Tsunami: Japanese Surfer Rescues Family

As reported on articles.latimes.com

For one quake survivor, self-help in the face of seeming helplessness.hideaki-akaiwa

Hideaki Akaiwa, in Miyagi prefecture, has decided not to wait for rescue workers. With a scuba suit on, he waded through flooded streets to rescue his wife, and later his mother. He continues to look for more survivors.

Most of the dozens of tsunami-battered towns along Japan’s northeastern coast remain mired in mud, but the situation in Ishinomaki is a bit different. Nearly a week after the massive earthquake and tsunami hit the city of 162,000, large portions remain underwater, an instant lake clearly visible on NASA satellite photographs.

Whereas many Japanese have adopted the nation’s unofficial mantra: Shou ga nai, or, more politely, Shikata ga nai, loosely translated as, “What can you do?,” “It’s beyond our control” or “It’s out of my hands,” Akaiwa stands out as a virtual live-action hero.

Akaiwa said he was at work a few miles away when the tsunami hit, and he rushed back to find his neighborhood inundated with up to 10 feet of water. Not willing to wait until the government or any international organization did, or did not, arrive to rescue his wife of two decades — whom he had met while they were surfing in a local bay — Akaiwa got hold of some scuba gear. He then hit the water, wended his way through the debris and underwater hazards and managed to reach his house, from which he dragged his wife to safety.

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