The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter


Been busy as the last few weeks. Not had much time to myself at all recently which is why the silence here. Lots of Jobs to do, including sending Jayson his pics, chasing up invoices; Planning new stories and following-up  ones I’ve already shot and sent out. One of those is the tour around the 20 kilometre exclusion zone in Fukushima I did with my good friend and fellow snapper Bruce a few weeks ago.

This is when the image of Saito Takahashi above, was taken. We found him training a horse for a festival that takes place in July, on the exclusion zone border near Minami Soma. Asked if he was worried about radiation he said he wasn’t.

“My only worry is that the radiation fears will keep tourists away from the festival. That will be big a problem for keeping the horses then. I am worried about that but not the radiation.”

His grand-daughter training another horse nearby was less blase, she was worried and she was scared. But she was still there, training the horses for a festival that may have no visitors this year. You have to admire that.

The countryside around them was empty and abandoned: almost no cars moved and no people passed by. The high spring sky was full of birds but also a potentially dangerous breeze from the south-east bringing unknown horrors with it from the remains of the Nuclear Power station. Anytime outside in that zone felt reckless and ill-advised, yet people like Takahashi san have no choice but to continue doing their work, to hope the tourist will come and to follow a routine that speaks of better days. The horses need the exercise, the people that look after them need to believe that something good remains.

Have to admire that.

Was in good company up there as James Whitlow Delano also had a walk around the exclusion zone it seems.

Later Damon


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