I was here during the Kumamoto earthquake! Wow, do I have a story. Unlucky for me, I had experienced the 6.4m earthquake the previous night, in my AirBnB on the other side of Kumamoto. It was my last night at the AirBnB, and I had to switch to this location on the morning after the huge earthquake (not to mention endless aftershocks).
Kimiko contacted me immediately, and said that I could still stay at her AirBnB if I needed a place to stay and if I could figure out how to get there with all forms of transportation being closed from the earthquake. I had no way of leaving Kumamoto, so I decided to continue with my reservation and walk to Kimiko's place, where I could finally get some rest and plan for a way to leave Kumamoto.
I was very grateful that Kimiko let me stay at her AirBnB even after such an intense natural disaster. I rested during the day, and used the WiFi to plan an exit strategy to get to the nearest working Shinkansen station (Fukuoka). While I was there, Kimiko cooked me and the other guest a small homecooked meal, and was all too hospitable! It was the best fried rice cake I've had in Japan. After dinner, I decided to get some rest for my journey out of town the next morning.
And then, at nearly 1:30am, the second earthquake hit. This one being 7.0m, but luckily, the epicenter was on the other side of town from this location. Kimiko, her family, the other AirBnB guest, and myself spent the night outside, waiting for the aftershocks to stop. They did not stop all night, and I simply waited for the sun to rise before taking a 3+ hour taxi to Fukuoka in the morning, where I was able to safely board the Shinkansen and leave Kyushu.
Although I had this crazy experience, there was no possible way anyone in Kumamoto could have foreseen this earthquake. I am grateful to have survived without any injuries, and I am grateful that Kimiko even let me stay there that night, considering the previous earthquake before my arrival. Her homecooked meal in between the earthquakes was definitely the highlight of my trip to Kumamoto.
Thanks for everything, Kimiko. You helped keep me safe until I found a way to leave Kyushu. I hope all has been well for you since my departure!