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 scavenged wood, Hashizume and his family are quick to offer some rice gruel to a curious reporter. "We're having a great time," he says with a grin. "If we think about the future too much instead of eating what we have, we'll just lose spirit." He plans on opening another restaurant when the rubble clears.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.