THE DAY THE EARTH ROARED; Merseyside man tells of quake fear after Japan strike.
A MERSEYSIDE man has described how cracks appeared in the walls of his office as the devastating earthquake struck Japan.
Sam Rosen was at work in capital city Tokyo when the quake - the largest in Japan's history - rocked the country yesterday.
Mr Rosen, 31, said there was gridlock on the streets as stranded workers desperately tried to make their way home in the aftermath.
Some faced a four or five-hour walk after train services to the suburbs were suspended.
The earthquake hit at 2.46pm local time - 5.46am British time - and measured 8.9 on the Richter scale.
After a series of powerful aftershocks, walls of water 13ft high battered a 1,300-mile stretch of the country's eastern shore, sweeping debris from dozens of cities inland.
Former King David's School pupil Mr Rosen, who has lived in Japan for nine years and Tokyo for the past five, where he is a global project manager for a cable management company, said: "It started with a rolling movement initially. It was a very strange sensation and the whole building began to tilt.
"It started to rock quite severely and all the bookcases fell down and things were falling off shelves and toppling over.
"The walls started to crack and they were visible in three or four places.
"We have hard hats under our desks so people were grabbing them, getting hold of desks and trying to get under doorways. We do earthquake training here so they were trying to get to the safest places to be.
"Everyone was shouting to each other to check that they were all right.
"There was an announcement and we were told not to use the elevators."
With internet connections unaffected Mr Rosen was able to e-mail his mum Angela Davies back home in Childwall to tell her he was OK.
She received the message before news broke of the earthquake in the UK.
Mrs Davies, a Japanese linguistics and cultural expert and vice chairman of the Japan Society North West, said: "I don't know what made me get out of bed then but I was up early at 6am and there was an e-mail from Sam saying 'don't worry about anything, I'm fine'.
"I saw he was online and we were able to speak for a few minutes through Skype.
"My heart was in my mouth when I saw the news. He said he was fine but I think he was probably more scared than he was letting on."
Speaking through Skype, Mr Rosen said the city experienced aftershocks for several hours after the earthquake.
He was invited to dinner at a friend's house before making his way home.
He said his city centre apartment was undamaged but faced a big clearing-up task inside.
Mr Rosen said: "All the trains were suspended when the earthquake happened and people were having to manually open the level crossings to let the cars go through.
"Some people had no way of getting home and the central area was pretty much gridlocked.
"I saw people were walking in their thousands out towards the suburbs, and some would have to walk four or five hours to get home.
"Everyone seems pretty shocked. We have smaller earthquakes on a regular basis but you rarely feel them. We didn't know how far this was actually going to go."
Meanwhile the chairman of Liverpool's Supporters Club in Japan praised the "Liverpool FC family" for their concern for the earthquake-hit country.
Keiko Hirano told the ECHO she was still trying to contact other club members in the Japan branch to check they were unhurt.
She said: "It seems that the goverment had suspended the telephone line and all the telecommunication.
"I've been contacted by Liverpool FC and everybody has been so kind with our disaster. I'm so pleased with the Liverpool FC family."
FEAR: A mother and child crouch on a street in Tokyo as the quake strikes SWAMPED: Tsunami washes away a warehouse and vehicles DEVASTATION: Residents inspect what remains of their homes STRANDED: A truck lodged on a damaged road in Iwaki city GRIM: Earthquake-triggered tsumanis sweep shores in Japan SAFE: Elderly women wrapped in blankets after a Tokyo street is evacuated as workers inspect a caved-in section of a main road in Satte. Background: Houses burn in the aftermath. Right: Keiko Hirano and Sam Rosen