Hyacinth found at fire site after Noto quake gives hope to couple who lost home

A couple living in temporary housing in the central Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa is growing a hyacinth they have found where their home once stood before a powerful quake triggered a massive fire on New Year's Day.

Fukushima Yoshihiro and his wife Yumiko lost their home in Wajima City in the fire that burnt down the famed morning market.

His mother Kiyomi, who was 92, was at a nursing care facility in the city, and survived the quake. But she passed away this month, unable to fulfil her wish to spend her final days at home.

The couple has frequently visited the spot where their home used to be to look for family mementoes.

Last week, they found a hyacinth with little buds in a garden where Kiyomi used to grow flowers.

They brought the plant to the temporary housing and put it in water in a tea cup, which was also found amid the debris. The following day, blue bell-shaped flowers began blooming.

They put the hyacinth before a photo of Kiyomi. The couple are nurturing it and frequently changing the water.

Yoshihiro says he was surprised the plant survived the flames. He says the flowers have become a source of inspiration not to give up hope.

Yumiko says she has not recovered from the shock of the New Year's Day quake, but she is heartened by the thought that as long as she is alive, the flowers will bloom.

The couple has also found narcissuses and tulips growing in Kiyomi's garden.

Yumiko says she is looking forward to seeing how many flowers will bloom. She added she will continue to visit the garden every day to see the flowers and gain encouragement.