Susumu Sugawara and his boat "Sunflower" ("Himawari" in Japanese), an old passenger ferry, rode out the tsunami waves and survived to tell the story.
From CNN (4/3/2011):
Then the first wave came. Sugawara says he is used to seeing waves up to 5 meters high but this was four-times that size.
"My feeling at this moment is indescribable," he says with glistening eyes. "I talked to my boat and said you've been with me 42 years. If we live or die, then we'll be together, then I pushed on full throttle."
"Here was my boat and here was the wave," he says, holding one hand low and the other stretched high above his head. "I climbed the wave like a mountain. When I thought I had got to the top, the wave got even bigger."