Immersive Learning: A Haunted House in Japan Teaches Citizens Earthquake Preparedness

Taylor Wofford
November 1, 2016

“Last July, in Tokyo, I heard a woman call out to me from beneath a pile of rubble. Tasukete, came her thin, reedy voice. Help me. A wrecked car idled nearby. The traffic lights were all dead. I raised the Nintendo DS hanging from a lanyard around my neck. The screen showed two options: I could A) try to rescue her; or B) go find help. I chose A.

Right answer, the DS told me. No other help would be coming. If I didn’t get the woman out of the rubble, she would probably die. But I doubted I could actually do it. ‘I don’t think I can lift that,’ I said to my tour guide, pointing at the remains of what once might have been a house.

‘Well, it’s just a simulation,’ he replied with a placid smile.”

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Taylor Wofford is a 2016 US-Japan Journalism Fellow.