Masao Tachibana is a professional storyteller for Yamada town's tourism board. In his "tsunami talks", he allows visitors to explore various spots that were heavily affected by the 2011 disaster, all in the comfort of sitting in a car. Each location comes with a very detailed historical anecdote from Tachibana that describes the situation at the time of the calamity.
Originally from Morioka City (盛岡) in the Iwate Prefecture, Tachibana came to Yamada to build his business, Marine Taxi. Over time, he had grown to love the community as if it was his own hometown.
Then, March 11 came, with its record-breaking, treacherous combination of two forces of nature. As the tsunami made its way further inland, Tachibana says he watched the phenomenon happen from a nearby hill. All he could see was the black waters, swallowing and smashing everything in its path.
Despite the loss of hope and ceaseless obstacles that stood in its way, four years later Yamada is back on its feet, on its way to thriving again.
After the disaster, over 3000 people had fled the town with fear that life would never return to normal. But what motivated Tachibana to remain in Yamada?
With that commitment and goal in mind, Tachibana was determined to contribute to the reconstruction of the town as much as possible. The revival of Marine Taxi had not been easy, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer everyday. Tachibana claims that his way of giving back to the community has been through his "tsunami talks", and he hopes to further publicize the effects of the disaster through interaction with people of all generations.
This video captures the essence of this blog post but in a film format.
Check out my documentary on one family's recovery after the disaster.