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Nature’s evil forces at work in Japan


March 11, 2011 devastating earthquake and tsunami have evoked an outpouring of support for Japan.

Consider this piece in The Telegraph by Ed West.

And solidarity seems especially strong in Japan itself. Perhaps even more impressive than Japan’s technological power is its social strength, with supermarkets cutting prices and vending machine owners giving out free drinks as people work together to survive. Most noticeably of all, there has been no looting, and I’m not the only one curious about this.

This is quite unusual among human cultures, and it’s unlikely it would be the case in Britain. During the 2007 floods in the West Country abandoned cars were broken into and free packs of bottled water were stolen. There was looting in Chile after the earthquake last year – so much so that troops were sent in; in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina saw looting on a shocking scale.

Because Japanese culture, unlike all other modern cultures, is based primarily on honor and dignity. Unlike our Katrina disaster, the Japanese don’t see this as an opportunity to steal everything in sight. The so-called civilized world can learn much from the stoic Japanese.

Well, it reminds me the famous quote by Victor E. Frankl. The most important thing in the face of disaster is still character and attitude.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way." – Victor E. Frankl

Below are the posts that are popular on China’s internet, repeatedly being posted and spread on many different Chinese internet discussion forums. The first post features several photographs and captions concerning the orderly reaction of Japanese people to the Tohoku (previously Sendai) earthquake and tsunami. The second post features a story of six childcare center teachers diligently protecting and staying with the little children entrusted to their care until their parents arrived to pick them up.

check the following post.
http://www.chinasmack.com/2011/pictures/chinese-netizens-admire-japanese-post-earthquake-behavior.html

Some stories that I took from a Facebook member and some other sources:

Calm…

What is most impressive about these people who have lost absolutely everything except the clothes they were wearing when the tsunami struck is the calm with which they are accepting their dire predicament.

They might weep quietly, wring their hands to release some pent-up feelings, but there are no furious demands for action from the authorities. They sit and they wait.

They talk about their escapes – ‘It was like I was in a washing machine’… ‘I clung to a tree branch’ … ‘my house crashed down around me as the water carried it along but I got out all right’ – and they shed a tear for missing loved ones.

Personal Loss

Lying on a stone floor under a blanket, a 104-year-old great-grandmother stared at the ceiling, numb from the cold and the shock of what she has endured.

Her granddaughter sat beside her in the evacuation centre near Sendai, not wanting to share their grief with the outside world as she carefully poured water between the old lady’s silent lips.

Eventually she revealed: ‘My grandmother has lost everything. Her whole house has gone. It is a very personal loss… family members. We suffer greatly. But it is our own pain.’ It was one of countless heartbreaking stories which continued to emerge yesterday.

Final Goodbyes

Yoshie Murakami cried in anguish as she said her final goodbyes and held her mother’s hand. The body was discovered after five days of agonising searching in in the tsunami-hit city of Rikuzentakata.

Terribly, her 23-year-old daughter is still missing. All Mrs Murakami can do is pray for a miracle.

Similar scenes unfolded throughout the country as rescuers sifted though the rubble and families prayed that their loved ones were safe and well.

A Strong Voice

Yesterday, I was impressed and touched by the actions of my neighbor’s 13-year-old-boy. He was home alone when the earthquake hit. But instead of hiding, as soon as the earthquake quieted down, he jumped on his bicycle and road around the block repeatedly shouting at the top of his voice, “Is everyone alright? Is everyone okay?” At the time, there were only women and children and the elderly in the homes. I cannot describe how comforting it was just to hear a strong voice asking if I was okay. Thank you!

At A Congested Downtown Intersection

Cars were moving at the rate of maybe one every green light, but everyone was letting each other go first with a warm look and a smile. At a complicated intersection, the traffic was at a complete standstill for 5 minutes, but I listened for 10 minutes and didn’t hear a single beep or honk except for an occasional one thanking someone for giving way. It was a terrifying day, but scenes like this warmed me and made me love my country even more.

During The Earthquake

We’ve all been trained to immediately open the doors and establish an escape route when there is an earthquake. In the middle of the quake while the building was shaking crazily and things falling everywhere, a man made his way to the entrance and held it open. Honestly, the chandelier could have crashed down any minute … that was a brave man!

Bus Stop Mini Episode

It was freezing and bus was taking ages to arrive. “@saiso” left the queue to run to a nearby pharmacy. He bought heating pads and gave one to everyone in the queue!

Reminded of The Goodness of the Japanese People

This earthquake has reminded me of that Japanese goodness that had recently become harder and harder to see. Today I see no crime or looting: I am reminded once again of the good Japanese spirit of helping one another, of propriety, and of gentleness. I had recently begun to regard my modern countrymen as cold people … but this earthquake has revived and given back to all of us the spirit of “kizuna” (bond, trust, sharing, the human connection). I am very touched. I am brought to tears.

Card Board Boxes, Thank You!

It was cold and I was getting very weary waiting forever for the train to come. Some homeless people saw me, gave me some of their own cardboard boxes and saying “you’ll be warmer if you sit on these!” I have always walked by homeless people pretending I didn’t see them, and yet here they were offering me warmth. Such warm people.

What Foreigners Are Saying About Japanese People

At a supermarket where everything was scattered everywhere over the floors, shoppers were helping pick them up and putting them back neatly on the shelves before quietly moving into line to wait to pay for them. On the totally jam-packed first train after the quake, an elderly man gave up his seat for a pregnant woman. Foreigners have told me they are amazed witnessing sights like these. I do believe they actually saw what they said they saw. Japan is truly amazing.

BBC Reports

The words of BBC’s reports are so moving they make me cry. They were praising us with words of admiration! “One of the worst earthquakes in recorded history has hit the world’s most well-prepared, well-trained nations. The strength of its government and its people are put to the test. While there have been casualties, in no other country could the government and the people have worked together in such an accurate and coordinated way in the face of such tragedy. The Japanese people have shown their cultural ability to remain calm in the face of adversity.”

A Little Story About Papa

We live in an area that was not directly hit. When my father came downstairs and heard the news saying that our area had begun allocating electricity to the hard-hit areas, he quietly led by example, turning off the power around the house and pulling the plugs out of their sockets. I was touched. He usually NEVER turns off the lights or the AC or the TV or anything!

Japanese People Don’t Shove

I’m looking at Yurakucho station from above. I see people standing in line, not pushing or shoving to get onto the Yamanote Line (probably the busiest line in central Tokyo), even at a time like this!

The Bakery Lady

There was a small bread shop on the street I take to go to school. It has long been out of business. But last night, I saw the old lady of the shop giving people her handmade bread for free. It was a heart-warming sight. She, like everyone else, was doing what she could to help people in a time of need. Tokyo isn’t that bad afterall!

Japan Is A Wonderful Nation!

Both the government and the people, everyone is helping one another today. There are truck drivers helping evacuees move. I even heard that the “yakuza” (gangsters, organized crime groups) are helping to direct traffic in the Tohoku region! There have been many recent developments that have made me lose my sense of pride in my country, but not anymore. Japan is an amazing place! I’m just simply touched. Go Japan!

At The Supermarket

I just came back safely from the supermarket! Man, I was so touched at how everyone there was mindful of others, buying only as much as they needed and leaving the rest for the people behind them.

Gotenba Traffic

Japan is really something! Yesterday, not a single traffic light was functioning in Gotenba City. But drivers knew to take turns at intersections and give way to others when needed. Local people were using flags to direct traffic at intersections. I drove for 9 hours but never saw a single car trying to get in front of another. Every single driver on the road contributed to the traffic situation and as a result there was no confusion at all.

“All of Us”

I spoke with an old taxi driver and some elderly staff at the train stations. All of them had been working non-stop and had not been able to go home for a long time. They were visibly very tired, but never once did they show any sign of impatience; they were gentle and very caring. They told me “… because all of us are in this together.” I was touched at what the notion of “all of us” meant to these elderly people. It is a value I will treasure and carry on to my generation.

The Beauty of Helping One Another

I went out last night to help some friends who were volunteering as security personnel between Machida City and Sagami Ohno City. I saw total strangers, both young and old, helping each other along everywhere I turned and was heartened with an overwhelming feeling of encouragement. I was so touched I hid behind the toilets and cried.

I Just Have A Bike

I’m so touched! My colleague at my part time job, wanting to help even just one extra person, wrote a sign saying “I just have a bike, but if you don’t mind hop on!”, rode out on his motorbike, picked up a stranded construction worker and took him all the way to Tokorozawa! Respect! I have never felt so strongly that I want to do something helpful for others.

Rest Here!

Last night, I decided, rather than stay at the office, I should try walking home. So I slowly made my way west on Koshu freeway on foot. It was around 9PM when I saw an office building that had a sign that said “Please use our office’s bathrooms! Please rest here!” The employees of the office were loudly shouting out the same to all the people trying to walk home. I was so touch I felt like crying. Well, I guess I was too tense yesterday to cry, but now the tension is wearing off and am very much in tears.

At The Convenience Store

While most of the convenience stores near the station were closed because of the quake, there was just one Seven Eleven that was open. The employees had lit lots of candles and put them on the stores shelves. The cash register was not working and they could not take inventory, so the employees worked in threes, one reading up the item description and price, another punching the numbers into a calculator, and the last one using a flashlight to help them work. The store managed to operate both “cash registers” efficiently this way. Impressed!

On The Platform

The Oedo Subway Line for Hikarigaoka is very congested. On the platform and at the gate there are just crowds and crowds of people waiting for the train. But in all the confusion, every last person is neatly lined up waiting his or her turn while managing to keep a passage of space open for staff and people going the other way. Everyone is listening to the instructions from the staff and everyone acts accordingly. And amazingly … there isn’t even a rope or anything in sight to keep people in queue or open space for staff to pass, they just do! I am so impressed at this almost unnatural orderliness! I have nothing but praise for these people!

Coffee

My husband finally got home very late last night after walking for 4 hours. He told me he felt like giving up at around Akabane, when an elderly man who was going around handing out free coffee saw him, gave him a steaming cup and said, “You must be tired and cold. Here, have some coffee!” My husband told me that it was because of this elderly man that he found the will and strength to continue walking. I’ve already heard this story from him five times tonight, so no doubt he was really, really touched! Thank you to my husband’s anonymous helper!

Blood Donations

Japan is strong! At Osaka I saw a LONG line of people waiting to give blood at the blood donation center. This is the first time I have seen such a queue of selfless people waiting patiently in line just to give. It was a moving sight! To everyone in the hard-hit areas, we your countrymen accept your suffering as our own and we share in your grief. Do not give up! Stay strong!

Saving Electricity For The North

I went to my neighborhood supermarket and was initially surprised that their neon signs were off. They usually are open till 1AM. I then found out that they were open, but were saving electricity so that more power could be channeled to the hard-hit coastal areas. Wow!

Not Enough Money!

At the store where I work, a huge group of young men suddenly came in to buy booze. One of them suddenly said, “Oops, I only have enough money to buy booze, I can’t donate! Forget the booze, maybe next time!” and instead put ALL his money into the disaster relief donation box. One by one, every single one of the army of youths threw all their money into the box after him. What a heart-warming sight that was!

Goth Youth

A goth youth with white hair and body piercings walked into my store and shoved several hundred dollars (several tens of thousands of yen) into the disaster relief fund donation box. As he walked out, I and people around me heard him saying to his buddies, “I mean, we can buy those games anytime!” At that, we all opened our wallets and put our money into the donation box. Really, you cannot judge people by their appearances.

They Looked Absolutely Delicious!

I too saw the guy handing out free rice balls and miso soup on the way back from Akihabara. I was on my bicycle so I told him, “I’m okay, please give it to other people!” On hindsight, I should have taken one … they looked absolutely delicious!!

Need To Charge Your Phone?

At the emergency evacuation area, a young first-year intern at my company who had brought her phone’s charger got permission from the facility to use their power socket and went around shouting “Anyone need to charge their phone? Please use my charger!” Just a little thing, but I was touched.

I talked to many people here and most Japanese feel that Japan will bounce back. “Calamities are not new to Japan and so is nation building”, which reminds of this quotation.

“I get knocked down. But I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down." – Chumbawamba

Lets hope great days ahead for Japan and Japanese people.

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