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Your take: a harley davidson lost in the tsunami changed my life - tubular key cutting by fdhjkl rfghjtkl

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Your take: a harley davidson lost in the tsunami changed my life - tubular key cutting by
Article Posted: 07/22/2012
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Your take: a harley davidson lost in the tsunami changed my life - tubular key cutting

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The container washed up on a remote beach approximately 50 km southof Rose Spit. When I first arrived on the scene I was in shock. Icould see the motorcycle from a distance but it wasn't until I gotcloser that I could see the license plate, a bent, algae encrustedpiece of metal with Japanese characters on it. We knew tsunamidebris was coming but I never expected something this big thissoon, never mind a Harley Davidson! My first thought was, "What?!?". It dawned on me that this wassomething that might be in my backyard, something one of myneighbors might own.

These were somebody's belongings, somebodythat might have lost everything, possibly even their life. The unit had thick styrofoam under the fiberglass exterior whichallowed it to float. How the bike and other items remained in thecontainer all the way across the Pacific is a mystery to me. Thebike was not tied down and the door of the container was rippedoff.

It was quite an eerie feeling stepping inside. It felt asthough I was trespassing on someone's property. I also knew thismight be the first known item that washed ashore from the tsunamithat could be traced, both by the license plate and the VIN on themotorcycle. I took several pictures of the container and the itemsinside. Being on my ATV and alone there was no way for me to move a 600pound bike from the container to high ground.

I looked through thecontents of the container for anything that could be saved.Everything was in bad condition. The bike was very rusty and bangedup. The other items were badly corroded and equally battered. All Icould save were the golf clubs that seemed to resist the corrosiveeffects of the salt water better than everything else.

I could seethat there was a water line showing on the bike, it looked asthough it was sitting in at least 8 inches of water for quite sometime. I also suspect waves would have often swept through the opendoor. When I returned home from the beach I told several of my fellowbeachcombers and friends about the find. I also researched theInternet on how to report such a find.

I found very little out.NOAA posted an e-mail address for reporting debris. I sent ane-mail to them and have yet to receive a reply. Quickly wordspread. It wasn't very long before CBC got in touch with me (April24th). I made them a deal.

I told them that I would supply the VINnumber and photos of the license plate so they could confirm thebikes' origins before posting the story. Right away they called meback. I was informed the plate was registered in the MiyagiPrefecture, one of the areas hardest hit by the tsunami. We had oursmoking gun. The CBC ran the story on the evening of April 29th.

I was notprepared for the amount of attention the story would receive.Immediately Ralph Tieleman from Vancouver Island contacted me. Aman I have never met before. He asked if I would be able to recoverthe motorcycle? I had not considered it. The bike was in such badshape I didn't think it would be practical to do anything with. Ithought it would stay on the beach, a memorial to the T hokutsunami.

Ralph offered with the help of his friends to restore themotorcycle and return it to its owner if they could be located. Weknew this would be an expensive undertaking. The bike was virtuallydestroyed. They would need to strip the bike to its frame and startfrom almost scratch.

I agreed and the next day with the help of myfriends we went and recovered the motorcycle. In the following days I did interviews with 4 or 5 major newsagencies in North America and 5 in Japan! Late in the evening onApril 30th a Japanese news correspondent located in Californiacalled me with good news, the owner of the bike was alive! From themoment I laid eyes on the motorcycle I wondered the fate of theowner. I had my fingers crossed and was hoping he/she would befound alive. There it was, the words I was hoping for, "They foundhim, he's alive!". I went to bed with a sense of relief.

The nextmorning the CBC called with the news. Twenty-nine year old Ikuo Yokoyama lost much on that day in March2011. While I was watching on TV, Ikuo lost three family membersincluding his father and brother. His house, the container in hisbackyard he used as a shop/garage for his motorcycle and everythinghe owned were swept away by the devastating wave.

I was very happyIkuo was alive but overwhelmed by the thought that so many otherswere not. Ikuo like thousands of others, is currently living intemporary housing. The man from CBC referred me to an online videointerview from NHK with Ikuo. He was looking at pictures of themotorcycle that I had taken.

He expressed how happy it was foundand returning to him, "A miracle!" he stated. He also wanted tothank me. Harley Davidson stepped in. They heard what Steve Drane and RalphTieleman were planning to do and decided to finance therestoration.

They contacted Mr Yokoyama and told him about theplanned restoration. Despite the desire to be reunited with hislost bike Ikuo declined the offer. He said that he was notfinancially capable of owning the bike nor did he have room tostore it in his temporary shelter. He thought it wasn't fair tospend so much on his bike when so many others had nothing.

It isvery honorable that Ikuo has put the needs of others and the needsof his community above his own hopes and desires. Harley Davidsonhas offered to give the money they would have spent on fixing andreturning the bike to a tsunami relief fund in Ikuo's name instead.Harley Davidson is going to stabilize and preserve the bike. Itwill either be put in a museum or made into a memorial for thevictims of the tsunami. They have offered to pay for the salvage ofthe bike and the transport to Vancouver Island.

Hats off to HarleyDavidson, Steve Drane and Ralph Tieleman for stepping up to theplate and doing a good thing. The story isn't over yet. So many people have lost so much. Theremay be few opportunities to reunite people with their missingbelongings. I feel that there still may be something I can do forIkuo and plans are in the works.

I have been told that items like the motorcycle were not insuredfor events like earthquakes. A reporter from a Japanese news agencysent me an article about insurance for the tsunami victims. Itstates only 23% of people were insured. People that had insurancewere only covered for their houses. Vehicles, cash, items worthmore than $3000 and businesses were not covered.

It seems that Ikuowill receive nothing for his lost belongings. When I try to putmyself in Ikuo's shoes I come to the conclusion it would be veryhard to decline Harley Davidson's offer to return a prizedpossession after loosing everything. Could you do it? I know manypeople in Canada are financially strapped, especially in thenorthwest but in comparison to the events unfolding in Japan we'vegot it pretty darn good. This has been a wake up call.

There are no good systems in placefor reporting tsunami debris and no plans as of yet to deal with itonce it's here. Its very likely that much more debris is coming. Itis very important that any items located should be treated withrespect. I'm sure there will be times when personal items can beretuned to their rightful owners. Common sense is important inthese cases.

Not everything can be returned and there will be manycases the items would bring back bad memories for the originalowner. There are many people that care about the beaches and spenda lot of time on them. I'm sure many of these people will go out oftheir way to clean up debris. Nowadays the world is a very smallplace. I hope people keep this in mind.

I myself live in a coastaltown on the ring of fire. One day my ATV or boat may wash up on theshore of Japan. If that ever were to happen I know I'd hope that mybelongings would be treated with respect as well. I also hope thatgovernment agencies will work will local people who have beenexploring the local beaches for years if not decades.

Many of ushave a deep understanding of ocean currents and what types of itemsmight wash up and where. This knowledge may prove invaluable in theyears to come. Peter Mark May 2012 Related link: Tsunami debris: send us your photos and video.

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