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Suzuka Hirota was in junior high school in Sendai when the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami struck.


It felt like every other earthquake she'd felt in Sendai, said Hirota, who is now a student at Sophia University in Tokyo. The electricity was out for days and she said without television, they didn’t know the size of the impact. She remembers that without the lights of the city the night sky was filled with stars.

“There was irony with the beautiful sky,” Hirota said.

Later Hirota found out about the nuclear danger that was a result of the earthquake and tsunami. At the time she wasn’t worried because her family's home was stable, but her parents told her to not leave the house.

Japan has found a distraction in the upcoming 2020 Olympics, Hirota said. She said people are forgetting March 11, 2011. But, she said, she will never forget the starlit sky that she could see after the earthquake.


Photos and text by Bowen West

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