Here’s What You Need to Keep in Mind When Disaster Strikes

The rules are summarized in one word-okashimochi.

Photo Pixabay


Japan is a country that frequently suffers from natural disasters. However, as seen on the news, the Japanese people are accustomed to adapt to these kinds of situations. They know how to line up neatly and evacuate calmly in times of danger. 


This is because schools teach their students how to evacuate properly and also often hold simulations for these kinds of disasters. To make things easier, the most important rules for evacuation are encapsulated in one word—
okashimochi. Okashi is easily remembered as sweets and snacks, while mochi, as the Japanese sticky rice. Let’s delve deeper into what each part of the word stands for. 



O for osanai means do not push


Pushing against each other while evacuating can be very dangerous. It not only makes it more difficult to evacuate quickly, but it can also cause a domino effect, which might result in more deaths. 


Ka for kakenai means do not run


This rule prevents people from falling over each other during a disaster. In case of an earthquake, it’s better to stay inside an earthquake-resistant building than jump outside. However, in the case of a tsunami, one should get as far away from the coast as possible and look for the highest evacuation spot he/she can find. 



Shi for shaberanai means do not chitchat


Lessening the chitchat can help one hear the necessary information or instructions given by designated announcers. But of course, he/she also needs to speak up when someone asks him/her about their situation. 


Mo for modoranai means do not go back


Although you might feel the need to go back and retrieve your valuables, you shouldn’t do so. This is to avoid being crushed or trapped under the collapsing buildings.  



Chi for chikayoranai means do not get nearby


Make sure that you stay away from collapsing buildings and walls, broken pieces of glass, and falling utility poles.



It is important that you remember these rules and stay calm in times of disaster. If you don’t know what to do, you can simply follow what the Japanese locals are doing.  


 (7 June 2019)

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