Meanwhile there was [just] a centimeter space where water lapped against the ceiling. And I swirled outside of my house, the insanely violent current pulled me out like water down a drain. I was drained from my house into the soup of seawater, cars, houses, and everything the tsunami carried. My father and I recognized each other, [but] I watched him get washed away toward the mountainside. I took off my jacket and searched for something that I could grab.
I prayed that the water level would not get any higher. Luckily a drawer for clothes came floating toward me and I climbed onto it. But I realized the incredible current was rapidly pulling me toward the ocean at high speed.
‘I walked, ignoring the pain in my body and feet, and kept calling out ‘Anyone alive!? When we crossed the bridge, I found my acquaintance and he took us to the evacuation camp.
I can’t remember how long after we got there, but we were evacuated from there because of the core meltdown of the reactors at Dai-Ichi almost immediately. First it was only a few miles away, than more and more and eventually the exclusion zone as it is today was established. He is traveling through Japan with the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship to report on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima.
I looked outside toward the ocean through a window and I saw something like smoke rolling over the trees planted along the coast to stop sand coming from the beach. The water level rapidly grew higher and higher until it reached the ceiling.
At one moment I thought I’d try to get outside, however, the current’s velocity was too strong and my efforts proved impossible.A wrecked car sits along the coastal plane of Namie, a year after the tsunami.Since the tsunami, residents have been allowed to enter the town for only a few hours during the day, however no one is permitted to stay over night. The next moment I heard [a] cracking sound made by my home’s destruction.Kanouya, who now lives in the neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture, agreed to share with me his harrowing near-death experience from that March day five years ago.The following account has been edited for length and clarity.“I was at work when the earthquake struck.When I got to the ground I looked out at my destroyed town.I hid next to a giant rock to avoid the strong seaside gusts.The waves caused widespread devastation washing away cars like they were sticks, collapsing buildings and destroying roads and highways.Causes This Tsunami costed the Japanese government 25 trillion yen (0 billion) dollars.I remember one girl in particular floating away on top of a drawer like the one I was on, I don’t know what happened to her.I waited there until the water level got low, slowly making my way down as the water receded until I was back on solid ground.