For an event that began with nothing but a few giggles between receptionists, there was nothing funny about Friday's massive earthquake for West Australian expatriate Sean Travers.
The management consultant was finishing a meeting with clients on the eighth floor of an office block in Yokohama, near Tokyo, when the first tremors rippled their way through the building, 250km from the quake's epicentre.
According to the 35-year-old, the only response among locals well versed in earthquake experience was some muted laughter from the women working the phones.
But what Mr Travers saw next, he says, shocked him to the core.
As the building "moved off its axis" and shelves crashed around him, he joined a panicked throng of people in a mad flight down a stairwell to the ground.
"We were outside and we could see the buildings rocking from side to side and the cars in the carpark were being pushed around," he said.
After the earthquake knocked out most of the country's train network, Mr Travers was forced to traipse about 40km through devastated areas back to Tokyo before spending a night staying with friends.
Mr Travers said he was relieved to be back with his wife, Hiromi, and daughters Mia, 6, and Enna, 2.