Queues at a convenience store in total darkness. …… “Unexpected Sights in Tokyo” seen after a major earthquake. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Queues at a convenience store in total darkness. …… “Unexpected Sights in Tokyo” seen after a major earthquake.

Our cameraman flew to various places in Tokyo immediately after the earthquake.

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A convenience store in Tabata in total darkness after a power outage. It continued to operate with a small light.

Shortly after 11:30 p.m. on March 16, a photographer for this magazine was driving on the Metropolitan Expressway when he felt a strange sensation. He thought it might have been wind or some other vibration, but then a sign appeared on the highway’s information board that said, “Earthquake.

It was a magnitude 7.4 earthquake with an intensity of 6 on the Japanese scale in Miyagi, Fukushima, and other prefectures. I immediately got off the expressway at the Oji-Minami Interchange and headed for various places in Tokyo. There was nothing unusual in front of Oji Station, but as I was driving toward Ueno, it suddenly became completely dark ahead of me. Nakamachi-dori,” an area lined with restaurants and cabarets just outside Ueno Station, was lined with restaurants and cabarets, but most of the stores and buildings were without power.

Downtown Ueno in total darkness. One street over, the lights are normally on.

Checking the news, about 700,000 homes in Tokyo were without power. There were customers leaving cabarets and clubs, perhaps unable to stay in their stores because of the blackout. It was a strange sight to see club moms and hostesses seeing their customers off in front of the pitch-dark streets.

Moving to the area around Tabata, there was a line of people waiting in line at a darkened Lawson. It seemed to be open for business only by the light of flashlights and shoppers’ smartphones, and two clerks, who looked like a husband and wife, were busily working. We spoke to the clerks.

The cash registers have stopped working, and so are the ATMs,” she said. But this one is working, so all I have to do is give the price and settle up the cash.”

The barcode scanner itself is battery-operated and can barely read the merchandise. The power was out over a large area, and customers were crowding into the open stores to buy food, flashlights, and other necessities.

Convenience stores that had lost power were crowded with customers.

Back in Ueno again, firefighters and police officers gathered in front of the building. When I asked one of the men touting around, he replied, “I’m not a firefighter.

One of the staff members seems to be trapped in the elevator. It’s been there for more than two hours.

Firefighters were working on the site, but they seemed to be having difficulty, as they were working in total darkness.

Firefighters rescuing a person trapped in an elevator in a multi-tenant building.

After 2:00 a.m., the power in Tokyo gradually began to be restored. However, at an intersection in Ukima, Kita Ward, the traffic signal that had gone out did not come back on. Even after the power was restored in the area, only the traffic lights did not come on, so police officers were maneuvering pedestrians and cars with guide lights in their hands.

In Ukima, Kita Ward, the traffic signal did not turn on, and police officers were using guide lights to navigate cars.

During this large-scale power outage, there were a number of places where the lights were on a short distance away, even though it was pitch-dark here. In places where the lights were on, the usual routine continued, and in places where the power was out, chaos ensued, a veritable “light and dark” situation.

  • Photography Takero Bund

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