How awful it must have been, having so much of the sea rush in like that. I imagine a woman hearing the roar of sea water and, knowing there's no escape, holding her arms out to a terrified child, that she may provide some small measure of comfort.
All of us living in earthquake country know our world is seismically active. The Ring of Fire is perfectly obvious on this USGS map showing the last 7 days worth of earthquakes. An undersea earthquake can cause a tsunami, as shown on NOAA's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
The Japanese have the best building codes and earthquake engineering in the world. Japan's earthquake preparedness is a model for all other Pacific Rim communities. They will study this event and be even more prepared next time.
There's no such thing as an earthquake-proof structure. No matter how strongly you build, an earthquake can shake just a little more powerfully. There’s always a chance of an atypical event, and at 8.9 magnitude, March 11's earthquake was unusually strong.
The Japanese had the terrible misfortune of being hit with a major earthquake and a huge tsunami. These simultaneous acts of Nature interfered with the cooling procedures at their nuclear generators. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones and to those who lost life itself. My thoughts are with the 50 brave TEPCO engineers, teeth set with grim determination, laboring to reduce the radiation and save their countrymen.