Tag Archives: Great Tohoku Earthquake

March 11, 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

It’s been 6 years since the earthquake and a while since I’ve posted here. But I’ve started something new! I’m now running a science channel on YouTube, and my first feature science video is about megathrust earthquakes and the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Check it out!

If you were in Japan at the time, what are some of your memories of the earthquake? Let me know in the comments section below.

Leave a comment

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It’s the third anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami of 2011.  Hard to believe it’s been that long.  I remember that day very well as if it were less than a year ago.  I’m going to go back in time and show you my posts after this event.

On the day of the earthquake, I posted this short post, letting people know I was fine.  The next day, I posted this quick update. On March 13th, I posted this long account of my day. If you read any of these posts, that’s the one to read.  At the time, I was still doing my first Picture of the Week series, and I posted a picture of the supermarket shelves.  On March 16th, there was an earthquake at Mt. Fuji.

After the earthquake, there was a lot of media attention, much of it about the nuclear meltdown in progress in Fukushima.  The situation continues there, and it hasn’t improved.  It turned out that both the government and the officials at the nuclear plant covered up the truth about what was really happening.  I’m quite disappointed in how the government handled things.  It’ll be a very long time until anyone can go into the affected area again.

I’d also like to draw your attention to a post I made on my writing blog, I Read Encyclopedias for Fun.  It’s all about what an earthquake feels like.

Comments are always welcome!


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Exploring Iwate

This week in Exploring Japan, we look at Iwate Prefecture, one of the prefectures severely damaged by the 2011 tsunami.

Iwate is in the Tohoku region on the eastern side, facing the Pacific Ocean.  It’s one of the nearest prefectures to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake.  The population is 1,330,530.  Morioka is the capital city.  The 5 largest cities are:

  1. Morioka (300,740)
  2. Ichinoseki (128,571)
  3. Oshu (127,804)
  4. Hanamaki (102,455)
  5. Kitakami (93,142)

Iwate’s population has been dropping for many years, as people move away to the big cities. Many of the coastal cities and towns have been severely damaged or destroyed due to the tsunami. It’s safe to visit those areas now, but the cleanup and rebuilding continue. If you do visit the coastal regions, be sure to spend some money to help the local economy.


Morioka Castle in Morioka was one of those castles built without a main tower.  Instead, a turret was built.  However, all buildings were demolished during the Meiji Restoration, and nothing has been rebuilt.  However, the stone walls made of white granite remain and Iwate Park occupies the castle grounds.

Things to see and do

I never really knew much about Iwate, other than the fact that Morioka is the sister city of Victoria, BC, where I went to university.  But I understand that there’s some amazing skiing in Iwate.

Morioka has a great view of Mt. Iwate.  But what is there to do?  You could visit Morioka Zoo.  There are a couple of festivals that seem quite interesting.  The big one is Sansa Odori, which is the taiko drum festival in summer, and supposedly has 100,000 participants.  Chagu Chagu Umakko is a parade with around 100 horses that are decorated.  Iwate Museum of Art has some local art. Hoonji looks to be an interesting Zen Temple.

Hachimantai is a small city that is known for just one thing, All Season Resort APPI.

Hanamaki has some hot springs, and also the Kenji Miyazawa Museum.  There are some festivals, such as Hanamaki Matsuri, which has many synchronized dances, including the dance of the deer (Shishi Odori).

Hiraizumi is probably the biggest attraction in Iwate.  Several sites in this town became a World Heritage Site in 2011.  It rivaled Kyoto in size at one time.  Chusonji temple is famous for its Golden Hall.  Motsuji temple is known for its Pure Land Garden. Kanjizaio-in Ato was a garden, but is now more of a park.  Muryoko-in Ato used to be a temple, but only the pond remains. Yanaginogosho Iseki is the site of the former palace, though only the foundation and pond remain. The final World Heritage Site is Mt. Kinkeisan, where Buddhist sutras were once buried.  There are other attractions, as well.  Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamon-do is a cave temple that looks very interesting.

Ichinoseki has some interesting sights.  There are a couple of gorges that look worth seeing, including Genbikei and Geibikei.  Tsuriyama is a hill that is supposed to be beautiful when cherry trees are blooming.  Haishiwa Shrine is at the top of a hill with huge trees and very long staircase.  The Yuugendou caves also look quite interesting.

Iwaizumi, a small town, is famous for its caves.  Ryusendo is one of the largest limestone caves in Japan.  There’s also the Sugawatari Tankendo Cave and the Kumanohana Observatory.

Tono is a small city that’s famous for its folktales.  The Folk Villages are traditionally built and have artisans making traditional crafts. The largest is Tono Furusato Village.  There are a couple of museums, the Tono Municipal Museum and the Tono Castle Town Materials Museum.  Fukusenji temple has a five storey pagoda that’s apparently quite beautiful. Jokenji temple has Kappabuchi, a pond that is said to be the home of kappa, which are mythical water creatures.

I would list some other cities or towns, but those that have been omitted were damaged so severely that the sites likely don’t exist anymore.  If they do still exist or have been rebuilt or restarted, please leave a comment.


Wanko Soba is a popular dish that consists of a small portion of soba noodles and some condiments.  It’s also popular to eat it as all-you-can-eat.

Have you been to Iwate? Did I miss anything?  Leave your recommendations in the comments.


Filed under Iwate, Japan


It has been one year since the Great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.  At least 16,000 died in the tsunami.  It feels like a long time since the disaster, yet it also feels very fresh in my memory.  That day changed the lives of millions of people in Japan, hundreds of thousands displaced and homeless.  At 2:46 pm today, people all over Japan mourned the dead.  3/11 is a day I will never forget.  Too many people seem to have forgotten.  Not enough has been done for the victims and the homeless.  Too much emphasis has been put on the nuclear meltdown, pushing aside the actual victims, those who had died from the tsunami.

A year ago today, I experienced something only a small percentage of people in the world ever experience.  Those of you who have never experienced anything like this probably wouldn’t understand what it felt like.  Words fail me when I try to explain it.

For the victims of the tsunami, please do not forget.

A parade for the memory of 3/11.


Filed under Festivals & Events, Japan

A letter to selfish Canadians regarding tsunami debris

I was reading the news on CBC’s website today, and came across an article about how the cleanup of tsunami debris will be quite difficult when it hits the west coast of Canada.  It’s quite understandable that it’ll require a lot of effort to clean up, but when I read the comments, I was disgusted.  But what would you expect from the average commenter on the Internet?  I’d like to address some of the moronic points brought up by some selfish idiots who call themselves Canadian.

Japan should pay for the cleanup.  I don’t think so.  Natural disasters have no borders, and they are not the responsibility of the local government when it affects other countries.  Japan is going to be paying for the recovery from this disaster for many years.  The Vancouver area is also expecting a megathrust earthquake of around magnitude 9.0 in the near future.  What should happen when it happens?  Vancouver will be devastated, I’m quite sure.  Should all other countries just sit by and watch what happens and not offer any support?  Japan, with its extensive experience with earthquakes, will probably be one of the first countries to offer assistance to Canada.  The debris from Canada’s likely earthquake will spread to Alaska.  Will the USA demand that Canada pay for the cleanup?  Not likely.  So why is it that a handful of selfish idiots in Canada would demand that Japan pay for the cleanup?  Show some humanity, you morons.  No one is demanding Iceland pay for damages caused by the volcano.  No one is demanding the USA pay for flooding of the Red River in Manitoba.

Japan should be punished because they hunt whales.  This is unrelated!  How dare you think this is some kind of retribution for a whale hunt?  Besides, this is hypocritical.  What about the seal hunt in Canada that is condemned by many around the world?

Japan is at fault because they build along the coast.  What?  Every single country in the world with access to the ocean does that!  Okay then, abandon Vancouver and Victoria.  Everyone should move inland.  Also, most habitable land in Japan is coastal.  Inland areas are mostly mountains and uninhabitable by large populations.  Or are you suggesting that Japan start leveling some mountains to build new inland cities?  Idiots.

The whaling ships should be used to clean up this debris.  I don’t understand how this would be possible.  That’s a tiny number of ships and a huge amount of debris.  It’s not physically possible.  Think with your brain, if you have one.

The Japanese destroyed a whole ocean ecosystem.  Uh, how did the Japanese people cause the earthquake and tsunami.  You, sir, are an idiot.

Japan should be embarrassed by this mess.  Yes, they should be very embarrassed about having a natural disaster that was not their fault.  Again, only idiots make statements like this.

“A single minor earthquake in Kobe killed thousands ruined Japan’s economy. A stronger earthquake struck Seattle years later with no deaths and only minor damage.” Kobe’s earthquake was shallow, and it was not minor.  It caused a lot of damage because it was shallow.  Seattle’s earthquake in 2001 was quite deep, which is why it did not cause much damage.  I was living in Victoria at that time, so I was also a “victim” of that earthquake.  If it had been a shallow earthquake, the devastation would have been far, far worse.  March’s earthquake was a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, and the 4th largest recorded in the world!  It’s a very unfair comparison.  Seattle and Vancouver will likely be devastated in the Cascadia megathrust earthquake that’s expected.

There are more comments that are stupid and uneducated, but these are the worst of them.  Japan went through a massive disaster, thousands of people died and are still homeless, a large amount of rebuilding needs to be done, and all these idiots can think of is themselves.  For those of you who agree with the ignorant statements I mentioned, you should remove yourself from society and spend the rest of your lives living in some dark hole in the ground, or at least get some kind of education in humanity.  You are not human, you are garbage.


Filed under Canada, Japan