The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Stepping Stones

The power of the Tsunami made clear in Shimo Masuda near Sendai Airport. The wave must have been ten metres high to breach the sea wall the man above is standing on. It went on to rip the concrete walkway off the top; destroying these steps along the way. It then carried large parts of the walkway and the heavy sea defense blocks inland nearly a 100 metres. The destruction of this once pretty town goes on for kilometres back from the beach though. The airport however is apparently operating again which is amazing when you consider what it looked like after the tsunami. Harrowing place, so empty, quiet  and lonely. The birds singing in the combed-flat  pine trees made it clear this was once a nice place to live. This fact is disturbingly clear when you zoom all the way into street view with Google maps, the aerial shots are post-tsunami but the street view is from before and makes for a sad little digital wander.

On the ground, picking your way across the ruins and sand with the  sea crashing and sucking at the damaged shore the place now scared me. I am wary of the ocean, especially along this coast, indeed the seaside will never quite feel the same probably.

Exhausted from driving around. will write more soon.

More images of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami at my archive site here.

Damon

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