The video: In the days following Japan's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, YouTube lit up with footage shot by witnesses to the disaster. But perhaps the most terrifying video took more than two weeks to emerge. In a five-minute clip (watch it below), a camera-equipped bystander in the northeast town of Kesennuma takes refuge on a tall building's roof as frighteningly powerful waves roll across the town's seaside road, sweeping up cars as if they were children's toys. The water rapidly builds, before quickly overwhelming most of Kesennuma's small buildings. At the 2:54 mark, a stranded boater can be seen struggling unsuccessfully to beat back the current; in a matter of 180 seconds, most of the town has been consumed by an unstoppable torrent of black water.
The reaction: This might be the "most insane" footage to date, says AllahPundit at Hot Air. "By the end of the clip, if not for that lone building on the right edge of the frame, you wouldn’t know civilization had been there." Truly, footage like this makes the terrible truth of what happened in Japan come to life, says Alex Alvarez at Mediaite. Actually witnessing such destruction "helps put things in perspective, and brings a dose of reality where words and still images cannot." Watch the incredible footage:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Save the world... by changing how you pee
- Why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Does solar energy have a battery problem?
- How to be a moral internet citizen on the often-immoral internet
- 7 common estate-planning mistakes
Subscribe to the Week