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Japanese cyclist documents tsunami debris on U.S. tour

Ryu Ambe stops in Crescent City to see the boat lost in the 2011 tsunami that washed ashore on South Beach.
Ryu Ambe stops in Crescent City to see the boat lost in the 2011 tsunami that washed ashore on South Beach. Del Norte Triplicate / Jessica Cejnar
Ryu Ambe peered through the windows at the Crescent City fire station Thursday at the 20-foot boat that was swept out to sea from Japan during the 2011 tsunami and floated all the way to Del Norte.

His bicycle, laden with supplies and bearing the sign “Thank You U.S.A,” leaned against the bricks.

Ambe, who is from Saitama prefecture in Japan — an area hard hit by the massive earthquake but spared from the tsunami that followed — is halfway through his trip. Armed with a video camera, he has bicycled from San Diego, visiting city halls and documenting any debris that has washed on our shores due to the tsunami.

Ambe will end his trip in Victoria, British Columbia.

“Support from the U.S. was the biggest on March 11, 2011,” he said in halting English. “I’m not prime minister. I’m not a businessman, but many students have cooperated to show (their thanks).”

Ambe said he plans to show the videos he has collected back in Japan. 

Ambe’s current journey to thank those who supported Japan following the earthquake and tsunami isn’t his first or even his longest. In 2011, he pedaled across Canada, a trek of about 4,910 miles. The following year he visited New Zealand, making a 2,520-mile trip around the country, and Taiwan.

On his travels north from San Diego, Ambe has stopped every now and then to pick up trash strewn on California’s beaches. In Eureka, he accumulated a piece of rope, a Lays potato chips bag, an orange and blue ball and a ballpoint pen among other bits of garbage. Ambe also met with Eureka City Manager Bill Panos. 

“This is very exciting,” he said. “This is a big experience.”

Reach Jessica Cejnar at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


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