While most foreigners were busy leaving the Tohoku region following the March 11 disaster, a British man living in London felt compelled to ignore the travel advice and head to the region to assist with relief efforts.

Trainee accountant Luke Dunn, 28, managed to secure leave from his London employer and help out in the towns of Miyako and Yamada in Iwate Prefecture.

Dunn, who taught English in Miyako between 2005 and 2007, said: "I love Miyako. It feels like kind of a second home to me. I wanted to help if I could. . . . These are my friends, ex-colleagues, and family."