Japanese Silo Washes Ashore in BC

I have mixed feelings about the arrival of Tsunami debris. On one hand it speaks to the huge loss of Japanese life and property. On the other hand it breaks up the monotony of all the random severed feet intermittently washing up on BC (and Washington) shores. 

The first large item to show up in our waters was a fishing boat, since scuttled. Then the Harley-Davidson in the shipping container.

Now a silo, apparently made of buoyant concrete, has landed.

The silo was first reported as having landed on New Years Day on a remote island which is part of the Haida Gwaii archipelago. You might remember I wrote about the Haida Gwaii and that I wanted to see it before the bulk of the Japanese Tsunami debris (an estimated 1.5 million tonnes) arrived. It appears time is running out.

[photo: Ashlee Morgan]

In the article I was reading, the comment section had the predictable comments about political correctness when referring to the islands as the Haida Gwaii vs Queen Charlotte Islands. Whatever. However there was an interesting comment that gave me pause for thought (I took out the most of the boring parts):

My interest in Archaeology brings to mind a researcher from the '80s who was attempting to demonstrate links between the Haida Culture, and, that of the Mongol Khan...he postulated that the interaction occurred after the Khan's invasion fleet for Japan was decimated by the Kamikaze...and parts of it ended up on the North Pacific coast of 'America'. Thus, a small group of martially oriented people had an enduring influence on the future direction of Haida development as the "Vikings" of the Pacific North West...The tsunami debris supports the idea that wind and current could well have deposited disabled Asian ships on Haida Gwaii's coast, with crews rescued by unsuspecting locals. 

The same thing might have happened on the east coast as there is a myth that a contingent of Chinese explorers got stranded on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, around 1421. The captain was described as a very tall man, estimates put him around seven feet. They were supposedly absorbed into the culture by the Mi'kmaq. The remains of very Chinese architecture are said to exist by some and completely debunked by others. Myth or not it's interesting to note that the Mi'kmaq are one of the few Native Americans besides the Mayans to have a written language and it looks surprisingly Chinese in its style.

The silo after it was moved inland [photo: Ashlee Morgan]

It's interesting to note from an anthropological standpoint that a culture from one part of the planet could exert an influence on a culture on the other side of the planet - and not necessarily raping, pillaging or small pox related - all those thousands of years ago.

For better or worse, in this age of instant communication via cell phone images and twitter comments, we can't escape it now. Whether the Mongols or Chinese landed or didn't land on our shores in the past, here in the present we have become a global nation. Disasters and atrocities have occurred throughout human history but now, whether we want it or not, if a theater blows up in Mogadishu, we hear about it. Whether our hearts and minds can cope or not, we get front row seats to the heinous genocides of the last few decades. When a tsunami sweeps a section of Japan clean of its structures and the families that built them, we know to expect the tragic detritus of thousands of lives and livelihoods to wash up on our shores.  We know where to look for it and when it's likely to land and we know far further in advance than the people who had it all taken from them across an ocean.



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