The news from Japan changes almost as quickly as I can write it, so I’ll stop doing updates of doom and gloom.
Instead I’ll talk about the good things that have come out of the darkness.
Japan is country that has had more than its fair share of disasters – both natural and man-made. It has had earthquakes, typhoons, war, tsunami, landslides, avalanches, volcanic eruptions, flood…repeatedly, ever since people have lived on that string of 6,852 islands that make up Japan.
In many ways, people are used to it. People have had to pick up the pieces again and again and they do it quietly and with the pride of having lived through yet another trial of faith.
Earthquakes have hit this area before – repeatedly. In fact, they generally happen every 30-40 years in a cycle. The last big one was in 1978. Before that it was 1936. Before that was 1897….and so on. Miyagi prefecture should be earthquake-free now at least until 2040.
I think it’s the geography of the land that encourages close-knit communities. Many towns and villages huddle together in the very limited land that can be built on. Large mountains separate these communities, giving different weather, different dialects, different food culture on either side. Yes, a lot of the time people are living in each other’s pockets, but when you need to depend on each other for daily life, such as now, that’s not such a bad thing.
I’ve had customers calling from unaffected areas of Japan wanting to offer help to those in affected areas. They don’t know each other and in many cases they are competitor companies, but they’re ready to offer anything they can.
Looting is also unheard of. People wait patiently in line for hours and hours for simple things. People share blankets, space in front of the stoves, anything they have.
I don’t think any other country would handle disaster with such grace.
And that’s reason #999 why I love Japan.