“I want to go home”. A woman calls her husband from the roof of a building, ten meters high, while the mad sea rises with a strength and speed that take your breath away. Then silence. Yasuo Takamatsu, now 64 years old, he realizes that he will never see Yuko again, his beloved lifelong companion. It is March 11, 2011. A devastating earthquake, at 2:46 pm local time, raised the ocean floor off Tohoku, northeastern Japan, unleashing a tsunami with waves exceeding 700 kilometers per hour of horizontal speed and twenty meters high.
Miyagi prefecture is among the hardest hit. Takamatsu’s wife – working in a bank in Onagawa, a fishing port – followed the emergency directions and moved, with her colleagues, on top of the building instead of following instinct and fleeing up the much higher hill. Of all the employees only one will be able to escape. Not Yuko: the cold and murderous sea took her away along with other 800 of the 10 thousand residents of the village. Of the more than 15,000 total victims of the earthquake-tsunami, 2,500 have not yet been recovered. With each passing day the company becomes more and more desperate.
But Yasuo Takamatsu, still tied to those words – “I want to go home” – uttered with the love and dismay of those who know they are hopeless, he never gave up on reality. In the aftermath of the tragedy, he thought there was only one way to continue the sea search: to do it himself. So he took diving lessons and got his diving license. Then, with the stubbornness and tenacity that only a single bond could give him, in the last seven years he dived into the oceanor along the Onagawa coast whenever he could. “I am still convinced that she is there, somewhere – Takamatsu told theAp -. I know that Yuko is close ».
Onagawa, ten years later, was rebuilt. It has once again become that village in symbiosis with a sea-master of life and death of the inhabitants. But the invisible scars of those who have lost a family member in the tsunami will remain for a long time. Not everyone has the strength to turn pain into inexhaustible fuel, as happened to Yasuo. “I – he said again – will continue to immerse myself until my body is able to do so, until my limbs have the strength to move”.
The task is huge. The weekly dives allowed man to recover many objects: photographs, furnishings. But nothing that belonged to his wife, nothing that could reveal a trace. Yasuo is left alone the words spoken by Yuko in the last moments of its existence, on a roof too low to stem the force of the current. “He asked me how I was, if everything was ok.” And then that sentence: I want to go home. Yasuo is convinced that Yuko still wants him: “I will find her and bring her back to me.”
March 11, 2021 (change March 11, 2021 | 20:25)