My heart goes out to the Japanese as I just found out about an 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan earlier this morning. That’s the fifth largest earthquake in the world since 1900, according to a news report. (The Richter magnitude scale and concomitant technology that measures seismic energy weren’t around back then, so you science buffs will have to explain to me, a self-confessed Neo-Luddite primate with some of the accessories missing since birth, how they can measure these things long after the fact.) As I’m writing, the death toll is in the hundreds. The massive quake triggered a tsunami that’s expected to hit the west coast of the United States. As I’m sitting in a waiting room at the Ford dealership while mechanics check the oil, battery and tires on my car, I’m watching aerial footage of the devastation on CBS news. Ships and cars toss and tumble about like children’s toy in a bathtub. Flooding waters sweep up homes and debris like evil ooze from a cheesy sci-fi movie bent on destroying civilization. I’m hearing on a live broadcast that the quake lasted approximately five minutes. As a California expatriate, or excaliforniate, I’ve experienced two big quakes and a host of tremors. I couldn’t imagine anything over a minute! Readers might recall that I visited Tokyo and Kyoto with my second daughter Jessi in the summer of 2009. I’m something of a Nipponophile, so this news particularly saddens me.