TOKYO: The only Japanese victim of the Sri Lankan suicide bombings was a married mother of two young children who had lived in Colombo for four years and taught locals Japanese flower arranging and how to wear kimonos.
Kaori Takahashi, 39, had been in Sri Lanka since 2015 with her husband, a chef at a Japanese restaurant, her four-year-old daughter and her two-year-old son.
Japanese media said she was killed while eating breakfast at one of the targeted hotels popular with expats.
According to a fellow Japanese expat cited by the Yomiuri Shimbun, she published booklets aiming to help her countrymen settle in Sri Lanka, recommending supermarkets and restaurants.
She acted as a "bridge" between Japan and Sri Lanka, according to the man, who said the couple had planned to stay long-term in the country.
Another man described Takahashi as a "cheerful person" and said her death had rocked the close-knit Japanese community.
"There are fewer than 1,000 Japanese who live in Sri Lanka. All of us know each other. I couldn't believe it when I heard Mrs Takahashi died. I feel sorry for her," he said.
A post on her Facebook page on her daughter's second birthday in November 2016 now has added poignancy.
"Our daughter turned two today. She now runs, sings, dances, speaks a bit of English and lots of Japanese.
"We are having so much fun living here in Colombo, and hope that our days full of happiness and laughter will never end."