Unlike hordes of expats who left after the earthquake, TOP reader Francis Harrison decided to stay in Tokyo with his Japanese wife and his job at Ricoh. As the initial jitters subsided a bit he began to document everyday life around him. He says of this shot:
Odakyu Line guard. Early morning rush.
Much is made in the foreign media of the epic courage of the Japanese, but what is courage? A better way to understand what is going on here is the concept of 'duty,' of being more afraid of the 'shame' of not manning your post than of death itself....
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Steve m p: "Never met Mr.Harrison, but having followed his online photographic career—I can say: that if there is just one man who will get the shot, it's Francis. He defines the meaning of dedication to the craft."
Featured Comment by Animesh Ray: "It is wonderful to see dear Francis recognized here on TOP. He has been an inspiration, instructing us through TrekEarth, and lately through Photoholik, by his tireless encouragement and insightful critique. All told, his is a hard act to follow."
Featured Comment by David H.: Most folks I know in Tokyo have a less heroic reason for staying in Tokyo and going to work: no choice. Can't just pull up and leave. Another major reason is that the situation in Tokyo and vicinity is not / was not nearly as dire as people overseas seem to believe. We are basically back to normal, and we were within a few days. The uncertainty was not earthquake related, but due to conflicting, ever-changing reports on the nuclear reactors...and even that is subsiding.
"Common among those of us, Japanese and non-Japanese, who were lucky enough to have been in the Tokyo area instead of up north during the quake, is a reluctance to complain about what has so far been minor inconveniences—power outages, transportation delays—for most of us. It seems a bit embarrassing that we got off so easy.
"To put what happened into some perspective, the death toll in the tsunami areas is more than 11,000 with more than 16,000 still missing. In Tokyo, the last figure I heard was 7 people dead. Kanagawa to the south, 3. Chiba, just north, 13 dead. Eleven thousand plus deceased up north, to approximately 23.
"Now if I can just convince my friends and family in the States that Tokyo is safe. At least until the long overdue Kanto quake hits."