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"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."


Robert Frost

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ten Things to Learn from the Japanese People

It always stuns me how quickly one major news even falls out the headlines when another comes along. Although the earthquake that destroyed so much of Japanese life happened just eight weeks ago, it's virtually disappeared from the media. Today I got a letter from the Japanese tourism bureau and, happily, they've announced that the United States Department of State has reduced the restricted travel area to  only the 50 miles radius surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which excludes major cities such as Tokyo and Yokohama, and Tokyo's Narita and Haneda airports. Great news for the Japan tourism industry. One thing that really struck me about this whole event was how graceful the Japanese people were in the face of this incredible series of horrors. The word "looting" was barely mentioned in any news story. The following list of characteristics of how the Japanese have dealt with the earthquake and tsunami was included in the tourism newsletter and, though they don't really know the source of it, I think it is probably quite accurate and it's pretty amazing. Take a moment to read this list and you'll see why we should all have great admiration and respect for the Japanese people:

1. THE CALM
(Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.)
2. THE DIGNITY
(Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.)
3. THE ABILITY
(The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn't fall.)
4. THE GRACE
(People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.)
5. THE ORDER
(No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.)
6. THE SACRIFICE
(Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?)
7. THE TENDERNESS
(Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.)
8. THE TRAINING
(The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.)
9. THE MEDIA
(They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.)
10. THE CONSCIENCE
(When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly!)

1 comment:

Ikeda,Shoji said...

I (Japanese) felt that I had to be so because I read ten things of these. I wish to express my gratitude for your article.