The day after I made my last post, the New York Times ran an article that mentioned Mito, Oarai, and Kairakuen. Before that they interviewed a woman at Nakaminato, on the coastline east of the city, near the mouth of the Naka River, which runs through Mito to Hitachinaka, the site of one of those whirlpools. Another Times article says that
In Oarai, a port about 150 miles south of hard-hit Sendai, fishing boats, truck and cars lay 100 yards back from the water’s edge, deposited in a jagged line like seashells left behind by the farthest reach of powerful waves. Some fishing boats had capsized; those swept into town by the tsunami teetered on their sides, or were tossed upside down.
Mito was struck by the earthquake and its aftershocks. Pavements cracked and sank, walls fell down, some houses collapsed. Lines have formed in the streets for food and water. The railways have stopped running out of the city to the north but when the Joban line train arrives from Tokyo the same recorded female voice still warns you to stand clear of the doors in case you hurt yourself. The bus service to Narita Airport has been suspended. Art Tower Mito has been mentioned on twitter. I don't know how the building is faring but everyone who worked there is fine. People stranded at a hotel received woollen blankets and two onigiri rice balls each. The weather is cold. The area is periodically affected by rolling blackouts, organised by the government to save electricity. The nearby Tokai reactor was in trouble yesterday but it has been successfully cooled. A tsunami swell moved up the Naka River. On the first day of the disaster the English-language online papers kept showing us a photograph of a damaged road, the Joban expressway, which runs out of the city. The caption is always vague: "somewhere near Mito." There was also a photograph of a retaining wall that had unrestrained itself on top of a row of parked cars. Japanese-language sources say that the Tokiwa highway has been closed. The Mito Hollyhock team will not be participating in J-League soccer events for a while and the J-League itself has come to a halt until further notice. Somewhere in the city a pet lovebird is photographed looking calm.