Japan gets more earthquakes than any other country. And when an earthquake hits, many people are injured by heavy items such as furniture falling on them. Remember that lots of Japanese people sleep on the floor so are especially vulnerable to falling objects if an earthquake happens at night.
Here in the Kansai area, earthquakes are relatively rare, but in 1995 the Great Hanshin Earthquake brought devastation to the nearby city of Kobe and was felt very strongly in Osaka, so people are very conscious of the dangers.
When my father-in-law moved to the new apartment, he asked me to secure the furniture to the wall. I thought we would use some kind of straps, but when we went to the hardware store (Konan), we found these: Earthquake-proofing poles.
You simply assemble the poles and extend them between the top of the furniture and the ceiling. The poles prevent the furniture from toppling forward during an earthquake.
You fix the pole to the approximate length using a screw, and fit it in place.
Then by turning the pole clockwise or anti-clockwise you can tighten it up (put it under more compression) until it is holding the furniture securely. The top and bottom red lines say スタート線 sutaato-sen—start line and ストップ線 sutoppu-sen—stop line, indicating the limits of fine adjustment. The left and right arrows say つっぱり tsuppari—tighten and ゆるむ yurumu—loosen.
By orienting the feet in a front-rear direction, you achieve maximum protection against toppling forward.
Note on the word of the day:
A lot of the vocabulary in today’s blog post was new to me. I wasn’t able to read the name of the product when we found it in the shop.
That first character 耐 tai indicates “durability” or “endurance” and appears in words such as 耐水 water-resistance, 耐熱 heat-resistance, and so on.
The second character 震 shin has the meaning “shake” or “tremble” as in the word for earthquake: 地震 ji-shin.