Sendai Before the Earthquake

By Abi King | Behind The Scenes

Mar 11

Photo of Matsushima Bay in Sendai Area, Japan

Sendai, Japan

Today I turned on my computer  as usual, ready to upload images for another Photo Friday post. Then I saw the news: earthquake in Sendai, tsunami to follow.

In fact, it wasn’t even on the news as I used to know it (an official reporter on the radiowaves or television.) It was six small words at the top of my browser, a space too small to command much attention. Until today, when I learned that six small words are more than enough to both have and describe an impact.

“Earthquake in Sendai; Tsunami to Follow”

Just two weeks ago I was in Sendai. My mind thinks I empathise equally with all victims of natural disasters; my heart realises the difference. News of Sendai felt visceral. Breathlessness raced through my chest and made my eyes sting.

I’d been planning a light-hearted article to introduce some of the performers I’d met in Sendai in their lavish samurai gear. Or perhaps the oyster shellers who worked along the coast or the women who threaded Buddhist prayer beads in full view of the ocean. The ludicrous shot of me forced to pose with maiko dancers and samurai warriors.

But I’ll save that last one for another time.

Instead, here are photos of Sendai and nearby Matsushima Bay. Photos taken before the earthquake. I can only hope that the people in these images, who greeted me with such friendliness and respect, are safe today.

Photo of Karantei Tea Ceremony, Matsushima Bay, Sendai, Japan

Traditional Tea Ceremony, Matsushima Bay


Learning how to shell oysters near Matsushima Bay, Sendai, Tohoku, Japan

Learning how to shell oysters

Man in constume in Sendai, Tohoku, Japan

Performing in Sendai

Shiogama Fish Market, Sendai, Tohoku, Japan

Samurai costume in Sendai, Tohoku, Japan

Samurai in Sendai

An Oyster Sheller, Sendai, Tohku, Japan

An Oyster Sheller, Sendai

A Maiko girl performs in Sendai, Tohoku, Japan

A Maiko Girl Performs

Shopkeeper in Shiogama Fish Market, Sendai, Tohoku, Japan

Serving in Shiogama Fish Market

Threading Buddhist Prayer Beads in Matsushima Bay, near Sendai, Japan

Threading Buddhist Prayer Beads…

Buddhist stone carving near Matsushima Bay, sendai, Japan

Matsushima Bay

Folded Japanese prayer tied to a tree near Sendai, Tohoku, Japan

A Folded Prayer in Sendai


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