Today, I bought something awesome. Strips… of plastic. Thick clear wedges with a similar consistency to a child's chew toy. I did not gnaw on them.
But I did think about it.
As you can tell from the photograph, these wonders of engineering are not teething toys shaped for animal-fearing fruitarian children. Rather, they provide the equivalent force of FOUR baby elephants in an acrobatic combination to hold your furniture fast against the force of an earthquake.
My first quake since returning to Sapporo happened only a couple of days after my arrival. I was seated fetal-style in front of my gas heater, with my eyeballs pressed into my kneecaps. The aim of the game was not to fall into a deep jetlagged-induged slumber at 6pm and --as you can undoubtedly tell-- I was totally winning.
Being in an earthquake is like being on a boat or suffering from a sudden dizzy spell. I looked up groggily and tried to determine if my brain was making it all up.
Bowls rattled. I saw the cat turn tail and try to flee before realising the danger seemed to be EVERYWHERE. She froze and mewed.
This quake was not in any way serious, but it was prolonged, shaking the apartment for several minutes. It was even long enough for me to produce some kind of reassuring response to my petrified feline. I held out my arms.
"Yo. I can hold you but it won't help. We'll just sway together."
This transpired to be completely satisfactory. Possibly Tallis' longstanding enforced role as my dance partner as I bounced around the apartment was paying off.
No earthquake can beat Katy Perry.
I meanwhile, was watching my crockery. It sat on an open bookcase with stylishly misaligned shelves. While fairly secure during normal operations, being shaken about always came with the slight risk of COMPLETE AND UTTER DESTRUCTION. I yawned and tried to get my fogged-up brain to think. It produced the single thought:
Which garbage day would be for broken crockery?
You can see why I thought I might be imaging an earthquake. Fortunately, nothing broke.
Now however, we have SUPER ELEPHANT POWER CHEW TOYS to fix all the problems! Shaped as long wedges, they slide under the front of furniture to tilt them backwards very slightly. This means that if they are rocked, they are more likely to tip back against the wall than throw your plates at your cat. The bookcase feels considerably more stable, so much so that I moved the complete "Lord of the Rings" hardback volume I had been using for stability from its bottom shelf. It's now across the room holding the cat tree in place.
For some reason, I never finished reading that book.