Here’s a fun, free and educational thing to do in Tokyo right now: experience your own earthquake! In Akihabara the other day I saw this truck carrying an earthquake simulation room parked next to a busy street, offering free “rides” to experience different levels of earthquakes. If my memory is correct, it starts out at a level 3 and then goes up to 4 before hitting it’s maximum level of 7. It looks really fun and I guess most people in Tokyo have never experienced anything above a level 4, and at level 7 it is really shaking quite a bit even as a simulation. The heaviest earthquake I have ever experience personally was a level 5 which was quite scary even being outside and at ground level so I can only imagine anything stronger than that while indoors. Of course the company offering the experience is not altogether altruistic, there was also an interactive exhibit of how they retrofit older timber and stick framed buildings with modern techniques to make them earthquake proof. Being a building nut and having seen a few bad examples of how not to build I spent more time in that part of the exhibition. I wish more countries had trucks for public use like this. Japan is without a doubt one of the best places in the world when it comes to surviving an earthquake but as we have seen in Spain and New Zealand other countries need to raise awareness of this as well. The next time you’re in Akihabara, keep an eye out for this truck!