This picture was taken in May 2008 when I travelled through Tōhoku together with my Japanese wife, at times in the footsteps of Japan’s most famous poet, Matsuo Basho, on a journey he took in the spring of 1689 and during which he wrote "The Narrow Road to the Deep North", one of the major texts of classical Japanese literature. We were quite shocked by the severe earthquake and tsunami that hit Tōhoku on 11 March 2011, almost three years after our first visit to this beautiful area and its kind people, and our thoughts go out to all those affected by this terrible disaster. Matsushima is a small town and a group of islands in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. There are some 260 tiny islands (shima) covered in pines (matsu), hence the name, and is ranked as one of the Three Views of Japan (Nihon Sankei). The other two are Amanohashidate in Kyoto Prefecture and Itsukushima (Miyajima) in Hiroshima Prefecture.