Tide of disaster: The mass of everyday items washed out to sea by Japanese tsunami begins to reach North America
By Leon Watson
PUBLISHED: 04:45 EST, 25 April 2012 | UPDATED: 04:52 EST, 25 April 2012
They were items used in everyday life in Japan, but now they're poignant reminders of devastating tragedy 4,000 miles away.
Thousands of bits of debris washed out to sea by the Japanese tsunami a year ago have started turning up on the North American coast.
Everything from hardhats to spray cans have been found on Long Beach, Tofino, Canada, having been carried across the Pacific Ocean by the tides.
Ocean debris believed to be from the Japanese tsunami washed up on Long Beach, Tofino, Canada
No-one can be sure they come from the disaster, but the sheer quantity - and the fact many of them are recognisably Japanese - suggests they almost certainly are.
Items have already been recovered in Alaska and it is thought there is a giant field of debris out to sea will start coming ashore soon, further and further south.
In fact, there is so much being recovered, one man have even started turning it into sculptures to commemorate the disaster that killed 16,000 people.
Artist Peter Clarkson created a totem pole that he has been building in Tofino with what he believes are tsunami-related Japanese floats, barrels and Styrofoam.
Experts in ocean currents say that a large debris field of various materials is out to sea and could be coming towards North America
Locals say the debris coming ashore lately has what looks to be Japanese writing on it and could be related to the Japanese tsunami
Poignant reminders: A Japanese bucket washed up on Long Beach, Tofino, Canada, and a fuel can
This block is believed to have travelled 4,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to Canada
While yet to be raised, he says the totem links Japan and Canada and raises awareness about the ongoing problem of ocean garbage.
Last week a Japanese teenager who lost his home in the disaster spoke of his delight after his football washed up on a remote Alaskan beach 3,500 miles away.
Misaki Murakami, 16, came forward to reveal that he was the owner of the ball discovered by American radar technician David Baxter on Middleton Island.
Items have also been recovered in Alaska and it is thought there is a giant field of debris out to sea will start coming ashore soon
A toothbrush is just one of the thousands of items making their way to shore after crossing the Pacific
Washed up: This bottle of Roots is inscribed with Japanese writing
Mr Baxter, who also found a volleyball while out beachcombing, now plans to travel with his wife Yumi across the Pacific to return the ball.
Misaki, who lost all his cherished possessions in the tsunami that killed 19,000 people
and unleashed a nuclear disaster, said: 'It was a big surprise. I've never imagined that my ball has reached Alaska.
A Japanese water bottle that may have been thrown into the sea by the tsunami
Artist Peter Clarkson poses with a portion of a totem pole that he has been building in Tofino, British Columbia
'I've lost everything in the tsunami. So I'm delighted. I really want to say thank you for finding the ball.'
A Japanese fishing vessel was found afloat off the Alaskan Coast earlier this month, having drifted across the Pacific after the disaster.
Power: A wall of water crashes over a street in Miyako City, Japan during last year's devastating tsunami there
Pleased: Misaki Murakami, 16, has recovered one of the many possessions he lost in the tsunami after his football was found in Alaska
Debris: A soccer ball that washed up on Middleton Island, about 70 miles from mainland Alaska, has been traced to a Japanese school in an area hit by the tsunami
Reeling: A Japanese fishing vessel stays afloat off the Alaskan Coast before being pummeled by cannon fire by the U.S. Coast Guard earlier this month, having drifted across the Pacific after the disaster
About Article Author