Laurier Tiernan was startled out of sleep by the wail of air raid sirens.
Within seconds, a bing, bing, bing of the cell phone also alerted him to approaching danger.
A North Korean missile was flying over Japan.
The Edmonton-born musician and his wife Eiko were directly in the flight path.
‘It was very eerie’
“On Tuesday morning, there was a siren that I had never heard before. It was very eerie,” Tiernan said in an interview Wednesday with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM. “My wife’s phone alarm went off, shortly after these strange alarms.
“My wife dove for her phone and she said, ‘Oh my God, there are missiles from North Korea headed in our direction.’ “
The missile was launched from near North Korean capital Pyongyang and flew about 2,700 kilometres, reaching an unconventionally low altitude of about 550 km, according to the Japanese government.
People living beneath the missile’s flight path received an alert on their cellphones at 6:02 a.m., just minutes after the projectile was launched.
Public television programs in Japan were interrupted with a warning screen announcing the missile’s flight over the country, as bullet trains were halted.
In earthquake-prone Japan, public alerts advising the public to seek emergency shelter are commonplace.
Since moving from Edmonton to Japan more than a decade ago, earthquakes have become almost mundane for Tiernan, who likens them to “rain in Vancouver.”
But the warning on Tuesday was both rare and terrifying, he said.
The village of Noshiro, Japan where Tiernan and his wife were visiting her parents, is rural and isolated.
The community, in Akita Prefecture, near the northern island of Hokkaido, still relies on public loudspeakers on posts to announce breaks and meal times for farm workers.
Tiernan knew the siren at…