A short story entitled
A man named HIKOBE and tsunami
HIKOBE was surprised at large and long shaking. He jumped out of his house to the garden. He scared if the ceilings would break down. He squatted down because he could not stand. Three minutes or more it kept on shaking strongly and weakly. At last it calmed down. But absentmindedly he could not stand up for a while. Then HIKOBE took fresh heart. He stood and said to himself intuitively, “This is not an ordinary earthquake. Tsunami must be coming”! When he looked into his house, the chests and most of other things were tumbled over and there was no place to step in.
HIKOBE’s house was located in the suburb of a small fishermen’s
port village that is facing to SANRIKU Coast of Tohoku area in Japan. It
was about two miles away from the port. Small hill was just behind his
house and it was built on the edge. It was a two-storied house which was
rare at that time. After his parents died, he was a single. He made his
living by fishing. He often heard old stories from HIKOBE’s great grandfather,
who was at the age of ninety then: Tsunami hit this village when a lot
of people were killed and many houses were broken and floated away. HIKOBE
had ever heard this kind of stories many times in his childhood. Tsunami
came under that blue rock but never went over it in his era. He was not
sure about the older age. There was a black rock.
Some letters were carved on it. It was hard to read them because of the weathering. They used to make distinction of each letters: Tsunami. Never build any house below this level. He taught another lesson. HIKOBE knew about these two rocks and understood what they meant. The blue rock was about the middle point, which was a little bit closer to sea, of the port and his house. The blue rock was about ten yards from the sea. On the other side, the black rock was in the woods near his house. It was on the higher place of the small hill which can be come up through the path split at the lower level from the road to the port. It was about 1.5 mile from the seashore.
HIKOBE got recovered from the shock of the big earthquake and remembered the lesson of his great grandfather. Tsunami will probably come. He made up his mind to depend on the village chief for help. In this area people were expected to do so when the disaster such as food, earthquake, and Tsunami came up.
HIKOBE thought that he was not in the higher class so he would dress according to it.
He wore long boots
and a paddled dressing gown. Then he went out. He arrived at the leader’s
house, ten people including young and old, men and women, had already gathered
in hurry. They all got there with the clothes they happened to wear. The shoes
they put on were straw sandals or wooden clogs except HIKOBE’s boots. At last relatively older chief appeared. He checked how they dressed. After
that he opened his mouth slowly. The shaking of the earth quake was quite
big. Tsunami must be coming. So we all have to escape to the higher place
for a long time. Some of us have problem.
The shoes are not suitable for walking the slope. Let’s go home and change to boots like HIKOBE. He went back to his house. They were convinced by his explanation and began to go home. HIKOBE was alone because he didn’t have to go home to change his shoes. One or two minutes later he heard the voice, “Tsunami hit our port”. He was surprised at it and stared at the road down to the seashore. Huge mountainous wave rushed toward his place with high column of water. “Oh, tsunami is really coming,” he cried. Gradually it showed off its terrible tremendous power of destruction. Black, dark, and muddy stream of water washed away all the things in its direction. Floating remains of broken boats, ships, tall trees, it rapidly came nearer to the hill. The speed of its moving seemed to be sixty six miles per hour. Black small figures were seen. They were trying to run away and get on the upper hill. Some had a narrow escape, and others were caught up with by the tsunami. They were swallowed up by it and they were gone.
When HIKOBE saw tsunami approaching toward his place, he immediately began to run to the upper hill at the full speed, crying “Danger!” HIKOBE went up the hill, being short of breath. The water came up to his feet. He was in danger. He thought he would be one of victims. He might be caught by it. Barely he escaped to the safe height.
He survived. After that he looked back below. Tsunami had crushed houses like a muddy stream and run toward upper part of the river. The roof of the village chief house floated on the tide. The houses near HIKOBE’s could not be seen. He searched for his own house. He could see only the two-storied part. The chief and other ten people who went home to change their shoes never appeared on the hill behind, how long he waited for them. The water withdrew after a while. The very next day HIKOBE noticed that the black rock on the surface of the upper part of the hill by the roadside had been struck by the tsunami and the black rock were naked. He knew the tsunami had hit the height of the black rock of old stories he had ever heard.
Written by Shu-he KASAHARA
Notice: This story is a fiction. Some parts might include true stories which I heard from the survivors. I hope this story will be used for teaching some lessons about tsunami like Great earthquake of Eastern Japan on March 11, 2011.