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Kumamoto commemorates 5th anniversary of deadly quakes

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Five years already.

The magnitude numbers, i.e., the size of the "explosion" at the center, are largely irrelevant here, because these quakes were very near the surface. They were experienced in the worst hit areas as Shindo 6 followed by Shindo 7, which maxes out the Japanese scale. The area hit was limited, but the damage there was extensive. Houses built since Kobe in 1995 are much stronger now, but apparently even some of them ended up being classified as compromised beyond repair ("zenkai").

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Many of the people living in "temporary accommodation" are very lucky. I drive by them quite often, and their current dwellings are much, much nicer than the hovels they used to live in (i.e. the ones that collapsed).

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The keep of Kumamoto Castle, a popular tourist spot damaged by the quakes, has also been repaired and is set to open for the public from April 26.

Glad to hear that. It's amazing that the restoration work has been completed earlier than initially scheduled. The Kumamoto Castle is one of my favorite ones. Looking forward to visiting it again. As the city's symbolic landmark the Castle means a lot to locals.

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Sheesh - I'll never forget that day, and the days that followed with constant aftershocks. Even being from California, I've never experienced such a large natural disaster. Everyone in Japan should learn from those who experienced the quakes so as to prepare should one occur under you.

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