Masahiro Oka was warned to expect the worst.

A friend had told him that the scene at Tsukihama beach in the port city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, was "sheer destruction."

With the roads cut off by a massive tsunami, Oka arrived on foot in his hometown on March 12, 2011, a day after the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake. The sight before him was as promised: destruction all around.