[dropcap]K[/dropcap]esennuma township is in the Tsunami-stricken Tohoku region of northern Japan, so the journey to Koyo High School began with a 2.5 hour shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Ichinoseki, then a ninety-minute ride on a two-car, diesel-powered JR train east through mountainous terrain of Iwate to Kesennuma. Once there, we hired a taxi for the drive to the school. We opted for the long route, and a chance to see how the city was recovering, which led past the tsunami high-water mark and water-stained foundations down to the harbor and through areas that had been completely wiped away by the waves. By the looks of things, a small percentage of the wreckage remained and had mostly been piled discretely at a fair distance from the roads we travelled.
Much of the harbor area more closely resembled new residential sub-divisions, with the streets laid out cleanly and empty lots marked by concrete foundations. A lot of progress has been made in the past twelve months. However, occasionally we would pass lone, devastated houses that had been ignored in the neighborhood cleaning process. Apparently, no one from the house had survived to give clean-up permissions. From the back seat of a taxi speeding through the port, it was those buildings in particular; the untouched, unclaimed remains of wreckage, in such stark contrast with the newly-sanitized surroundings that more than anything else brought home on our visit how unimaginable a tragedy Kesennuma and the Tohoku region had endured on March 11, 2011.
- Video of what happened in Kesennuma on March 11, 2011
- Video of Koyo High School (the white four-story structure on the right) one month after the tsunami and its surroundings. According to the principal, water broke through 4th floor windows.
- Video of the February 24 trip to Kesenumma and the drive through town
- 360 Panorama of the temporary structure and location of Koyo High School
Photos of the model :
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