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Strength of Character
Posted By: Mike Cash, 06-10-2008, 06:52 AM

You have to admire a guy who uses homemade crutches and a hospital-castoff decrepit wheelchair and still goes out to work in his fields.




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06-10-2008, 07:09 AM   #2
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Good photo, i really like it.
06-10-2008, 07:36 AM   #3
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I really ike this photo Mike, it sends a strong statement
06-10-2008, 08:13 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
You have to admire a guy who uses homemade crutches and a hospital-castoff decrepit wheelchair and still goes out to work in his fields.

I agree, and I think your photo captures that statement well. Nice work.

06-10-2008, 09:59 AM   #5
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What an image Mike! It makes chills run up my spine. This guy makes me humble indeed.
06-10-2008, 08:52 PM   #6
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wow...
(speechless - nothing more to say, but I have to add something so the forum will the message)
06-10-2008, 11:37 PM   #7
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Impressive capture Mike. I think you should get a photo book of Life in Japan . I'll be the first one to buy it !

Tran

06-11-2008, 03:10 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
You have to admire a guy who uses homemade crutches and a hospital-castoff decrepit wheelchair and still goes out to work in his fields.
As admirable as this man appears to be, it may not be his choice to live like this. Perhaps he has no health insurance or family to care for him and let him recover from his injury or illness. Maybe he dreads each day of his existence because he has no money for the essentials of life; never mind buying decent crutches and a wheelchair. Perhaps the social safety net has developed a gaping hole where sick, old folks aren't allowed the time to get better without worrying about putting a roof over their heads and food on the table. Maybe some philanthropic organization or NGO like the Kinsmen or Rotary Club should step up to the plate and offer some assistance to this poor, sick old man. Maybe we as a society should be ashamed to allow people to live in such decrepit, debilitating and inhumane conditions.

Great picture Mike, thanks for sharing.
06-11-2008, 05:36 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by J.Scott Quote
As admirable as this man appears to be, it may not be his choice to live like this.
Doesn't detract from his pluck, though.

QuoteQuote:
Perhaps he has no health insurance or family to care for him and let him recover from his injury or illness.
The part about the possible lack of health insurance is not even a remote possibility. Japan has long had socialized medicine and it is technically not possible to not be enrolled in it. Since being in it is mandatory, they will consider you as having been in it and covered and will even go back and cover treatment for periods prior to your having actually been registered in the books. Of course, they hit you up for back premiums at the same time, but an indigent person would have either zero or negligible premiums (they're based on the previous year's income) and would not, could not, be refused ongoing or future treatment for non-payment of premiums. Ditto for hospital bills, at least at the public facilities, which are available and of good quality.

When America anguishes over adopting some form of socialized medicine and looks at the UK and Canada, I scratch my head and wonder why they don't take a look at the way it is done here. Coverage is universal, premiums and cost of treatment are reasonable, and being on a waiting list for treatment or surgery is unheard of.

I have no way of knowing about his family, of course, so can offer no conjecture on that.

QuoteQuote:
Maybe he dreads each day of his existence because he has no money for the essentials of life; never mind buying decent crutches and a wheelchair. Perhaps the social safety net has developed a gaping hole where sick, old folks aren't allowed the time to get better without worrying about putting a roof over their heads and food on the table. Maybe some philanthropic organization or NGO like the Kinsmen or Rotary Club should step up to the plate and offer some assistance to this poor, sick old man. Maybe we as a society should be ashamed to allow people to live in such decrepit, debilitating and inhumane conditions.

Great picture Mike, thanks for sharing.
Actually, there are such things in place here. The government from a few years ago has instituted a "home helper" service whereby the elderly and/or infirm can receive in-home help with things like house cleaning, cooking, bathing, etc. Private companies provide the actual services. My wife works for one of them and sees 2 or 3 clients each day. It has been quite a boom industry in Japan over the last few years. Another similarly booming industry is elderly daycare centers, which have bus/van services to provide to/from transport. They have nurses and licensed assistants on staff to watch over and take care of their charges. They provide good meals, some activities, and a chance for people with greatly reduced mobility the chance to gather and socialize in a safe setting. (Some of the dance photos I have posted have been from the girls doing volunteer performances at these centers). The population of Japan is rapidly aging and these centers have been sprouting up like weeds; they're everywhere.

Over the quarter-century I've been living amongst the Japanese I have witnessed a change regarding the elderly (and the physically or mentally challenged) which is nothing short of revolutionary.

Being familiar with the societal context surrounding the situation is what made the guy stand out to me and made him photo-worthy. If such sights were common, I wouldn't have shot it. He stood out to me for his obvious adherence to self-reliance and dogged determination to go tend his garden....bum legs or no bum legs. And with the price of real estate in this tiny and overcrowded island nation, let us not lose sight of the fact that he has land and if he is strapped for cash always has the option of selling it and very likely having enough to live comfortably if he wishes.

My assessment: A self-reliant man of principles and pluck. The world could use a few more.


There are people who do fall outside the safety net, though:




Last edited by Mike Cash; 06-11-2008 at 06:04 AM.
06-11-2008, 07:13 AM   #10
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Thanks for the explanation Mike. It sounds like the Japanese are doing all the right things for the sick and elderly.

'Pluck' is indeed an admirable trait and this guy has it in spades! Obviously I have no idea what his personal situation might be and my post should be read as simply another take or perspective of a photograph; one man sees determination while another might see desperation. Everyone will notice I used the word 'maybe' several times in my post as it was only conjecture.

In the end, it is a great thought-provoking photograph. I really like it!
06-11-2008, 07:21 AM   #11
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Amazing shot, Mike...

I'll remember that one the next time I complain to myself about waking up early to get ready for work.
06-11-2008, 07:41 AM   #12
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That is an amazing photograph, Mike. It seems the most important thing about the picture is that, as Mr. Scott points out, it provokes thought and emotions. You can't help but wonder about the gentleman and the story of his life. This photo is definitely National Geographic or Life magazine worthy.

What I can't help but see in the picture is the man's boots and clothing. Obviously I don't know the guys age and it's impossible to tell from what's shown, and maybe it's because it's in B&W, but it seems as if the man is wearing old military fatigues and old military boots. I can imagine that the man could tell some stories about 1945.

Thanks for posting this one.
06-11-2008, 01:17 PM   #13
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Wow Mike you have such an eye for these kind of documentary photographs...

how do you use Lightbox in PF.com?
06-11-2008, 01:23 PM   #14
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Mike, you woke up deep thoughts in me, about life and poverty and man's incredible ability to adapt...
06-11-2008, 04:15 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Roberts Quote
Wow Mike you have such an eye for these kind of documentary photographs...
Thanks, but it is just a matter of being out and about and having my camera at my elbow all day long.


QuoteQuote:
how do you use Lightbox in PF.com?
I assume you're referring to the click to enlarge feature. When you use tags to include a photo over 800 pixels wide in your post, just use "imgwide" where you would normally use "img".
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