A Disaster, Yes. A Crippling Blow, No

By many measures, Takaaki Hashizume is a ruined man. The earthquake that hit Kobe on Jan. 17 destroyed his rented house and a restaurant he had built on the first floor. Hashizume, 46, wasn't insured against a quake and has minimal savings. But down in the mouth? Hardly. As they cook dinner over wood scavenged from his home, Hashizume and his family are quick to offer some rice gruel to a curious reporter. "If we think about the future too much instead of eating what we have, we'll just lose spirit," Hashizume says. He reckons he'll open a new restaurant when the rubble clears.

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