A massive magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan this morning, setting off a major tsunami and rocking buildings from the northern coast all the way to Tokyo. You can expect a torrent of news coverage attempting to measure the fall-out, but perhaps none will be more compelling than what is already gathering on CitizenTube-- a special YouTube channel where Japanese residents affected by the quake are uploading videos documenting what it was like first hand.

In the clip above, a woman and her husband flee their trembling home and take refuge in the street, where cars can be seen rocking for minutes on end. In another, a stunned tour of a city square shows a bronze statue toppled and is sound-tracked by the wailing of women and children.

Because many of the videos are shot by people experiencing the event, together they provide a sort of first-person document on surviving the largest quake in Japan's recorded history... less than twelve hours later.