On March 15, 2011, late at night at the Osaka train station, I met the first refugees from the earthquake that I would come to know. The family of four did not look like what I thought that people who were fleeing the horrendous images on television would. The mother, father, and two young daughters were neatly dressed, and their yellow lab was obediently packed into a crate that stood in the middle of their matching suitcases. Each wore a crisp, white mask. Much as I wanted to hear stories of what they had seen, I imagined that they did not want to talk. My son, however, zoomed a toy train over to their youngest girl, who was about six or seven; she happily raced it back. I motioned for him to stop and smiled at the mother, who acknowledged me from behind her mask as she brushed a hand across her forehead in exhaustion. “Are you OK?” I asked, not knowing how to avoid noticing that something appeared wrong. “Mmmm-hmmm.” “Are you traveling further tonight?” “Kanazawa.” “How terrible it all must be.” “We're from Fukushima,” she said. “We're fine. Our house is fine. It all looks fine, but we don't know what will happen, and the girls are so young.”

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