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Survivor of Japanese tsunami finds hope in noodle shop

By Christopher Johnson - Special to The Washington Times Monday, January 9, 2012

KESENNUMA, Japan — Running a business in a battered economy in a tsunami-ravaged community is an exercise of hope and redemption for one man with a noodle shop.

“There’s a risk in starting a business now in a terrible economy in a disaster zone,” Yasuhiro Ishiwata, 28, said in his shop in this seaside town that was decimated in the March 11 tidal wave.

“But compared to the tsunami, there’s nothing to be afraid of anymore. I’m starting to believe that there is such a thing as tomorrow.”

More than nine months after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami destroyed half of his native city of Kesennuma, Mr. Ishiwata and many other survivors say they are finding a deeper meaning in the shocking tragedy that left perhaps 20,000 dead and missing in northeastern Japan.

Long before the tsunami, Mr. Ishiwata was cynical about...