I posted below that I was looking for human stories out of Japan. I found a story this morning that wasn't about a person but a place: Onagawa, one of the many towns that got hammered by the tsunami.
Andrew Higgins of The Washington Post wrote about what he found there. The story includes this evocative graf, and the context of the piece invites you to imagine that this kind of scene is happening over and over and over again:
"To reclaim the world stolen by this gigantic wave, Kimura wrote his name on a wooden stake and stuck it in the ground to mark a pile of rubble as his home. Mumbling to himself, he smacked at the ruins with a cooking knife, hoping to conjure up at least some small physical connection with his previous life. All he’s retrieved is a small jar of mushrooms."
And Higgins uses a great eye and sense of irony with the following line. He doesn't call attention to it (by saying 'ironically ...' or in any other way). He just writes it and lets it do its job on you:
"The first big building to be hit was Onagawa’s marine exhibition hall on the edge of the harbor. It remains standing. A big sign dangles above its mangled metal door: 'Images of the Sea and the Mysterious World.' "