The only consoling thing I can say about this picture taken in Ishinomaki in northern Japan is that the woman who owns this piano was not killed by the tsunami. Nor was her mother who was in the car with her when the quake struck, nor her elderly father, whom the two women rushed back home to rescue before the monster wave engulfed the entire port and levelled it.

I wish I could say the same for this picture.

Producer and videographer Emily Taguchi-Klingensmith was filming this, and had a tragic realization. The young woman in the picture is in her kimono for her coming-of-age ceremony on her 21st birthday, a tradition in Japan. “If she were alive,” Emily said, “I am certain she’d have come back for that album.”


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