How I Survived: The Japan Tsunami

Hidekatsu Odira, 60, Fozukahara Neighborhood, Natori

Japan Tsunami

Wake of the Japan Tsunami     Photo: Yisris/Filckr

I was in my vegetable garden on a day off from work. My wife was doing errands farther inland. I was only able to escape because I saw the waves coming from the south, swallowing the rice fields. My dog, Love, was in the car—I put her there after the earthquake—and I ran to get her. I got cramps in my side running so fast from the waves. I pulled Love out. I probably ran faster than Usain Bolt, maybe 500 meters to the toll plaza by the elevated highway. There were 80 others up there on the roof. We watched the water take so much away. The neighborhood streets looked like a black river until 10 P.M., when the water receded. At midnight, the roads reopened and an aid bus picked us up. I went back to my home. It was built only ten years ago, but it’s not usable anymore: there’s too much water inside. What were the waves like? I couldn’t think anything or smell anything. My mind went blank. I can tell you this: now there are flowers growing near the rubble.

From Outside Magazine, Aug 2011 Get the Latest Issue

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