THE MOTOR-SURFER

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Documenting life during the first attempt at restoring a vintage motorcycle.

Similar to the zen -like feeling that is realized through surfing,
motorcycle repair can elevate the mind to a meditative state that eludes time and space...
Meaning I obsess over it, get frustrated, yell, laugh at myself and overall waste a lot of time.

Sunday

Japanese Tsunami Surf Hero - Rescues Wife, Mother, Others

Hideaki Akaiwa redefines bravery.
Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/23/altruism-in-action-japanese-surfer-hero-rescues-his-wife-mother-and-others/#ixzz1ICBJ8yJ0

What this guy's day job actually is, I honestly have no idea, but based on the limited information I have, one can only presume that his daily nine-to-five routine probably falls somewhere between the motorcycle chase scenes from the movie Akira and John Rambo's antics in the book version of First Blood on the ridiculousness/gnarly scale. But that's only speculation.

The one thing we know for certain is that Akaiwa was at work on the 11th, when suddenly, right as he was in the middle of jumping over a giant Gatling-gun-armed robot while riding on a rocket-powered jetbike he'd MacGuyvered together out of vines, tree branches, and a couple thumbtacks, something terrible happened – an earthquake. And not just any earthquake – a mega brain-busting insane earthquake the likes of which the island of Japan had never had the misfortune of experiencing before. The ground shook, buildings crumbled, lights smashed apart, and the entire population of the country froze in fear as fault line below Japan rumbled for a ridiculous two-plus minutes.

The raging tsunami that churned up from the quake took a bustling city of 162,000 people and instantly turned it into little more than a ten-foot-deep lake.



Needless to say, poor Hideaki Akaiwa, concerned for his family, rushed out of his office in time to see his city completely submerged under an obscene ten feet of water that buried everything from houses to businesses. He ran to the high water mark and stared helplessly into the sprawling lake that once used to be his home.

But it gets even worse. Hideaki's wife of twenty years (they met while surfing in a local bay) was still buried inside the lake somewhere. She hadn't gotten out. She wasn't answering her phone. The water was still rising, the sun was setting, cars, buildings and shit were swooshing past on a river of sea water, and and rescue workers told him there was nothing that could be done – the only thing left was to sit back, wait for the military to arrive, and hope that they can get in there and rescue the survivors before it's too late. With 10,000 citizens of Ishinomaki still missing and unaccounted for, the odds weren't great that Hideaki would ever see his wife again.

So he does what any of us surfers would do (yeah right!) - threw on his underwater survival gear, rushed into the goddamned tsunami, and dove beneath the rushing sea of death, determined to rescue his wife or die trying.

He dove down into the water, completely submerged in the freezing cold, pitch black rushing current on all sides, and started swimming through the underwater ruins of his former hometown FOR OVER 200 YARDS!!!

Surrounded by incredible hazards on all sides, ranging from obscene currents capable of dislodging houses from their foundations, sharp twisted metal and cars careening through the water like bath toys, he pressed on. Past broken glass, past destroyed houses, past downed power lines and through raging currents and giant whirlpools that would drown a whale.

Hideaki maintained his composure (learned through surfing I imagine) and navigated his way through the submerged city, finally tracking down his old house. He quickly swam through to find his totally-freaked-out wife, alone and stranded on the upper level of their house, barely keeping her head above water. He grabbed her tight and dragged her out of the wreckage to safety. She survived. But Hideaki Akaiwa wasn't done yet.

Dramatization of the Rescue

Now, I'm sure you're wondering what the F is more intense than commandeering a wet suit, face-punching a tsunami and dragging your wife of two decades out of the flooded wreckage of your home, but no, it gets even better. You see, Hideaki's mother also lived in Ishinomaki, and she was still unaccounted for. I think you all know where this is going.

He ran through the city like some post-apocalyptic action hero, desperately trying to track her down, but when a couple of days went by without any sign of her, he knew what he had to do. The water had only receded a few inches by this point, the rescue teams weren't working quickly enough for his tastes, and Hideaki Akaiwa once again took matters into his own hands – rushing back into the waterlogged city looking for his mom.

Hideaki navigated his way through the Atlantean city once more, picking his way through crumbling wreckage, splintered houses, and all sorts of other horrible things to find his elderly mother. After another grueling trek, he tracked her down on the upper levels of a house – she'd been stranded there for four days, and would almost certainly have died without the timely aid of her son. He brought her to safety somehow as well, as you might expect at this point.

Now, while most people would have been content in the knowledge that their family was safe, Hideaki Akaiwa isn't the sort of badass who's going to hang up his flippers and quit just because he'd taken care of his own personal shit – this guy made an oath to keep going back into the wreckage on his own to find people and help them to safety. Today this 43 year-old Japanese badass rides out every single day, multiple times a day, riding around on a bicycle. His only equipment – half a bottle of tea, some water, two packages of cigarettes, a flashlight, Swiss army knife and a lighter.– packed into his trusty red fanny-pack, in search of people needing rescue, a modern-day, real-life action hero.

Now go feel sorry for yourself while you sit comfortably warm and dry in your ergonomic office chair sipping coffee and pretending to work.

Credits:
words, pics & info from the web, badassoftheweek, latimes, healthland.com, etc..
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