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Six years to the day.

On the morning of 22 November 2016, I switched on the TV and allowed the morning news to play in the background whilst I got ready for another day of sightseeing. Suddenly, normal broadcasting was interrupted and warnings began to flash, with reports coming in thick and fast of a major earthquake that had just taken place off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture. Despite the fact that I was a very great distance west of where it struck – at that point in my journey I was staying in Matsuyama, on the island of Shikoku – the urgent warnings raised uncomfortable thoughts about an earlier event, far worse than the present one. What I found most chilling of all was the message delivered by the newsreaders as the tsunami warnings were broadcast: Isoide nigete kudasai.

Three words, spoken calmly yet with uncompromising firmness, over and over and over again.

Remember and pray, even as one looks to the future with hope.

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