3 stars (out of 4)

Released 2015

The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011 took more than 15,000 lives and swept away whole towns and villages off the eastern coast of Japan. Subsequently, debris began washing ashore all the way across the Pacific Ocean. This documentary follows several American and Canadian beachcombers in their efforts to reunite lost objects with their original owners.

Compared to the survivors’ overwhelming losses, the retrieved items, such as a buoy, a volleyball, and a bike helmet, seem trivial. However, the value of those articles lies not just in the past memories associated with them, but also with the new connections forged with their return. Therefore, I really liked how one of the Alaskan beachcombers added his own artwork to one of the items. He was clearly nervous about how it would be received, but it perfectly symbolized the value-added nature of this kind of endeavour.