Rapha: Return to Tohoku

15 March 2016 ● 1 min read ● 1 image
Rapha: Return to Tohoku

I wasn't in Japan in 2011 when the earthquake struck but received a panicked phone call during the initial aftershocks. A few months after the tsunami I was able to visit Tohoku to take aid and supplies. The scene then was shocking; debris, twisted cars and remnants of what used to be homes.

I've been fortunate to visit the area in the years following and see what is a slow but real recovery. Navigating the landscape by bike you see and feel much more of the place and its people. This time I documented and rode in the TOUR de TOHOKU for Rapha Japan who have a long history with the region dating back to the global charity ride nine days after the disaster, which helped raise funds and consciousness in the relief effort of the most costly natural disaster in global history.

For anyone that’s been here before the feeling of change is palpable, there’s a sense that progression is taking place after so many years of cleaning up the landscape, a vast emptiness for so long is now beginning to grow; rice fields are full, the roads and bridges restored and boats are now back on the ocean. The simple act of bringing people together through a love of cycling makes a difference, not only by directly being here, but also through the experiences visitors share with others, a gesture so important to residents who often feel so forgotten.

With close to 230,000 who lost their homes still living in temporary housing, things are far from normal, each individual is directly connected with their own story of the tsunami and it’s immediate and long term effects.

The full photo story is here:
English: http://pages.rapha.cc/stories/return-to-tohoku

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About Lee

Lee Basford

I'm an art director in Tokyo, Japan

I'm an art director, designer and photographer working in and around the overlap of art and design, blending these disciplines to create...

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