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After the wave: Cafe serves up healing for Japan's tsunami survivors

Jim Seida / msnbc.com

Two-year-old Yua Ogata plays in the front room of the Cha No Ki Cafe (Tea Tree Cafe) in Kesennuma City, Japan, June 8, 2011.

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For tsunami survivors, some of the basic comforts in life are still hard to come by three months later. Where can your children play that's safe of dust and debris left by the wave? If your home is gone or damaged, where can you go to relax? Msnbc.com's reporting team in Japan met a woman who is trying to help give some emotional healing to survivors of the March quake and resulting tsunami. Miko Onodera, 41, who runs a nonprofit focused on helping the disabled, is now the maître d of a newly opened café.

Onodera said she has so far seen three phases of recovery in the nearly three months since the tsunami generated by a massive 9.0 earthquake offshore roared into Kesennuma and other coastal communities in northeast Japan. First was the immediate need for food and shelter, then the survivors needed clothing, then the focus turned to replacing home supplies such as electrical appliances and cooking tools as the survivors moved into temporary public housing.

 “Now, we are in the fourth phase: to bring the community back, to make it vibrant again,” Onodera said.

 Read the entire story by msnbc.com's Miranda Leitsinger and watch the video below msnbc.com's Jim Seida. 

Naomi Ogata of Kesennuma brought her toddler and baby to the center because it is a safe place to play in the tsunami-ravaged town.