I went around northern Japan for a month, in my little K-car. The 2011 Tsunami struck the North east coast of Japan hardest, reaching 42m run-up height in places. I wanted to see the damage for myself, and also get a feel for how the rebuild is progressing after 4 years.
The height the Tsunami reached on this apartment building. Most damaged buildings had been cleared, but this one was left as a monument. Standing beside this building you struggle to imagine how much water was flowing through it.
My little car which I "borrowed" from an expat acquaintance. It's a K-car meaning it is tiny and has a 600cc engine, but its 4wd and light, and I don't care if it gets damaged because it cost me $300, so I can take it anywhere.
This train station near Matsushima has been abandoned since the Tsunami cut the train line. The rebuild of the new raised concrete track is slowly reconnecting stations, this one will be next.
Sea wall destroyed by the force of water.
The coast line around Miyagi and Iwate areas has many fjords that focused the Tsunami waves, making them bigger.
Modern Japanese construction is earthquake safe, but otherwise fairly flimsy from a structural point of view. The old style of construction found in this shrine however, was much stronger. Left standing with damaged roof tiles while the houses around it were washed away (I think that the gravestones were re-placed since the disaster)
I have more photos but many of them didn't capture the scale of the destruction. Or the massive size of the new sea walls and towering concrete overpass bridges that are being constructed across valleys. (Japan government response to the disaster has been to pump cash into major public works in the region - a coast expressway for one)
So here are some random photos:
Fox god? He bankin'
A normal car in Japan.
This angry squid asks you to stop littering in the sea.
In Japan it is generally legal to camp in public parks, roadsides or forest parks (though campgrounds are encouraged). Even though my Japanese is OK, rather than searching for guesthouses, booking, then checking in checking out and all that, it is much easier to go without an itinerary and see where the road takes me for the day. Japan has a very safe feeling, even more than New Zealand, I don't feel I am going to run into any angry people here, so summer camping is fine. And there are many Onsen (public baths) for luxurious cheap bathing. But still, I would rather not draw any attention. The hardest part is finding a place where my car will not be noticed, either blending in or hidden from the main roadways, then either reclining the drivers seat in my car, or...
Hennessy Hammock. It's a tent. That hangs from the trees. Great for forest camping as you don't need clear ground and can camp on a mountainside, where it is very unlikely anyone is going to notice. I stayed for 3 nights in the mountain at the center of a busy tourist town, Hakodate, left my pack and hammock tent in the mountain while I was out and about having basically the same overall experience as a tourist that pays $150 per night for a hotel.
The Advantage of camping on a hilltop is you are right there to greet the sunrise.
Hotel plebs are still driving to get to prime photo-taking locations while I am enjoying the morning light and still air at Matsushima Bay because I slept on the mountain.
The Nikon P610. 60x optical zoom. I bought this before my north Japan tour, took all the above photos with it. have never had a decent camera before. I say decent, it is actually a glorified point and shoot with a huge lens and fairly cheap at around $500, but its fine for my needs.
The port of Akita city. I meant to red square this, but there is a brown sawdust mountain at the factory at the top right, right?
Zoom in with the camera and this is what is there.
In a week or so I'm planning to visit the Nuclear exclusion zone in Fukishima, and sneak in if it is at all possible. (I'll only be there for a short time, not enough to get radiation sickness or risk cancer. Relax I have a physics degree!) So I'll see how that goes and maybe post a few more pictures.