The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Getting Out

Nuclear contamination of Tokyo’s drinking water. The Fukushima power station problem still not fully under control. The threat of more earthquakes (Biggish one as I write, does this never end????) and general misery that is enveloping the city. No wonder people wanted to leave. It is still much better here than up north where around 25, 000 people have probably died from the earthquake and tsunami and almost half a million are homeless.

Some of course are always homeless like the man in the image above sleeping in Shinjuku the other night. He can’t escape. Neither, unless the British government get suddenly and uncharacteristically generous, can I. But I fully understand those that could and did. Especially if they had kids. It maybe pretty safe here, even this contamination issue will probably seem like a storm in a teacup soon. I do not believe me staying had any bravery or foolishness to it. Just my reading of the confusing  and contradictory facts and a degree of understanding that satisfied me enough to decide it was not so dangerous here so there was little point in going. If it becomes more dangerous, rest assured  I will leave in an instant.

Yes it is better to be safe than sorry and maybe I should have gone, but I don’t have that choice, leaving would cause more difficulties for the future than I can easily deal with just now and more perhaps than any risk we currently face. If that situation were to reverse there would be no second guesses and I’d be at Narita. But those that have already left are not cowards; they are sensible and caring parents and spouses. They are also lucky that they are in a possition to be able to go or they are braver than I to take a risk with those other aspects of their lives that could be seriously complicated by going away. They are not the derogatory “fly-jin” they have been labeled. (Gai-jin or foreigners who fly away quickly)

So please stop the name calling. I stayed but I am not better than those that went. I would love to have gone even if I thought it unnecessary really I just couldn’t. If this nuclear issue gets worse, believe me, I’m outta here.

Does that make me a cowardly fly-jin?

Frankly who gives a shit?




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