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Tsunami Tour (pics)

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Silver_nz   New Zealand. Oct 16 2015 16:06. Posts 5645

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.

Stealth Camping
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.

Stay true,

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 Last edit: 16/10/2015 16:14

Jamie217   Canada. Oct 16 2015 16:11. Posts 4351

Looks like a very cool trip, enjoy the rest of your travels!

Highcard   Canada. Oct 16 2015 16:18. Posts 5428

5 star
That is a ridiculous zoom.

I have learned from poker that being at the table is not a grind, the grind is living and poker is how I pass the time 

spets1   Australia. Oct 16 2015 16:27. Posts 2168

Fuck, awesome, are you still travelling?


Silver_nz   New Zealand. Oct 17 2015 06:20. Posts 5645

  On October 16 2015 15:27 spets1 wrote:
Fuck, awesome, are you still travelling?

Yes, I was wage-slaving for the first 5 months as an English teacher. I was very tight with my money so now I can coast out till the end of Dec when I return to NZ. Might get in a side trip to Taiwan or Beijing to get a taste of China too.

bigredhoss   Cook Islands. Oct 19 2015 10:10. Posts 8646

thanks for the update.

what did they pay you for teaching, and what did you think about that experience in general?

Truck-Crash Life 

Silver_nz   New Zealand. Oct 20 2015 06:07. Posts 5645

  On October 19 2015 09:10 bigredhoss wrote:
thanks for the update.

what did they pay you for teaching, and what did you think about that experience in general?

Around $2200 USD per month. Living costs, rent is about $600 per month if you sign up for a year I think.

It was high stress for me, I'm on the introverted side of things, so talking to people non-stop is not my strong point. There were around 5 hours of classes per day, and I had to spend several hours before classes started preparing. Average working day ended up being about 10 hours long (inc breaks and meetings and tidying up). That will be pushed down with experience though.

Experience on how to interact with children (hah, I used to be scared of even looking at a kid lest someone label me a pedophile), and how to keep conversations going, and how to learn effectively, the structure of language, Japanese working culture (its bleak).

Overall I think it was a worthwhile experience. I might do it again if I ever feel like another overseas experience (thinking about China), but I would definitely aim for part time hours.


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