Saturday, March 19, 2011


All week I've been trying to discover what happened to the town of Matsushima which was in the worst hit prefecture of the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. I spent a couple of days in Sendai and Matsushima last November and watched with horror live on TV as the Tsunami obliterated the Sendai coast and pushed as far inland as the airport. I havent heard any news coming out of Matsushima until I read a report about it in the March 18 Sydney Morning Herald where, a reporter, John Garnaut, made it into town and talked to one survivor Tetsuo who was hit by a 3 metre wave:

Tetsuo's water-logged home is in Matsushima. Matsu means ''pine'' and shima means ''island''. The town was [somewhat] protected by a stunningly beautiful maze of coves and islands, topped with bonsai-shaped Japanese pines, which kept the worst of the tsunami at bay...[But] half the town has been smashed to bits and most of the rest is still underwater. Teams of soldiers were pulling bodies from the river reeds when I cycled by. There are no food supplies, no fuel, little dry ground, and regular tsunami alerts broadcast from helicopters.

For me, last November, Matsushima was a tranquil oasis in a bustling modern Japan. I forgot my camera on the trip there but I took a couple of quick videos with the pinhole camera on my iPod nano that gives you some idea of how beautiful it was. I have no idea if it will ever be like this again.