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I was up in Sendai three days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, and saw two cities: the Sendai that was hard-hit by the fourth largest earthquake in recorded history, and which survived – amazingly – nearly intact, and the Sendai near the ocean, which was completely demolished by the tsunami that followed the quake, with tremendous loss of life.
I shot these photographs in "tsunami Sendai", in the Wakabayashi District, where teams of firefighters were working to locate and recovery bodies. These two men were part of a team from Masuda City in Shimane Prefecture, a long, long way from Sendai. I've taken a bit of license with my translation, to distill their conversation down to its essence.