Two years after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, the writer returns to the small town of Onagawa, which was wiped out:

“Through repeat visits and long stays as a volunteer relief worker, I would come to know Fujinaka and post-tsunami Onagawa well. Most of my fellow volunteers that summer were Japanese from undamaged prefectures—students with time on their hands, retirees, people in their early-to-middle years who were so casually employed that they could get off work or quit altogether. Many of these were what you might call ‘dropout’ types—musicians and the like. Few of us could say that anything had happened to us on March 11. But we all came to feel we had a stake in Onagawa. We planted that stake there ourselves, and it allowed us to claim that we loved the place too. Some of the younger ones said they wouldn’t leave until the town was fixed, however many years that might take.”