My shipmates and I were inside a building that was completely washed out by the tsunami. The mud and muck were a solid 12 inches deep across all the floors and every window in the building was nothing but a few shards of glass in the frame.
Before the tsunami this building had been one of the administrative buildings in the Misawa Fishing Port, Misawa, Japan. We found a desk that was simply a little coated in muck overtired in one of the offices. It was a solid metal desk and it took two of my friends to loose it from the mud and get it upright again.
A large part of the relief efforts was salvaging as much as possible. The Japanese fishermen literally had their life's savings and income source taken away from them in a flash.
Photo taken 14 March 2011. This photo is not to be used without express written permission.