Ikebukuro Disaster Center (池袋防災館)

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
When I was a tourist in Tokyo, I always wanted to maximise my time in Tokyo so that I can see more, look more and eat more. However, once you started living in the city, you become a little lazy at time since you can just visit any place whenever you fancy not limited by time (though limited by season at times). On a random cold Saturday in March when we both woke up late from a late Friday night and the time was neither here or there for us to go out to somewhere far. I suggested to Sushi san that we visit the Ikebukuro Disaster Center

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
His first response was “For what?”. Ermmmmm, hello Mr Tokyo though you have lived in Japan through your life but your lovely spouse is a newbie in this big city that gets random earthquake shakes, typhoon drenched at times that sometimes I wonder what is the thing that I should do since I lived my entire in peaceful and safe Singapore with no natural calamity. (the most that we get is flooding or “ponding” from the rain). Though the tour is mainly conducted in Japanese but they have the videos in English too if the visitors are mainly tourists.

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
So, off we went with a appointment slot for the experience class at 3pm (we only made the call at 2pm and there was still vacancies)

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
Ermmmm, we were the only 2 people for the 3pm slot that Saturday afternoon. (Of course, who would want to spend their precious weekend noons learning about how to prepare yourself for emergency when the Japanese have gone through that drill through their entire school life) We started off with a 20 minutes video of the impacts of the possible disasters that could happen like earthquake, fire and smoke etc.

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
Next we headed to the section where we would learn how to deal with fire at homes where most fires do break out. After the video and explanation on how to use a fire extinguisher, we were asked to put out a “fire” that had broke out at our neighbor’s home and to shout as loud as possible that there is a fire! There is a fire!

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
Showing us all the possible combination that could happen when fire beaks out at home.

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
Correct usage of a fire extinguisher

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
Next would be the smoke room experience. First a video of what could happen if you do know how to escape from a smoked filled room. Next, we have to duck walk through a small smoked filled room with the techniques taught to us – cover your nose/mouth area with your sleeve, keep as low as possible, walk towards the exit keeping yourself close to the wall and close the door after you exit the door.

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
Earthquake experience zone.

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
what could happen during a earthquake.

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
The highlight of the entire experience tour was the earthquake simulation where you get to experience a Magnitude 4 earthquake and a Magnitude 7 earthquake. You would be asked to hide under the table and grip the table legs as tight as possible. I am glad that I don’t need to experience the magnitude 7 earthquake in real life (yet). It was so shaky that I could barely grab on to the table leg. Everything was shaking really badly and I thought that it really happen to me, I wonder if the house would collapse on me.

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
Before you end your visit, you can also take a look at the various model homes depicting on how you should “earthquake” proof your home.

Ikebukuro Disaster Center
Else you may just die in your sleep.

Eversince moving to Tokyo, Japan, I felt that I have become more cautious in my daily life by not taking the calamities that could hit us for granted. Though I do curse and swear at the humid and hot weather when I was living in Singapore but we are also blessed to be freed of all these natural disasters that could happen. Now, I live in a home that do not place breakables too high up, we have torches in every room and stocked up with emergency food and waters. Though I do hope that a big earthquake would not hit us……(fingers crossed)

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