No doubt many stories of heroism in the face of Japan’s recent tsunami will emerge in the upcoming weeks—one is happening in the Fukushima Daiichi plant as I write this, in fact—but the latest is so beautiful and fantastical that it seems primed for a Hollywood movie.
Meet Hideaki Akaiwa, 43. Startled at work by the now infamous earthquake and tsunami that shook and overtook Japan on March 11, Akaiwa rushed to high ground and immediately called his wife of two decades. When she didn’t answer, Akaiwa ignored friends’ pleas to wait for a military rescue, instead rummaging up some scuba gear and diving into the dark, cold, debris-filled tsunami.
Hundreds of yards of swimming later, Akaiwa found his wife struggling against the 10-foot current that had overtaken the couple’s Ishinomaki home. Once he’d gotten his wife to safety, Akaiwa suffered for four days with worry for his elderly mother. When she didn’t turn up at any of the official evacuation centers, Akaiwa dove once again into the filthy, neck-high waters and swam to her neighborhood, determined to track her down.
After some searching, Akaiwa found her, scared and alone, on the second floor of neighbor’s house. “She was very much panicked because she was trapped with all this water around,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I didn’t know where she was. It was such a relief to find her.”
With his family accounted for, Akaiwa hasn’t rested on his laurels. Rather, he’s spent the past two weeks heading into Ishinomaki in search of other trapped survivors. Armed with a backpack, a flashlight, a Swiss Army knife, and some water, he rides his bike around the wreckage and makes his own destiny.
“The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”—(via beingtricia)
“… If I’m a manager and I want to get better, and I want more out of my people and I want them to be happier, two of the most important things I can do is just make sure I have some time for them and to be consistent. And that’s more important than doing the rest of the stuff.”—
I’m so jealous. Ben Kweller seems like the nicest guy, and I totally missed his gig when he played in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago. He’s my favorite artist to see live… therefore, you win, Fred Wilson. You win x 100.