Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Three Years Since Then

EMU E257-500 series, limited express Shiosai runs on the Sobu Main Line in Asahi City
Three years have passed since the 3.11 giant earthquake hit the eastern part of Japan. Nearly 20,000 people were killed mainly by a giant tsunami, which followed the powerful quake that day.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located offshore of the Tohoku District, far north of Chiba Prefecture; however, Asahi City in the prefecture, some 80km east of Tokyo, could not escape the disaster. This city suffered from the largest tsunami in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Its maximum height was 7.6m. A total of 13 people were killed and 320 houses were washed out.

Last weekend, I visited Cape Gyobu in Asahi City. I saw many tourists in the picturesque viewpoint park, where visitors could look over the disaster area. Today, most of the coastal area has been reconstructed. Many new houses are seen along the prefectural highway, but there are still plots of land that remain idle. I had no idea of where the residents had gone. A young couple was looking over their hometown from the viewing point without saying a word.

Fortunately, there was no severe railway damage in Chiba Prefecture. The tracks were saved by earthquake resistant constructions. Most of the routes are a bit far from the coast. I saw limited express train Shiosai, the EMU E257-500 series being operated on schedule as usual on the JR East Sobu Main Line in Asahi City.

Pray for the disaster area.

A young couple looks over their hometown from the viewpoint of Cape Gyobu in Asahi City