A few months after the earthquake, I went to the city most affected by the disaster - Ishinomaki. There, I covered the relief efforts of the volunteer group called Peace Boat.
Here we see some volunteers singing the Anpan-man song to get their spirits up before they start work for the day.
Zooming back in time - we drove about 5 hours North through the city of Sendai onto Ishinomaki.
Arrival in Ishinomaki. This area was completely flooded.
Some boots and gloves for the volunteers. Most of the volunteer work is heavy duty.
Peace Boat set up headquarters in an Izakaya restaurant.
Meeting with one of the Peace Boat team leaders.
Pretty much all of this area on low land was hit by the tsunami.
Going through photos taken by Peace Boat shortly after the tsunami hit.
In the kitchen they prepare food to be taken out to the evacuation centers.
Taking a look at what this street looked like just after the tsunami.
This main street was flooded for weeks.
Messages for hope written on Ema wooden plaques.
There are many types of work that Peaceboat do. One is to clear out the drains which are clogged up with mud from the tsunami.
Its obviously not just Peace Boat helping out - Ishinomaki is filled with folks working on the restoration of the city.
"Ganbappe" is a Tohoku dialect for the term "Ganbatte" which means "to fight" or "stay strong."
Its important to help shop owners back on their feet too - here we have some students helping restore piano's.
The food being prepared earlier on is ready to be taken out to the needy.
This building is being used to stock and hand out supplies and food to the needy nearby. The route to this area had been heavily damaged making it difficult especially for the elderly to get supplies from town.
The volunteers not only bring food and supplies but try to cheer up folks as much as possible. There is warm laughter as food is handed out.
This whole area was submerged under water.
My guide for the day.
You probably would have seen many videos of Ishinomaki being engulfed by water from this viewpoint. Folks at the time described the incoming tsunami as a "Black Mountain."
Now we are at Senshu University where part of it is being used to house the volunteers and supplies.
Many brands contributed supplies directly to the relief efforts.
The volunteers stay in tents in the university grounds.