I learned that the Japanese people are quite familiar with earthquakes when I studied there. My host family assured me that the kerosene heaters – which were used to warm the rice paper-walled rooms – had an automatic off-switch so that when they fell over in an earthquake during the middle of the night, they wouldn’t burn down the house and everyone in it. And there are a surprising amount of earthquakes there, judging by the number of times I woke up in an ice-cold room. So, the Japanese people are very accustomed to earthquakes and prepare accordingly. But there isn’t any amount of preparation short of moving away from the coast that can do much to mitigate the damage from a natural catastrophe of this magnitude.