Here's a couple of videos taken from Kobe as the quake kicks in.
A lot of talk about running out of the building as a quake happens, but judging from how much the buildings are moving, I'd say it would be very hard to navigate your way out of the door, especially if the door is blocked by one of the cupboards.
To add, it may be at night and the lights are out.
The Kobe quake was a duration of 20 seconds.
By the time the quake started and you've managed to pick yourself up off the floor, move several items that are blocking doors, forced the door open if the frame has been bent out of shape, and then got down several flights of stairs, safely, the quake would have been over.
And all of this whilst trying to remain upright.
You can see how strong the quake was from the initial jolt and seemed to calm down towards the end of the videos.
Must have seemed like a lifetime though.
In the second video you can see the motion that the quake sends the building in...almost circular.
Again, the running out of the building theory doesn't seem an option.