Mr. SAITO: ...the whole shake.

BLOCK: A really long time.

Mr. SAITO: Yeah. Very scary.

BLOCK: Ken, when you compare how this earthquake felt with the earthquakes that you're used to feeling all the time in Tokyo...

Mr. SAITO: Mm-hmm.

BLOCK: ...can you describe that at all? How much stronger it was?

Mr. SAITO: Oh, usually, when we get earthquakes down in Tokyo, it only lasts for 30 seconds at most, I think, and they're really minor. Maybe it was because I was on the 10th floor, but it felt really big. And I'm not exaggerating when I'm saying I thought - I seriously thought I was going to die, because it was that big. I never felt anything that big before.

BLOCK: Did your building - was it lurching back and forth? Was it sharp sudden movements?

Mr. SAITO: There was a big sway going on for a long time. When we looked outside the window, we can see that the scenery was moving because the building was shaking, so that was really scary.

BLOCK: Yeah. In Tokyo, are you trained for what to do when a big earthquake comes? How much expectation is there that one day there will be a just enormous earthquake and here's what you do?

Mr. SAITO: I don't think necessarily we train for the, you know, worst-case scenario all the time, but ever since Kobe earthquake, we never experienced anything this big. And I never imagined it will be this bad, to be honest.

BLOCK: Never imagined it would be this bad?

Mr. SAITO: Yeah.

BLOCK: Yeah. Well, Ken Saito, I'm glad you're safe, and thanks so much for talking with us.

Mr. SAITO: Yeah. No problem.

BLOCK: Ken Saito lives in Tokyo.

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