We had a minor earthquake in Utah yesterday. It was 4.9 at the epicenter, and it was felt as far south as Utah county. In our neck of the woods, we were outside playing when it happened. I was the only person who noticed. I thought one of the kids was swinging on my chair, but then realized none of them were right by me. I then decided I was just crazy. A couple minutes later, a neighbor came out and asked if we'd felt it.
It was the big story on the news last night, devoting several minutes to the story, even though nobody was injured, and a couple of broken pictures were the extent of the damage, and that was miles and miles from Salt Lake.
So, compare that to Japan. When we had first moved to Japan, we quickly discovered that earthquakes happen alllllll the time. It's the most seismically active area in the world. Our first quake was when we were driving to a store to buy home supplies for our new apartment. At a stop light, we noticed the car was swaying. We thought the kids were being wild and making the car sway. We turned around to yell at them, but they were sitting there in a jet lagged glaze. We looked ahead and realized the car ahead of us was also moving. 20 or so minutes later, we were at Joyful Honda (I know, I still giggle when I think of the name), and things started rattling around. We froze, and looked around in shock. To our amazement, people continued shopping like absolutely nothing happened. That quake was significantly bigger than anything I've ever felt in Utah, so to see people have no reaction was quite the trip for me. It didn't even make the local news.
We got a lot more casual about earthquakes while living there, though never as laissez faire as the natives were.
The worst earthquake we had was actually pretty scary for us. It was very, very early in the morning, like around 4am. We were on the 5th floor of an apartment building, so we were swaying pretty good. All of our pictures fell off the walls, and broke everywhere. K got her fire and earthquake drills mixed up, and ran out of the apartment. Luckily I found her almost immediately. M was totally freaked out, and frozen on his bunk bed. We spent the rest of the night in our bed.