... but the most significant disaster was not the nuclear incident, nor the quake, but the Tsunami?
Yes - the aftermath of the tsunami itself is simply beyond words, and just by visual observation gives you trauma even as an outsider who didn't experience its initial wrath. There are still 15,000 souls missing - which horrifically gnaws at the back of everyone's minds, as well as 100,000s of displaced folks. The nuclear crisis though, no matter what the armchair pundits say, is quite a real and ongoing threat to Japan, and moreover to the economy and socio-psychological stability which is so vital to our recovery. I spent 21 years in the US Navy as a submariner, living and working literally alongside a nuclear reactor, and working with nuclear weapons - I'm not afraid of radiation if its managed properly, and well know its limits and hazards. But even with all my experience I'm still quite fearful of the outcome and now strongly question at least Japan's safe management of nuclear power moving forward. And for those skeptics - yes its very prudent to wear a dosimeter here, Marc is quite fortunate to have access to one. Where the Fukushima Daiichi crisis will lead we won't know for many months to come, in the meantime its a bit tedious having to watch webcams and outside radiological monitoring in the absence of being given real data and status from TEPCO and the Government. As for the quakes - those are also getting tiring, we've had at least 5 major aftershocks just today - the strongest event to happen in Tokyo since 1923 occurred this morning. On a positive note I'm somewhat reassured by the quake resistant engineering put into the infrastructure, and have more faith than ever before in the integrity of buildings, roads, etc., and even my creaky 50 year old house. Its also oddly intriguing to be presented with unique challenges like how to store 200 liters of water (in case the tap water is contaminated with Iodine and Cesium again) in a manner which can survive the ongoing jolts and wobbles of the earthquakes, let alone trying to find out the estimated plume of volcanic ash Mt. Fuji would produce should it somehow be seismically triggered into an eruption (the 4th threat vector not mentioned in foreign media). In the end though we're all here just trying to resume normal lives, and no matter if a swarm of locusts arrive tomorrow - we're at least alive and thriving - unlike the dead and missing to the North of us as a result of the tsunami.
Today I was supposed to meet Marc here in Tokyo for the first time but had to cancel due to the aftershock - but hopefully will soon. Then I can sit with someone and discuss things like IQ180s, WRS, Hartblei Cams, and learn more about photography, while taking a break from our triad of demon disasters. Would be great if Bernard could join as well!
Also in a way related to photography - whenever disaster happens (hurricane, tsunami, fire, whatever) people always say the most precious valuables lost were photographs. We're seeing that here as well. I'm considering somehow, when the time is appropriate, to use my new IQ and 645DF to shoot free portraits for displaced people and families. I've never shot portraiture before, but want to give it a go - hope the LL forums can help when the time comes to do so! Speaking of which has anyone heard a firm shipping date for IQ backs?
P.S. - if people really want to contribute to Japan in a positive manner - go out and buy a Japanese camera or a lens, or a bottle of sake!!