Israelis in Japan tell their stories of the Osaka earthquake

"Suddenly, I felt like a ship tossed on a storm at sea."

Water flows out from cracks in a road damaged by an earthquake in Takatsuki, Osaka prefecture, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 18, 2018. (photo credit: KYODO/VIA REUTERS)
Water flows out from cracks in a road damaged by an earthquake in Takatsuki, Osaka prefecture, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 18, 2018.
(photo credit: KYODO/VIA REUTERS)
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Osaka, Japan's second-biggest metropolis, killed four people, injured hundreds more and halted factory lines in an industrial area, government and company officials said on Tuesday.
Authorities were assessing the damage from Monday's quake which injured 380 people, according to the latest government estimate on Tuesday.
Live footage showed toppled walls, broken windows and water gushing from burst mains after the quake hit Osaka, which will host next year's Group of 20 summit, just before 8 a.m. on Monday local time as commuters were heading to work.
The Israeli embassy sent messages to all Israelis registered in Japan, informing them that they had no information that Israelis had been injured in the earthquake. Israelis in Japan should note that it is also possible to check in on social media networks to indicate to worried friends and family in Israel that you are safe.
Yifat Elissar, a Japanese ceramics artist from Israel, was staying in Kyoto for a educational seminar. "At around eight in the morning I went to throw out the trash. I ran into my neighbor. We both live opposite a small temple. The trash collectors had not taken a small bag of paper that I put next to the door, and she had saved it and put out the recycling for me on the right day. It really touched me, and I went home to bring her some Israeli halva.
"Suddenly, I felt like a ship tossed on a storm at sea. I was frightened and cried out, and she and her Japanese friends did the same. I was worried for my husband who was sleeping at the time. Everything shook around me without end. I was petrified, as were they. I couldn't move.
"Suddenly, I saw my husband peeking from behind the door. I couldn't stop trembling. When I came home I saw that plaster has fallen from the ceiling. It was terrifying. We saw all the chaos in Osaka on the television and I was exhausted. I couldn't do anything. When I recovered, I tried to go exercise. But my aerobics instructor did not come to class. Every train station in Kyoto was packed with people; there were no trains and everything was at a standstill. I sat to have a coffee and there was an aftershock. The problem is that you don't know what to do or where to go."
Liron Levi is an Israeli real estate businessman in Osaka, who has lived in Japan for 18 years.
"Every Japanese house has an earthquake emergency kit that includes dry food, water, a flashlight, a raincoat, band-aids, and a fire-resistant coat," he said. "The epicenter of the quake was about 25 minutes from the center of Osaka. At 7:56 exactly, our son had eaten breakfast and was dressed for school. It started with a boom, and I thought that a truck had hit our building. My nine-year-old son recovered first, ran to his room, took the bag and the box of half-liter water bottles. I don't know how he did it. In situations like his, if the children are in school, you have to go to the designated meeting place with the children, a large baseball field. Later, the Israeli embassy called and told us that so far they had no information about Israelis injured in the earthquake."
Dr. Michal Hadad is an Israeli who has been living in Japan for 13 years, and during the last six in Kyoto, works in tourism.
"It was unquestionably the strongest earthquake I felt in Kyoto," she said. "I wanted to travel for work to the nearby city of Nara, but I couldn't go because the trains were canceled. People stood in line to receive a slip from the train company for their work or school, since there were no trains. It is good that there was an SMS update message in English for foreigners. In the trains all the announcements were in Japanese, but they tried to write a bit in English. Later they canceled schools and kindergartens."
Quakes are common in Japan, part of the seismically active "Ring of Fire" that stretches from the South Pacific through Indonesia and Japan, across to Alaska and down the west coast of North, Central and South America.
Reuters contributed to this report.