Brewing tea in the shadow of a North Korean missile

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Media caption,
Footage on social media appears to show warning alarms triggered by the missile

There's tension across the world after North Korea fired a missile over northern Japan, but life under the weapon's flight path goes on.

The missile, launched early on Tuesday, flew over Hokkaido island, Japan's second-largest island, and fell into the North Pacific Ocean.

Jonathan Knight runs a small clothing business in the Hirafu area of the island.

At first, he and his neighbours were woken not by sirens, but by text messages at 6am.

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"Japan has this warning system," Jonathan explained to the BBC. "A message came through on our phones, which just started pinging like crazy, and it basically said, 'Please evacuate to a sturdy building or basement'.

"The next thing we could hear was sirens going off. I imagine it was a bit like London in the Blitz."

Locals in Jonathan's "small and unusually quiet village" were told a missile had flown across the region but were not told where it had landed.

"We just didn't know quite what was happening."

Jonathan decided to go for what he thought was the best option: "I got up and did the British thing, I made a cup of tea".

Image source, Jonathan Knight
Image caption,
'I got up and did the British thing, I made a cup of tea' - Jonathan Knight

Amanda Harlow, who lives in the nearby city of Sapporo, was watching television with her partner when they received the same message on their phones, then over the news.

"We just looked at each other and thought 'what do we do?'

"Our nearest possible shelter is the local supermarket car park which is about five minutes away," she explained.

"It was different and kind of surreal, just sitting there in our pyjamas trying to work out what to do."

Image source, Jonathan Knight
Image caption,
Hirafu, beneath Mount Yotei, 'unusually quiet' on the morning of the alert

Speaking to other villagers, Jonathan said there was a sense of "apathy" and "impunity," given the weekly appearance of North Korea on the news, "talking about what they are going to do with missiles and how they're going to act," plus the speculation of an attack on Guam.

"It's just a couple of locals, it could be a polarised view, but they feel their arms are a little bit tied behind their back when this thing happens and they just wonder, 'What next?'"

Amanda raised a similar point.

"The whole thing was very unnerving as we're used to North Korea firing missiles so we hardly notice it now," she said.

"We didn't know whether to take our cats and run, but my feeling was that if a nuclear missile hits Hokkaido then there's no point in running anywhere."

Image source, Jonathan Knight
Image caption,
'Things are getting back to normal' - Jonathan's local supermarket after the alarm

But Jonathan believes his neighbours tend to be very stoical when it comes to these events.

"Everybody managed to stay calm and things are getting back to normal," he said. "We've even just had a visit from the postman."

By Bernadette McCague, UGC and Social News team