Katsushita Hokusai painted the Tsunami wave off Kanagawa in 1829-1833

The hubs made it to bed last night just before 2 am, exhausted from a late night of editing, and weary from the news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. So much for a restful sleep. The images from Japan are surreal and make me thankful for the comparatively slow (read: torrential) downpour causing the 500-year flood here in Nashville last May.

One of the first stories I read about the tsunami, came from MSNBC and, at the time, read like this:

TOKYO — A magnitude 8.9 earthquake — the biggest in modern Japanese history — slammed the island nation’s eastern coast Friday afternoon, unleashing a 23-foot tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland and prompting a “nuclear emergency.”

According to Japanese police, 200 to 300 bodies were found in Sendai, the coastal city closest to the epicenter. Another 137 people were confirmed killed, with 531 missing. At least 627 people were injured.

Overall, dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter.

“The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference…

Little more detail was given then, but we all know the devil is in the details, in the stories that will be told from surviving and not surviving this disaster, and so we pray the people of Japan truly feel the prayers of millions for their safety and well-being.

Being a word nerd, I was interested to learn from one news program that the Japanese word “tsunami” means “harbor” (tsu-) “wave” (nami). May Japan find a safe harbor in the light of this tragedy.