Many of the children taking refuge at the Kama Elementary School, on the eastern fringes of the town of Ishinomaki, are playing in the corridors or helping their parents scrub mud-coated boots in the filthy water of the school pool.
But the atmosphere in the room on the third floor, where 30 children whose parents simply disappeared when the tsunami swept through the town, is very different.
Viewed through the window, the children sit more still and are apparently engrossed in books or card games. They are watched over by other relatives or teachers and we are not allowed to enter or speak with them. Understandably, they do not want their charges to have more reminders of the disaster that has befallen them.