Since there has been almost blanket coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan across mainstream media and blogs (Boing Boing was particularly comprehensive, especially in helping understand what was happening at the Fukushima power plant and putting the response to the crisis in a wider context), I haven’t felt I had much to add. I’ve also wanted to resist the instinct to sort of gawp at the tragedy, in a road accident rubbernecking kind of way. However as time has gone by I’ve found that viewing media from Japan really can help you appreciate the force and scale of what happened and consequently deepen sympathy for the victims. The video below, which has been widely circulated on the internet already, shows what happened in real time as the tsunami hit one particular locality. Here, it didn’t manifest as a great wave but  a gradual, relentless increase in the water level and flow until what started as a stream is a torrent capable of carrying away houses.

In addition to this, both the Big Picture and In Focus have numerous galleries portraying the disaster and the recovery efforts.

Japanese vehicles pass through the ruins of the leveled city of Minamisanriku, northeastern Japan, Tuesday March 15, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder), from In Focus