I have been following the news closely. Japan is near and dear to my heart and it hurts me to see it suffer so. This crisis also gave me a new found respect for my second home. I'm not talking about the Japanese government. I neither trust nor distrust any government. I'm not talking about Japanese culture either. I know the word "culture" is sometimes used as a weapon to attack and put down others. I'm talking about those in the Northeast region hardest hit by the recent natural disaster.
I don't know what it is that is helping these people to stand tall in times of tragic desperation. But whatever it is, they are enduring these horrific events with the utmost grace and dignity. I've read countless of stories of volunteers and rescuers reaching a group of people, only to be told by those victims themselves that they are alright and that the rescuing efforts ought to move on to others who are in even more dire need than they are. Pictures of the perilously long lines outside the evacuation centers speak louder than any word I could have written. Those are the people who have lost everything, their family, loved ones, friends, community, home, job, their whole world came apart and was destroyed on that fateful day. They are traumatized, hurt, cold, hungry, thirsty, and they queue up for food, water, and emergency supplies. No shoving, pushing, arguing, and fighting over rations. There has been no slow descent into chaos. No looting, riots, rapes, or murders. Just people, young and old, suffering silently and keeping to themselves, putting their community above their own persons. And for that, they have my utmost respect.
Sure, Japan has plenty of problems and many weaknesses, but its best strength is its people. It is no small feat to be able to cultivate such dignified and graceful citizens who are selfless in the time of crisis. Hats off to you, Japan.