An Oklahoma City native who is living in Tokyo said the high-rise building where he works did not just shake during the magnitude 8.9 earthquake. He said the earthquake lifted the building, twisted it and dropped it back down.
Max Homerding, 31, was not injured by the earthquake that struck Japan at 2:46 p.m. Friday, which was 11:46 p.m. Thursday in Oklahoma.
The University of Central Oklahoma graduate was on the 26th floor of the building where he is doing an internship for EMC Computer Systems. The building is near Japan's busiest train station, Shinjuku Station.
“Our building was twisting and we could see other towers around us twisting,” Homerding said in a telephone interview. “We were looking for buildings to start hitting each other. It was that scary.”
Homerding said he made an eight-minute video of what was happening in the office. Fires broke out, so he shot video of nearby buildings as they burned.
Homerding, a 2005 UCO graduate, earned a bachelor's degree in international business. His internship is part of a master's degree program at the University of Hawaii.
Many people in Tokyo stayed at their offices Friday and did not try to make it home, he said. Others are staying in public buildings. Homerding was able to walk to his apartment on the fourth floor of an older building that was not damaged.
It was about 11:30 p.m. Friday in Japan when he described what happened, talking on the same Iphone he used to shoot the video.
Telephone communication is hit or miss, he said, and he has not been able to make calls to relatives in Oklahoma.
No one he knew was injured or killed, he said, and the worst part of it was north of Tokyo.
“It's not pandemonium here right now,” Homerding said. “But right after the earthquake we had major fires. The aftershocks were really strong.”