You can click here to see my Flickr album, but my snaps are nothing compared to the talented work of two pros, Dee & Tracey from 37 Frames. (There are a few great shots in my album but they are the ones that I "borrowed" from fellow volunteers who shared their pics with me on Facebook. It's not theft, it's a tribute!)
Dee & Tracey's brilliant shots, which you can view here on their blog, show in living color the condition of northeast Japan after the Great Tohoku earthquake/tsunami of March 11. They have driven relief supplies up to the area a few times already and so have several photo-driven journals posted over the last three months. In "Black Mouth," an account of their first trip up to Ishinomaki posted March 29, they wrote something that sort sums up how I justified my own recent weekend up there with a group of mainly Western businesspeople ("Get Your Hands Dirty" program organized by ACCJ): "All we can do is make a difference on a human level. Try and help, assist, listen to one person. Touch one. If we could all affect this, volunteer even for a day, reach out to just one person then collectively tides of survival give way to those of recovery and life beyond."
This follow-up was posted on April 19, after their second visit: "[In] downtown Ishinomaki ... the big white boat on the corner now doesn’t wait to cross the road. The dramatically parked red fishing vessel is also gone, the streets a little bit clearer, change certainly occurring here." When I walked through the downtown area with my group on June 5, most storefronts were still dark, but a school uniform shop was open for business and you could see through the front windows that it was stocked with merchandise. An izakaya was functioning as a kitchen for Peace Boat's food service for the people in nearby shelters. But signs of life (economic and otherwise) were few and far between. And the waterfront was flat, bleak, a mess.
Click here to see some more of Dee & Tracey's astonishing photographs, so beautifully rendered. I should've linked to them ages ago.