In April 2013, a small boat washed ashore in Crescent City, Calif., and was soon found to be a piece of debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Humboldt State University professor Lori Dengler, a tsunami expert, learned that the boat might have belonged to Takata High School in Rikuzentakata, so she sent a message to the city's Facebook Page, which she had been following since her own visit to the area for research. Someone quickly replied and was able to find a teacher who recognized the boat as the school's.
The boat had traveled about 5,000 miles over two years before it landed in Crescent City, a town that also experienced a tsunami that same day in 2011. A group of Del Norte High School students were struck by the many similarities between Crescent City and Rikuzentakata, so they volunteered to clean up the boat and return it to Takata High School. Last month, the city of Rikuzentakata and Takata High hosted the Del Norte students in Japan and thanked them for their friendship and for providing a reminder that their struggle has not been forgotten.