Even though Nikolas was born on an island – which he left at 18 to study abroad – he hated the sea. He never swam in it, or even walked by this unpredictable medium. Water was not his element. It introduced a level of uncertainty for which he was constitutionally unprepared. You can imagine his surprise when his publisher asked him to write a novel set by the sea, with boats, swimmers, fish and sand in it. Add the whole damn lot, he had said, even sea shells. Even sea shells. Nikolas, despite bearing the name of the patron saint of the seafarers, felt his heart sink. However, not wanting to miss a deal in this climate, he bought a ticket for one of the most advanced, and at the same time exotic islands on earth, which was bound to inspire and inject vigor in his writing. An island so far removed from his everyday life that it was bound to help him overcome his hydrophobia: Japan.
It took a lot of courage for him to stay in the quiet fishing village. He forced himself to walk next to his imaginary foe, learned to breath-in deeply the salty air and watch the sunrise over the horizon. In fact, when the tsounami surprised him, he had been standing right next to the sea, lost in thought, marveling at two tiny sea shells in the palm of his hand.