It is no secret that these are hard times for the people of Japan. Disasters happen in many forms all over the world, but people always manage to overcome. Japan will be no exception.
Minutes after that quake two weeks ago, I grabbed my backpack and started walking the streets of Hashimoto, mainly to see how people were reacting. As the power went out immediately, police were directing traffic, companies were closing their doors, people trying to text loved ones and figure out how they were going to get home. Despite all the confusion that day, I noticed a lot of goodness in these people and this place.
Convenience stores stayed open, despite the darkness inside. People were forming lines, the owners allowing customers to come in, one-at-a-time to buy a few items. Trains were obviously not running, so the bus and taxi stands had lines longer than I had ever seen. A bicycle shop in town remained open, with a long line in front of it as well. Many others started their long walk home.
But there was NO PANIC. It seemed almost automatic, in fact it was. This was a serious situation, and everyone of all ages settled into a “group-cooperation mode.” And things just clicked like a perfectly oiled machine. Yes, no panic, just orderliness without the supervision of the police force.
As you can imagine, this has been a topic of conversation in many of our classes. Everyone has a story to tell. When hearing these stories from my students, witnessing the compassion, cooperation, and resilience of these people, I feel very proud to be a part of this society.
Several students emailing me, some coming to my door to see if I was ok. A big box of emergency items arriving two days later from Smith’s Head Office. The support system coming from all directions. Despite the hardships now, I am confident that the people here will rise again and be stronger than they already are. Japan is still a great place to live and work. I don’t see how I could ever leave.
I couldn’t agree with you more Jim I could never leave my students & friends in this their darkest hour-in fact their hour of need
Smith’s School of English Koenji