Next week marks the 10th anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

Originally published at: Next week marks the 10th anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami | Boing Boing


I am continually amazed that I seem to get all my news about the aftermath of this from Harry Shearer’s Le Show. (He does a superb job of covering stories that ought to be all over our front pages but which aren’t because they are individually fairly minor. It’s just that when you put them all together, it’s horrifying.)


A reminder of this great story:

One of my son’s favorite movies is Ponyo, which came out in 2008. With the story’s ambiguous framing of life and death, and the scenes of Sōsuke’s mother outrunning waves, it is very strange to watch it after seeing the footage of the tsunami. I can’t imagine how it feels for people in Japan.


When the earthquake hit, I was nearly a thousand kilometers away in Kobe. As such, the shaking was slight, as though the building were being shaken by a strong gust of wind. But it lasted for well over a minute.

It was very much like my experience of 9/11. Information and footage was trickling in and being replayed ad nauseam, but we went to bed that night not knowing the full extent of what had happened. I think the count of confirmed deaths on that first day was about 300, but the news kept saying that that number was sure to rise. And this was before the nuclear power plant exploded.


The Reddit video was taken in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture.

Here’s how that exact location looks today on Google Street View (well, 2018):

The video was apparently taken in the tall building, which I believe is their city hall.


I visited Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture with my son in 2015, and we climbed the hill that many of the locals sought shelter on:

This was the view down towards the shoreline:

Outlines of streets filled in with vegetation where the houses used to be. The newest construction was the two new cemeteries in the middle of the image. The city of around 150k residents lost 3,097 to the tsunami.

Though all the stories and signs of reconstruction were heartening it was still quite chilling to stand there and see how defenceless humankind can be in the face of nature in full flow.


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