The first indication that something is amiss is the absence of lighting, then a few broken windows. Few people are outside.
As the valley opens up, an apocalyptic scene appears.
Where once there were clearly homes, stores and businesses is a plain of jagged wood and metal. A few concrete hulks, once buildings, are scattered throughout.
Millions of people struggled for a sixth day with inadequate food, heat and no water service. Temperatures hovered in the mid-30s, with biting winds and snow flurries. Police say more than 452,000 people are staying in temporary shelters, some sleeping on the floor in school gymnasiums.
Several thousand people are listed as missing.
The debris spreads over this small valley from the sea to the hillsides above. A clear line of debris runs 15 to 20 feet into the pine forest that cloaks the hillsides, showing how far the wall of water reached.
Read the rest of the story: Hope in Japan mixes with fear as reality rolls in.