From the distance of Tokyo, the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that devastated northern Japan now seem like an oddly long time ago. Similarly, the power cuts, food shortages and tabloid sensationalism that followed feel like a completely different time. A time of genuine uncertainty, even fear, and yet fairly quickly things still returned to the normality of pre-March 11. Merely a brief interruption before the mundane routines of everyday life once again reigned supreme.
For those directly affected, however, it must be a very different story altogether. Problems connected to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are ongoing, and 60,000 people or so are still suffering the stresses of temporary accommodation — many more when you include those having to make do by staying with relatives. Pretty much insult added to injury all piled on top of anxiety. Daily pressures and concerns that in addition to everything else people have to deal with, must make the lives of those involved incredibly difficult to say the least. Lives that besides the beauty of the moon being visible, and the sun still rising, must bear little comparison to the comfort of the ones they lived before.
I remember the threat of power cuts and the histery in supermarkets… As you said, it feels like ages ago. In a way, it felt like living in a different universe for a while.
Your picture is beautiful, even though the situation it depicts is horible.
May I ask you though if you have any idea why the windows reflected in the water are bright, while their original self are not ?
Yes, it was a weird time to say the least, wasn’t it? We had power cuts here a few times. It was very odd to walk home in complete darkness. The city felt like a very different place.
That’s a very good question. Hadn’t even noticed to be honest. Almost looks like the lights are on inside, doesn’t it? Editing-wise all I did was the usual: contrast, brightness, fixing highlights etc. No actual altering of what I saw. So I really don’t know. It was first light though, so maybe that had something to do with how the the sun was reflected. But not sure that makes any sense at all…
Perhaps there are Venetian blinds on the windows adjusted to an angle which would produce this dichotomy.
I thought that was the answer. Makes a lot of sense. But I looked at the full sized image, and it appears there aren’t any blinds. The difference is visible in pretty much all the reflected windows too.
One constant with windows in Japan though is the mesh to stop mosquitos. But not convinced that’d make any difference at all…
Did you have a polarising filter on your camera for the shot? The light reflected in the water would polarise to a different angle than that from the windows.
Cheers for another good call, but nah, no filter at all…
..and many will have lives that are still threadbare from those that are gone..
Here, there was a different sort of gambling.
Yes, agree completely. On both counts.
It hit one hour after I landed in Japan. Its really quite sad how quickly news of the situation faded from our screens.
That was quite a time to arrive…
Yes, news might be 24 hours a day, but it’s amazing how little time there clearly is to cover anything but the most recent or sensationalists stories.
The 24 hour news in the UK is typically the same 15 minutes repeated over and over.
With regards coverage of the triple disaster east Japan suffered I do see programs on it or relating to it pretty much every week on several different program series NHK World broadcasts. Mostly they cover the human side of things with the hardships the victims have to live with every day. One particular recent program followed a group of 10-15 year olds who had all lost family members to the tsunami and how their school tried to help them come to terms with it all. One lad said at the end that he still asked questions of himself about what happened, and now understood there were no answers, and that he was fine with that. Quite moving.
That rapid repetition has always annoyed me. So much time available, and yet so little news used to fill it.
Been reading a few stories, particularly these last few days, about how families and individuals are getting on with their lives. Or at least attempting to. Impossible to imagine what they have suffered, isn’t it? Good to hear that some people at least are learning how to deal with what happened.
A photograph of serene devastation.
I have literally just this minute finished writing a review of a two hour dramatization of the events at the nuclear plant that day, so this was very much on my mind as I opened your website.
I’m old enough to know how fast time passes. But the swiftness of the chronocurrent still catches me out sometimes, as it has today on this fifth anniversary.
A fitting photograph to mark the day.
Have you considered visiting the deserted areas around the plant with your Haiko hat on? I have seen that day visits and even some train services to a few towns are allowed now – just no overnight stays. The potential hazard to health and greater air of intrusion would probably put me off though.
Yes, time does seem to go past worrying fast, doesn’t it? It was such a weird period to live through that the whole thing feels slightly unreal now, particularly so with the added buffer of time. The dramatisation sounds interesting, any chance of giving me the title please?
Good question. I have thought about it. On numerous occasions if I’m being totally honest. But at the same time I’m not sure it’s the right thing to do, with the people being forced out of their homes, and for the most part probably still living in the region. Just visiting the deserted towns, on the other hand, I’d be more than up for. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable going inside the buildings.
The program is called “NHK Documentary: 88 Hours-The Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown Part 1 & Part 2”.
The one about the kids is “Exploring Life in Class – A Year at a Tsunami-hit School”.
More details can be found here
Of course, entering properties would not be right , but as you say just views from the roads and lanes would be remarkable. It is fascinating how quickly nature takes back. It is a theme Ray Bradbury used in Dandelion Wine, a small town being like a ship that when left quickly sinks back in nature.
Thanks a lot. Much appreciated. They sound very interesting.
Yes, it is amazing how quickly nature takes back. Amazing how beautiful it can be too.
Beautiful shot. It looks so incredibly peaceful after what happened…….
I sincerely hope all those affected can slowly begin to get on with their lives.
Likewise. Impossible to imagine how difficult the last 5 years must have been for so many people.
Thanks. It was oddly peaceful and calm. Impossible to ignore what had happened, and yet at the same time impossible to imagine how it must have been.
So sad. I can’t believe it’s 5 years already…..
Yes, in some ways it seems like only yesterday, and yet at the same time almost another lifetime ago…
J. Izumi says
It’s a beautiful shot, Lee. Just don’t know what else to say.
I know what you mean. So much has been said, but none of it is really enough…