When Tamura Takashi was growing up, his grandmother told stories of the terrible night American bombers turned the sacred city of Nagoya into a lake of fire.
“The next morning was so odd,” she said. “There was nothing left. No buildings, no trees, no people. Only miles of ashes as far as the eye could see.”
Takashi felt lucky to be born in a time when Japan was at peace with the world and such things belonged in the history books.
But when he exited the train at the Shinchi station as he had many times before, he had the same odd feeling his grandmother described. There was nothing left of the resort where his girlfriend had worked for two years. No shops, no trees, no buildings.
Her cellphone had been found a mile inland containing a final text he had never received: So much tsunami. Do not forget me.
On Friday, March 11, 2011, the 9.0 ōhoku Earthquake off the coast of Japan created a tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people. Many of the survivors never found out what happened to their loved ones.