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.
KORIYAMA, Fukushima—During my months of reporting and interviewing survivors about the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, one particular person stood out.
Ryo Kanouya, 26, can no longer live in his hometown village of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture because of its proximity to the Dai Ichi Nuclear Power Plant.
All of a sudden, the electricity cut out and the next moment my father yelled, ‘Come upstairs right away! After a while the tsunami hit my home, but it stood strongly against the current.
’I helped my grandmothers on their way up the stairs; they had weak backs and feet. 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. I thought we had survived, but this was only the beginning of the tsunami’s power.
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.
‘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.