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He passed the exam in February He retrieved small items like fishing ropes, and once he found a tire and made a knot on a rope so volunteers on the surface could pull it onto a boat. Takamatsu learned the way colors shifted at different depths, because it would help him locate a body that had sunk. On sunny days, he descended through shades of blue, and in storms, shades of brown.
He learned that the bodies of drowned people are usually found poised with buttocks high, hands and feet dangling. The corpses of scuba divers are like dead bugs, on their backs, hands and feet floating. By this January, Takamatsu had been on dives, each lasting 40 to 50 minutes. He was not just looking for the body; he was also searching for a wallet, clothes or jewelry — anything that might identify his wife after five years in the ocean.
I have no choice but to keep looking for her. I feel closest to her in the ocean. I thought of the song that a French composer named Sylvain Guinet composed for Takamatsu after he learned of his loss. I asked him if the song brought back memories of Yuko. We often think of searching as a kind of movement, a forward motion through time, but maybe it can also be the opposite, a suspension of time and memory.
There was one survivor from the bank. The day of the tsunami, fishermen found him, tangled in debris, drifting in and out of consciousness. A month later, the families organized a meeting with the bank, and everyone hoped to speak with him. They wanted to know why the employees evacuated to the roof and not the hospital. They wanted to learn any details they could about their loved ones. But the meeting ended before they could speak with the survivor. The following year, Takamatsu received a letter from the bank.
It was a formal invitation to a memorial service. At that point, he and the other families discussed filing a lawsuit. Keiko and Reiko Tanno, the sisters of Michiko, joined some of the families in the suit, with their elderly mother as the legal plaintiff. By then, though, they had finally been able to hear the survivor tell his story in court.