Tokyobling's Blog

Remembering 3/11

Posted in Places by tokyobling on March 11, 2013

It’s been two years since the big earthquake struck the north east region of Japan. It was certainly a life changing event for everyone in the region, and also for many of us who lived hundreds of kilometers away. The same evening they opened the highway I was on my way. The strongest memory I have (rather silly but something that I can never wash out of my head) is the stench of the mud that covered everything, and got worse the closer to the destruction you got. All of these photos were taken more than 3 weeks after the earthquake, by which time many of the roads had been cleared.

There are still massive amounts of work to do to bring the tsunami hit areas back to something resembling a normal situation and a lot of people are critical of the pace of the government, but having been up there I am not surprised that things are taking time. It’s not even the seemingly straight forward question of rebuilding everything that was destroyed, we also need to consider for what reason we are rebuilding and how.

1. A train caught by the tsunami lies across a cemetary on top of a 24m tall hill overlooking Onagawa town, Miyagi prefecture. 2. A ship lies across a concrete building, on top of a car in Kesenuma city, Miyagi prefecture. 3. A tent to house a temporary morgue in Shiogama city, Miyagi prefecture. 4. A long distance travel coach washed off the highway south of Kesennuma city, Miyagi prefecture. I don’t know about survivors. 5. An announcement of the result of a building survey at what remains of the Saito residence, only the front gate pillar, Shiogama city, Miyagi prefecture. 6. Refugees at a temporary shelter in local high school, Higashimatsushima city, Miyagi prefecture. 7. Plum flowers in full bloom, outside Zuiganji Temple at Matsushima town, Miyagi prefecture. 8. Large vessel washed onto the harbor, Ishinomaki city, Miyagi prefecture. 9. Train washed onto Prefectureal Route 10, Sendai City, Miyagi prefecture. The nearest train track is 3-4km to the north. 10. Crushed crane truck outside the remains of a Lawson convenience store, Sendai city. 11. All that remains of Sakamoto station on the Joban line. I have heard that the station was evacuated before the tsunami struck. Yamamoto town, Miyagi prefecture. 12. A JR train from the Joban line crushed on top of the remains of Shinchi station, Shinchi town, Fukushima prefecture. All passengers of the train reportedly survived.














18 Responses

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  1. Hangaku Gozen said, on March 11, 2013 at 4:52 am

    It didn’t feel right to “Like” this post this time. These photos are powerful and sad, and I’m glad you posted them. They make me wish I could do more for the people of Fukushima and Miyagi prefecture.

    I suppose the plum blossom could represent hope, that someday these areas will flourish again?


    • tokyobling said, on March 13, 2013 at 3:45 am

      I want to do more! That is why I always make sure I buy stuff made in those areas if I have a choice! They will, maybe not in the conventional sense (factories, money, etc.), but in a quiet dignified beauty!


  2. zoomingjapan said, on March 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I think nobody will ever be able to forget about that day – and the following weeks.
    I also was in Japan when it happened, but luckily far enough away to not be affected by the earthquake or tsunami.
    Yet, I spent many sleepless nights in fear of what happened to my friends and the radiation.


    • tokyobling said, on March 13, 2013 at 3:46 am

      Thank you for the kind comment! Yes, this is one of those events that will stay with us forever… for better or worse!


  3. lovelycomplex22 said, on March 11, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I can’t even imagine what it must’ve felt like, and looking at all these images even 2 years later is quite hard. I think the most important thing now is to not forget that Tohoku still needs help. The media doesn’t cover it as much anymore, so everyone assumes that almost everything has been rebuilt and life is back to normal. Sadly that is not the case though 😦


    • tokyobling said, on March 13, 2013 at 3:47 am

      No, not the case at all. Still, a little bit at a time, slowly but surely, we’ll get there! Thank you for the kind comment!


  4. yoshizen said, on March 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Cool and warm eyed good report !
    The matter is, incredibly this is the situation still now.
    Your photos speaks louder than the words of politician.


  5. kaori said, on March 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    The time passed does not make it easier to look back on that day, and what followed. I agree with the commenter above who said we cannot forget that Tohoku still needs help. Thank you for your thoughtful words and haunting photos.


    • tokyobling said, on March 13, 2013 at 3:49 am

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment Kaori, I wish I could have done more when I was up there, but time and money was limited. Every little straw helps though.


  6. Randy said, on March 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Carry on Japan!!!


  7. Amy said, on March 11, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I don’t mean to “like”, but appreciate your post.


  8. maikaefer said, on March 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Maikaefer's Weblog.


  9. Dorita said, on March 12, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Hi Tokyobling,

    A year ago, I was tidying up my bookmarks and came across your blog.
    Don’t remember when or why I bookmarked it but I was really touched by your last year’s 3.11 post.
    I was gonna leave a comment but a year’s gone by. Still, better late that never so I’m writing this now.

    I live in Britain and having lived there as an foreigner for over 10 years, I always took an interest in and appreciated different people’s opinions from different countries and backgrounds.
    However after 3.11, I couldn’t bring myself to talk about the disaster with people around me here in Britain.
    My friends and colleagues would come and ask me if my family in Tokyo were okay. Then they go on to tell me about how terrible it was and all of their friends and relatives were leaving Tokyo or Japan.
    Most probably they did so with good intentions but my nerves were shredded into pieces at the time and their words only worsened my fear and worries.
    I also felt that some of them wanted to talk to me because they were excited about the disaster. Just like the times when I was glued to the TV back in 9/11/2001 and 7/7/2005. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t excited to see how 9.11 or 7.7 (in London) unfolded when I watched them on TV back then.
    Hypocrite I know but I realised how awful it all was.

    It’s been two years and I still freeze everytime someone mentions about the earthquake or the nuclear disaster. I don’t know if I ever will but reading the articles of your blog of that time helped me ease that uneasy feeling.

    I still very much worry about the future of Japan when I see politicians and other powers constantly letting the people down. I also think it’s not a good thing that the pro and anti nuclear power people are busy slandering each other and not thinking constructively about the future of energy sources.
    But when I look at your beautiful photos of Japan, they remind me that Japan is a beautiful country and there are hopes.

    So I’d like to thank you and your blog.
    Keep up the brilliant work, take care and look forward to the beautiful cherry blossom season. 🙂


    • tokyobling said, on March 13, 2013 at 3:53 am

      Thank you Dorita, for the long and thoughtful comment. I can appreciate your feelings about what happened, I saw many of the same things through incredibly sensationalist foreign media. I still stand by all the things I wrote back then, and I think it helped at least me balance myself, to put it all in writing like that. I’m glad I could help at least someone abroad.

      Next thing coming up though, cherry blossoms!


  10. Timi said, on March 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I just read yesterday about this in a local news site, and nowthese shots surely make everyone remember. Hope You are better already, and if nothing else, time is flying and will help move on again, as always.


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