Dec 19

Here are links to two videos on YouTube that Monty Dickson’s sister Shelley let us know about.  The first video shows Monty briefly walking in front of the Rikuzentakata City Hall building shortly before the tsunami struck (1:15-1:32).  The second video was taken two days after Shelley left Japan (which she visited after the tsunami) and shows footage of Monty’s building.


Thank you to Shelley for sharing the videos as well as her words and thoughts about Monty and the video, used with her permission from two separate emails:


November 21, 2011 (originally sent to family and friends on an earlier date)

I do not know who may want to watch this video, some of you I know have already seen this. I have viewed it many times and always find myself talking to the image on the screen, begging him to run or turn around and go to the roof. It is a video of Monty’s last moments. I only watch from 1:15 to 1:32. That is all I need or want to see. I think of the times we all scoured through videos hoping to catch a glimpse of him or find him in a picture. Now this is the only 15 seconds of video from that time that I can watch. It is as if stopping it at 1:32, I have some power to freeze time and stop what is to come.”

Here is the video. Monty walks out of his office building at 1:15 in the video. He is wearing his yellow coat, grey hat, glasses and as always carrying his green, bike messenger bag. This was normal attire for him so to me he is easily recognizable. He walks across the street to the city hall building and hesitates, then turns back and walks up the street (evacuation route) passing the cameraman again at 1:30. Monty looks directly at the cameraman at 1:32.  The tsunami comes within seconds so I know he did not get far. I will forever wish he had not hesitated and instead gone into the city hall building. He would have gone to the roof with the others. The cameraman most likely did not survive either. The video then resumes with a different cameraman on top of the building (City Hall) that Monty almost entered. When the cameraman walks across the roof to view the other side, Monty’s office building is under water and no longer visible.

When we were in Japan we stood at this very spot viewing this video on his friend Kumagai’s iphone. It was haunting. I placed flowers at this building where his office was located.

The second video was taken only two days after we left Japan. It is exactly how we saw it, even the bundle of papers tied in a yellow cloth still sit near what used to be the door of Monty’s building. The cameraman just misses the spot I placed the flowers when he pans in the beginning of the video.

Oh the powers I wish I had.



November 28, 2011

We first viewed this video in April while we were in Japan. At the time it was poor quality given the bright sun and viewing via iphone, but we were certain we were seeing Monty. I just recently decided to find it again since I wasn’t sure myself if I wanted to see it again. The video provided some answers for us as to where he was (exactly) at the time the tsunami hit. I think it would do the same for any of his friends or colleagues and have forwarded it to as many as I can. Still it is hard to watch. It had always been my fear that he was scared and I was not able to help him in any way or remove that fear from him. He is so calmly walking, simply evacuating as the announcements plead.

I still wonder why walk or run from an approaching tsunami when a vertical evacuation would be more immediate? I think the video could offer some thought as to what not to do perhaps, in an emergency such as this and it should be shown to future JETs.

I notice, in the second video taken after the fact, the tile on the exterior of the building seems undamaged and in fact, still shiny. The concrete has visible damage, scrapes and gouges while the tile seems unscathed. A future building material to be used more predominately I hope. Designated evacuation buildings measuring at least four stories with the exterior designed in tile. Just a thought.

Monty never wanted me to worry about him and he always made every effort to ease my mind when something happened there. He always called to tell me he was alright, that I will hear about it in the news tomorrow, and not to worry. I was certain I would get that call from him, “Hey Shell, it’s Monty” as always. Sometimes he called at 1:00 a.m. because he would forget the time difference. We would talk anyway. I miss my brother. I know a lot of people miss him, he touched so many. I am encouraged to see so much interest in his work and so many still inspired by him.


one comment so far...

  • allen wan Said on December 20th, 2011 at 11:44 am:

    my condolences to the family

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