Facing the Wave A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami A passionate student of Japanese poetry theater and art for much of her life Gretel Ehrlich felt compelled to return to the earthquake and tsunami devastated Tohoku coast to bear witness listen to

  • Title: Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami
  • Author: Gretel Ehrlich
  • ISBN: 9780307907318
  • Page: 374
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A passionate student of Japanese poetry, theater, and art for much of her life, Gretel Ehrlich felt compelled to return to the earthquake and tsunami devastated Tohoku coast to bear witness, listen to survivors, and experience their terror and exhilaration in villages and towns where all shelter and hope seemed lost In an eloquent narrative that blends strong reportage, pA passionate student of Japanese poetry, theater, and art for much of her life, Gretel Ehrlich felt compelled to return to the earthquake and tsunami devastated Tohoku coast to bear witness, listen to survivors, and experience their terror and exhilaration in villages and towns where all shelter and hope seemed lost In an eloquent narrative that blends strong reportage, poetic observation, and deeply felt reflection, she takes us into the upside down world of northeastern Japan, where nothing is certain and where the boundaries between living and dying have been erased by water The stories of rice farmers, monks, and wanderers of fishermen who drove their boats up the steep wall of the wave and of an eighty four year old geisha who survived the tsunami to hand down a song that only she still remembered are both harrowing and inspirational Facing death, facing life, and coming to terms with impermanence are equally compelling in a landscape of surreal desolation, as the ghostly specter of Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear power complex, spews radiation into the ocean and air Facing the Wave is a testament to the buoyancy, spirit, humor, and strong mindedness of those who must find their way in a suddenly shattered world.

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    One thought on “Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami”

    1. Too episodic for my tastes. The author travels in Japan after the earthquake / tsunami / and nuclear power melt down in 2011. Each chapter is a short little episode, many quite varied in character. There are blog entries, scientific facts about the melt down, criticism of government policies and travel notes. The best parts are poetically written; they relate how particular individuals experienced the waves, the fear, the typhoon. Sumalee Montano, with her Japanese accent, gave a delightful rend [...]

    2. Facing the Wave is a chronicle of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear plant meltdown that took place in northeast Japan on March 11, 2011. The devastation was overwhelming; 20,000 people were missing or dead and complete towns were destroyed. The Oshika Peninsula sank 4 feet (1.2 meters) and moved 17 feet (5 meters) east. There were tremendous amounts of radiation released into the atmosphere and the sea.The author, Gretel Ehrlich, was familiar with Japan before the disaster. She is a long-time stude [...]

    3. I've been a fan of Gretel Ehrlich for such a long time. Her deep sense of ethics. Her courage, both intellectual (she is unafraid to swerve away from straight narrative, from facts, and so all of her books are a--to me--magical blend of the reportorial, the descriptive, and the lyric) and physical (she spent months researching this particular book in Japan, where she was exposed to high levels of radiation, continuing earthquakes, a typhoon). Her tremendous and palpable passion for the natural w [...]

    4. FACING THE WAVE describes the recent Japanese earthquake, Tsunami, and tropical storm. Although I appreciate Ehrlich's effort to document these terrible disasters, I am disappointed by this book. I love some of Ehrlich's writing, and this book made the long list for the National Book Awards in nonfiction. But for me, the style was too choppy; FACING THE WAVE is largely a catalog of brief encounters with people or descriptions of events that Ehrlich experienced while on two trips to Japan after t [...]

    5. This is a series of stories regarding some of those impacted by the March 2011 triple devastation in Japan. First the 9.0 earth quake, following by a 35-30 ft. tsunami, which then led to the devastation of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The author is a journalist who interviewed those who survived and lost family members, fishermen whose livelyhood was wiped out, never to be restored. In addition, the author focused on the spirituality of the nation and interviewed monks and those wh [...]

    6. Doesn't quite cohere. In so many ways, this book is pitched at me. It is told in a fragmented, impressionistic style, with unexpected jumps. The author has a poetic voice. She starts from a single events and meditates on big questions.The subject is close to me. It is about the tsunami that hit northern Japan in 2011, the one that melted down the nuclear reactor that still leaks radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. I lived in northern Japan for three years, from 2003-2006.So, I really wante [...]

    7. Japan is the only country in the world to have felt the wrath of a nuclear weapon. Within the space of three days, it experienced this twice. Sixty-six years later, Japan suffered an earthquake and tsunami that, combined, was 8,000 times more powerful that the atomic bombs dropped in 1945. With the waters of the Pacific Ocean still soaking Japanese soil contaminated by radiation, Gretel Ehrlich writes of the people who survived. There's a romanticism we tend to associate with the Japanese. Perha [...]

    8. I can't imagine trying to understand the Japanese earthquake/tsunami disaster of 3/11/11 without reading this book. The short, episodic chapters recount the author's visit to the area after the disaster and her encounters with survivors and their stories. She narrates her growing understanding of how the larger picture of radiation contamination and the ecological disaster continues to affect the people, the land and the future. It was a very sobering, personal look at an event I can't even begi [...]

    9. Moving, thoughtful work on the Japanese people who survived the tsunami several years ago. Gretel Ehrlich, the author was a scholar of Japanese poetry and art, she has a strong connection to the people there. As an observer and writer, she took down the stories of survivors over several months. The first part tells of survivors of the first wave when houses, buildings and people disappeared. Later survivor accounts discuss the aftermath of living near the area still or having to leave for housin [...]

    10. Gretel Ehrlich is an excellent writer about different places, especially the Arctic. In this book, she visits the area of Japan that was hardest hit by the Tsunami in March 2011 three and nine months after the event. She goes up and down the coastline talking to people as they learn to survive in the tsunami's aftermath. One gets to know these people well and how they learn to deal with their new lives. Her style is quite poetic and sad.

    11. Gretel Ehrlich visits to the Tohoku coast to document personal accounts after the great earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 and how it changed lives. The stories are tragic and heartbreaking but what is overwhelmingly apparent is how resilient the survivors are. The book is wonderful but the audiobook narrator's monotonous voice didn't convey the power of the events shared within, so perhaps stick with the physical/ebook if you should read.

    12. The writing style was almost more poetic than anything else, but still did a good job of conveying the horror and sorrow of the tsunami and how it affected the people.

    13. Story of beautiful people in the time of disaster. Makes me think about Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in dealing with Harvey. What a contrast!!

    14. A fascinating perspective from the points of view of genuine Japanese people whose spirits and determination shine through the tragedy and its aftermath; distracted by the author's insertion of her own gaijin perspectives voiced in overwrought metaphors and stilted poetic expressions.

    15. Like everyone else around the world, I watched in horror as Japan's coast was devastated by the tsunami on March 11, 2011. The horror was mingled with an awe so strong that it is hard to put into words - Mother Nature's strength and power were absolutely overwhelming, even from the safety of my living room so many miles away. As our concern grew for the exchange students we had hosted, both after the original earthquake and then after the tsunami, it was heartbreaking to see the expanse of the w [...]

    16. A poetic, dream-like meditation on the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku and the resultant and ongoing disaster in FukushimaAfter the earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, naturalist and poet Gretel Ehrlich visited the area three times in six months to gather material for Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami. Drawing on first person accounts from fisherman and farmers, Buddhist priests, aid workers and teachers, Ehrlich has fashione [...]

    17. I was fortunate to receive this book via Advanced Reader's Copy although it has since been made available as of February 2013.I've been reading Facing the Wave by Gretel Ehrlich in small chunks for about 3 weeks now. It is a slim volume of collected encounters and poetry by Ehrlich when she went to visit the ravaged Tohoku area in June following the March triple disaster.The stories of hope and despair and forced change and tragedy so big that it is difficult to comprehend at times are both comp [...]

    18. This books is one of the best ones I have read on the subject of the March 2011 8.0 earthquake and accompanying tsunamis which happened on the Pacific Ocean side of the Japanese island of Honshu. The author had been to Japan many times since 1968, and when she heard about this disaster, she immediately went over to the area to get a first hand account from several survivors, and visited the 367 miles or so of devastation caused by these natural events, which in turn caused the meltdown of the Fu [...]

    19. How does one describe the ineffable? One needs to dissect the it and break it down into little pieces to provide partial views of its fabric. In this case, the author's approach consists primarily of meeting people who survived "the wave" and allowing them to share their perspectives and expereiences on their past, present, and future. It is a poetic and poignant effort. Allow me to share an excerpt:"Moon after moon light up the ocean's destruction. The yen surges and gold drops. Night is bright [...]

    20. A very well written book on a worthy topic, but it's just horribly depressing and offers the reader little hope. You come away from it feeling there's nothing anyone can do to help the victims of the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear plant disaster since they're resigned to their fate and believe they got what they deserved because of where they lived at the time of the event. (With no cultural concept that God loves them as unique individuals, no wonder their suicide rate is so high!) I'm sure this [...]

    21. "Facing the Wave" is probably another very good book which I shouldn't have given up on, but I stopped reading it after a few chapters. What I got out of it was how the nuclear accident at Fukushima impacted families in Japan. That should have been interesting, but I suppose we all have styles which we favor, and this book never grabbed me. The writing style was almost poetic, and from a technical perspective, I felt the author took too many liberties with facts regarding Fukushima. The nuclear [...]

    22. If you liked this book, you might also enjoy:✱ The Storm of the Century✱ A Crack in the Edge of the World✱ The Wave✱ Cascadia's Fault

    23. I have read several tsunami books lately, but this the best. Ehrlich manages to make this gruesome story personal and in many ways beautiful. She also makes the science clear and understandable. She mixes in poems here and there, but really the whole book feels like poetry. A lover of Japanese art and culture, Ehrlich visited in June, September and December of 2011, touring the damaged areas and talking to the survivors. We learn so much about these people who are determined to go on despite los [...]

    24. Beautifully written almost as a series of impressionistic vignettes, this book comes from Gretel Ehrlich's visit to Japan just after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Staying with local people for several months, Ehrlich discovered and reveals the "ground truth" that seems to escape mainstream accounts. For example, while the Japanese nuclear industry has claimed that the multiple meltdowns at Fukushima were the result of the tsunami, it becomes obvious that the plant was mu [...]

    25. What an exquisite book! This is the rare book that I will read over and over because there is so much content, and so much to absorb. You could read it for the information, the writing, the philosophy, etc.When I first picked it up I was a little afraid, and had some thoughts about whether "Disaster Lit" was a genre I really wanted to engage with. But, as a dedicated Japanophile, I always read anything about Japan, and though there have been some accounts of the tsunami, they have mostly been ha [...]

    26. In the face of as numbing and overwhelming a story as the Tohoku Tsunami of March 11, 2011, Gretel Ehrlich puts together an account of the human tragedy the continues to unfold. Ehrlich brings a poetry of fluvial lyricism and to capture the immensity of the natural forces that were unleashed that afternoon and captures the stoic resignation and determination of the Japanese that she encounters during her travels through the Sendai-Fukushima-Miyagi area. The account is leavened with enough of the [...]

    27. Gretel Erlich manages to convey the utter devastation of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan with spectacularly beautiful prose, which I expected after reading and loving The Solace of Open Spaces. For most of the world, such an event remains abstract -- something that happened somewhere else, to people we don’t know. Erlich invites us into the stories of some of those people who survived and manage, somehow, to move forward after losing everything. Her writing brings us inside the horror [...]

    28. A hauntingly beautiful book. Due to its subject matter that might seem an unlikely description. But this book is filled with incredible, poignant writing as it follows several individuals and families in the weeks and months after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Something this horrific is hard to imagine. The stories of these people who survived and struggle with the immense loss of all worldy goods, loved ones and entire towns makes it very real. At the core of these people is their incred [...]

    29. This was an amazing book, and very different from any disaster testaments I've read. It's about the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, but doesn't focus so much on what happened that day as what happens next. The book starts in June, 3 months later, and the author goes to the sites where the wave came in. The survivors tell the story of what happened but focus on what happens next. They face relocation, rebuilding, more earthquakes with tsunami threats, a typhoon threat later in [...]

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