Japan One Year After The Earthquake

頑張れ日本! Go Japan!

My daughter made this in Japanese preschool last week as the calendar for March. Most years March would be represented by Girls’ Day but March 11th marks the one year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. My daughter wrote the word 頑張ろう ganbarō at the bottom. This is the volitional form of the verb ganbaru which is a word you often hear in Japanese language meaning things like “hang in there”, to endure or something you say when you wish someone good luck (since they’re going through a hard time).

From time to time people at work and such ask me how Japan is doing. They know I keep up with the news there and such, so in lieu of a real Japanese person they ask me. :-p

When I visited there a couple months ago in Kanagawa prefecture, somewhat removed from east Japan,1 and further up north in Utsunomiya, it was easy to forget that Japan was still recovering. You could see posters and slogans like 日本頑張れ! (Japan hang in there!) but otherwise daily life was back to normal for most people.

However I also know that in private people still worry. Some worry that a big aftershock will hit closer to the Tokyo metropolitan area and cause tremendous damage like the 1923 Kantō Earthquake. People in Kanagawa and Tokyo aren’t walking around with Geiger counters, but are worried about the economy and the efforts to rebuild eastern Japan. Those who lived through through the disaster still sleep poorly at night. It is a sobering reminder of the fragility of life.

But more than anything, after 1 year has passed, I believe that people in Japan still feel a sense of quiet uncertainty weighing down on them. For example, the clean-up of the Tōhoku area will take decades to complete, and where does all that debris go? Can people rebuild critical industries, before its too late? Also, aftershocks happen almost daily, but will tomorrow bring a much more powerful one?

In my limited experience, the phrase ganbaru, emblematic of Japanese culture, can also convey a sense of “keep a stiff upper lip” or “to soldier on”, and I think that’s why this phrase gets used so much in slogans and posters: people in Japan are still uneasy, and still worried, but whether another major aftershock hits or whether the economy recovers or not is out of their hands. Instead of getting upset about it, and let their emotions spill out, all people can do is keep a stiff upper lip, and take it one day at a time.


1 People still ask me if Kanagawa Prefecture was greatly affected by the earthquake, and I have to explain that it’s somewhat far from the earthquake epicenter. Think of the state of California, and imagine a huge earth quake hitting up north near Sacramento. People in San Francisco will likely feel it, but the damage will be far less. People in LA will hardly feel it at all. Japan is crowded, but it’s quite long, so it’s roughly comparable. This isn’t a great analogy, but it helps. :)

About Doug 陀愚

A Buddhist, Father and Japanophile / Koreaphile.
This entry was posted in Japan, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

116 Responses to Japan One Year After The Earthquake

  1. cocomino says:

    I’m glad that your daughter wrote がんばろう. :)

  2. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Thank you! I will tell her that. :)

  3. I was just talking with my kids about the fact that the earthquake/tsunami happened a year ago…doesn’t feel quite that long, and yet it also feels like forever ago.

    I wish you all continued healing.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. What we saw happening in Japan on that day was horrific. Connie

  5. mixingupblog says:

    Hang in there Japan! My parents work in Nagasaki, although far from the earthquake, the shock was real. Best regard to Japanese people!

  6. JC Finch says:

    It’s always so interesting to see these kinds of events through the eyes of the children. They always have such an interesting perspective.

  7. My heart was broken upon seeing the images of that earthquake. It was hard to imagine that something so horrible could really happen. I think of it often and wish the people in the area the best.

  8. Sarah D. says:

    Thank you for writing this wonderful piece. I have a dear Japanese friend who lived in the US for a couple of years and went back to Japan nearly 3 years ago. She was far from the tsunami, yet still her life was changed last March 11. Now I know what word I can send her in her own language, after she has worked so diligently to learn mine.

  9. Musha Slater says:

    Wow, its been a year aleeady, huh? I still remember seeing it on the news the day the eartquake happened. I was so shocked to see the image of the muddy waters. I almost cried that day. I never thought another tsunami like that could happen again. Seeing Japan in dire stress, I could’t avoid comparing it to the tsunami after the Indian Ocean earthquakes. So many people with a bright future ahead gone just like that.

  10. kusana6i says:

    I just visited my relatives in Nakadamachi, Sendai which is very close to where the tsunami hit last year and came back a week ago. As you say, life was pretty much back to normal for the people who had not lost their homes.
    My family in general, had not been affected by the earthquake, but my grandmother died of shock a month later. It was an excruciatingly painful time for everyone.

  11. kelleynymph says:

    It’s hard to believe it has already been a year. Having lived in Japan for a year while I did study abroad, I felt personally affected by the disaster, as did many of my peers who had done the program with me. The masses have shrugged it off in America and gone on with their lives, but we still remember.

  12. Vina Kent says:

    CAnt believe its been a year already…!!! WOW. This is a great post and so cute of your daughter… :D Daughters can be so sweet and precious… I have two of them.

  13. Irene says:

    Well, the images were heartbreaking, but I was so impressed by the absolute determination and courage shown on the faces of everyone there–including the kids. Awful as it is, I have no doubt that they are going to rebuild bigger and better–very soon.

  14. 1uckyhunch says:

    Reblogged this on המקום הכי טוב: אמצע הדרך! and commented:
    רעידת האדמה הגדולה ביפן היתה בסה”כ לפני שנה. אז מה קורה ביפן עכשיו? – הפוסט הזה נותן מושג כלשהו – אנושי, לא סטטיסטי

  15. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Whoa! I wasn’t expecting this many comments back (I’m usually lucky if I get 1-2 a day). Welcome everyone and thank you for your kind words. :)

  16. Hibari says:

    That’s a really great explanation of “ganbaru”. I tell my friends here in the U.S. that “gambatte” means “good luck” or “do your best”, but it always felt like something got lost through those translations. I lived in Miyagi-ken for a year so the earthquake and tsunami affected many friends. Everyone is forging ahead, but they never forget those who have lost everything.

  17. cissyblue says:

    It is so amazing that in the midst of something so terrible and so destructive, people find a way to move forward. I am so sorry for the beautiful people of Japan, but I know they will find great courage and strength in themselves. Thank you Doug for reminding us of the great loss and the great people of Japan.

  18. OMG !! Such a wonderful mind your daughter has!! She deserves a kiss from me …and everyone :P Gr8 post !! Give her a thumbs up! (I wouldn’t encourage her for a ‘cheers’ :P )

    And please check out my latest post – http://raajtram.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/i-me-myself/

    And even my new PhotoBlog – http://raajclicks.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/oh-i-love-my-laptop/

  19. Reblogged this on innocenceisgone and commented:
    i was there >.<

  20. Aidyearts says:

    im sure Japan will recover sooner! hope so too! thanks!!

  21. intuitiveone says:

    Great post. congratulations on being freshly pressed! What an honor.

  22. twixraider says:

    There’s a new documentary about the new Japan you probably won’t see there: http://namazueshirt.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/japanese-spring/

  23. bookindian says:

    Almost one week after the disastrous quake and tsunami off the coast of Sendai we were visited by a wildfire that consumed our residence of 20 years , as well as the homes of 12 other families . . . and, like the people of the Sendai region and Japan, we have perservered . . . GANBARO!! We are newly born . . . a new life extends before us.

  24. I like this article because it is about somthing really important. People Often forget catastrophes like that shortly after cause the press does not not report that much any longer. So blog like this help to keep such topics in mind which is important to all of us. Even we are not concerned by this we can get victims of catastrophe, too.

  25. Dee says:

    It’s really touching to see your daugher’s art… Inside my heart just shout “Ohh” , がんばろう !!!

  26. horimasa says:

    What a beautiful がんばろう photo.
    Thank you for mentioning abount the earthquake. I live in Kanagawa and ,yes, people around here including my family live everyday life peacefully. However as you have written, there is an uneasiness I have not felt one year before. Many Japanese does not believe what gonvernment is saying any more, and they have not been able to find another source of information either.
    About three tousands people are still missing. My condolesence for them and their family.

  27. Nancy Boyer says:

    My husband and I have visited Japan four times. Two times for him was with the US Navy and I went as an educator. I loved Japan and my visit there so much that I asked my husband to return with me. We did before the tragedy and was so glad that we had gone. It is hard to imagine what the people have been through. Our prayers are with them as they heal and rebuild. Nancy

  28. candie1014 says:

    I could never imagine living in a place where you are constantly fearing for your life. Reading articles like this make me apprietiate things in my life more. My prayers are with all those living in those conditions.

  29. GhOst says:

    I wish I was better at Japanese.

  30. chiefmadapple says:

    頑張ろう ganbarō

  31. Thanks for reminding us to keep the brave people of Japan in our thoughts.

  32. Reblogged this on Inspiredweightloss and commented:
    Unique and remarkable!

  33. ganbarō…
    minnade ganbarō …

  34. Keep the spirit and never give up.

    Best Regards

  35. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been wanting to know what happened to Japan after that tsunami, and how things were faring, but it never came up in the media – they just talk about the event and its damage, never really about the restoration of life that comes after it. Or if they do, it gets published some ten years later. Thanks again!

  36. kathrinjapan says:

    Thank you for your lovely blog. I am a Korean living in Japan having moved here just after the earthquake last year. It is always so sad for me when I have conversations with adults and children who were here for it and to see how it has affected their feelings and thoughts. Everytime I hear someone providing directions if an emergency should happen, I realize that everyone pays attention.

  37. Sum says:

    Japan is so close to my heart and feels like home. Thank you for this touching post.

  38. howanxious says:

    The country of the tremendously hard-working citizens….
    Japan will hang on….. Japan will fully recover very soon….. I know!
    RIP all those who died as a result of this calamity…. And Best of Luck to the whole country for building up a superb future for yourself.

  39. AyeshaRaees says:

    That was nice. Liked the post. :)

  40. lorak says:

    thanks for sharing your perspective. it’s always interesting to hear what people think. my son attends college there in tokyo. he was in japan when this tragedy happened last year. he loves japan. he chose to stay in japan to continue his studies even after knowing the risks. i pray every day for his safety and the safety of the japanese people and the japanese leaders to do what is right in resolving this dangerous radiation situation.

  41. I wish the best for Japan. Thanks for sharing… :)

  42. jugglingtam says:

    Wonderful, simple, and heart-warming post :) It’s been difficult reflecting on last year’s events, but I feel like that one word is enough. I love Japan and I love living here. The road to recovery is long but the fight is there.


  43. jjotter says:

    Thanks for this. The media doesn’t seem to care to report about Japan. I don’t think people have forgotten. It’s nice to hear they are moving forward.

  44. Reblogged this on EMPOWERED RESULTS ~ Creating A Difference In Our Communities… and commented:
    I found this blog article posted on Thursday and wanted to share it with you. It’s amazing how time goes by us!

  45. Dilip says:

    I bow my head down to the people of Japan! Thank you for awakening our senses. A special thanks to your daughter.

  46. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Wow, thank you everyone! There are just so many wonderful comments and so much outpouring of support. :-)

  47. Arigato for the info.

  48. Eeshan says:

    My Birthday falls on 12th of March, and last year, although far away from Japan, I could not celebrate it without feeling pain for the people who lost their lives in this terrifying blow by mother nature.
    But as far as I have heard and known, the Japanese are very resilient and positive people, and no matter what, they always get up and work hard, and that’s what makes them a source of inspiration for the whole world! God bless Japan!

  49. karatalks says:

    yesterday i saw an ad of a documentary of the tragedy.. didnt realize it has been a year already but seems like yesterday

  50. Tar-Buns says:

    Last year’s tragedy is on my mind with the 1 year anniversary tomorrow. I, too, lived in Japan for two years but that was 20 years ago. Still think fondly of her and her people.
    Ganbatte kudasai!
    FYI – NHK is having a special show commemorating the event 2pm Japan time (midnight EST) tomorrow, March 11th.

  51. Thank you for sharing this. Japan holds a very special, very large place in my heart. We lived in Okinawa for a few years (prior to the earthquake) and traveled up to mainland/Tokyo often. My husband aided in relief efforts during the tragedy that day and the following weeks, from the USS Ronald Reagan that was on deployment in that area at the time. Japan and the people there are wonderful, polite and so kind hearted. They are constantly in my prayers and it’s so nice to see someone that shares that love!!!!

  52. mjharvell says:

    Wow – ganbaru – I needed that! Very encouraging – thanks so much for sharing and great to see and hear from another that gets so much motivcation and encouragment from their daughter!

  53. VivianaAyre says:

    This was lovely to read and a reminder that people are still affected by the disaster last year.

  54. Very profound and moving article. Thank you for taking the time to put your heart into this. Hopefully people will take a moment to pause and remember those lost tomorrow. I also wrote an article in honor of the one-year anniversary of Japan’s earthquake/tsunami and the concerns about radiation.

  55. horimasa says:

    Reblogged this on Foto de Moto  – モータースポーツ ときどき 日常 and commented:
    2011年はモータースポーツ全体が「がんばろう!日本」をテーマにしているかのようなシーズンだった。このblogでは「がんばろう」の意味を英語で読み解いている。”hang in there” という意味と、”soldier on” という意味がある、とのこと。


  56. Collin Myers says:

    Beautifully written!

  57. wesner3 says:

    Beautifully written, I agree!! ^_^ Sorry to steal Collin Myers’

    beautiful comment, above. ^_^ Well, I have to get going now…I, too, was distraught by the disaster caused by the March, 2011, earthquake. With a very good friend of mine being Japanese, it hit me hard… :( Also, That was a rough time in general for me, as my uncle died. I will never forget the images of that day!!!!! I hope and I pray, that those sweet people, will be able to sleep at night, and rest, if just for a bit!!! Thank you very much, for reminding US!!!


  58. NZ Cate says:

    Thank you so much for this. I live in Christchurch, New Zealand where we have also had devastating earthquakes. We marked the first anniversary of the worst one just a few weeks ago but continue to live in fear of the aftershocks as well as the future. So much to rebuild and we wonder how long it will take. In New Zealand the phrase we see is “kia kaha”. It is Maori for “be strong” and even two simple words are a help. Today in Christchurch we have placed flowers in the top of traffic cones (there are thousands on our damaged roads) to mark Japan’s sad day. This is something we did for ourselves on our anniversary. It was a mark of respect to those who died. Meanwhile I hope that soon the earth will stop shaking for you, as well as for us.

  59. ancroiait says:

    The people of Japan were more than kind to me when I was there and they always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for letting us know how people there are now.
    I send out all my love and support to those who are still suffering. I understand the gambare spirit but if we can do anything from here, we want to help.
    It is a small planet and we are all very fragile against the power of nature. Still love is strong and can unite us and give us strength.
    I ♥ 日本

  60. millayt says:

    We will be traveling to Japan in about 3 weeks, visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. It is our first visit there. We will be looking at things with a different perspective, than what we would have imagined Japan to be like, over a year ago. Hope we can recognize the Japanese symbols for “ganbaro.” Well-written heart-felt post! Thanks for reminding us all of what happened only a year ago…we too soon forget things!

  61. xinnu says:

    I always watching a Discovery channel that show Japan Re-Building It was interest and made me know Japan well. Japan culture is good. They work hard to re-build Japan again…

  62. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi NZ Cate and thanks a lot for sharing about life in New Zealand after the earthquake. It’s hard not to be overshadowed by Japan because scale of the disaster is even larger, but lives were impacted at Christchurch just as they were in Japan.

    I really enjoyed the bit of Maori wisdom as well. :-)

  63. Lotus Mama says:

    Thank you for this very thoughtful post and the links you provided as well to educate us further. I remember this sad day last year and the events that followed very well. It is so encouraging to hear of the Japanese resolve and ability to carry on. Interesting too to hear from NZ Cate about the devastation in Christchurch. I am a TCM practitioner and acupuncturist, and before the earthquake in Japan, I was trying to gather support for those in Christchurch, NZ and my fellow acupuncturists there who were providing relief in the form of community acupuncture clinics for PTS (post-traumatic stress from the disaster there). Wondering if something similar was ever set up in the affected areas in Japan? May your spirits grow ever stronger and may new and inspired growth result from the tragedy of the past. Congratulations as well on being freshly pressed! http://faymeling.wordpress.com

  64. Ιωαννίδης Κυριάκος says:

    Δεν νομίζω ότι υπάρχει άνθρωπος στον κόσμο που να μη άγγιξε η τραγωδία της χώρας σας από το τσουνάμι. Η πολιτεία σας τίμησε με τον καλύτερο τρόπο τους ανθρώπους που χάσανε άδικα και απρόβλεπτα τη ζωή τους. Κοντά σας και η δική μου θλίψη. Θαυμάζω τον Ιαπωνικό λαό.

  65. sf ca writer says:

    Japan is a beautiful country and probably always will be. The periods of isolation in the past have made it unique. Sometimes strength comes from strange places.
    A story from the ’89 San Francisco quake here

  66. I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve penned down. It is a realistic outlook on the current situation but I am sure the affected residents are picking up the pieces and striving on. 1 year on, the sheer determination and spirit displayed throughout the situation is simply, inspiring.

    Stay strong, Japan.

  67. Your daughter’s art is beautiful and demonstrates such kindness and a great sense of hope. My utmost, heartfelt thoughts, support, and condolences go towards everyone in Japan and everyone who has experienced pain, loss and negativity due to the terrible Earthquake. May everyone find the necessary strength, hope, bravery and courage to make it through this exceedingly difficult time/aftermath. This is a beautiful, deep, genuine, and meaningful quote for anyone who has lost their lives-or-for anyone who has lost someone because of the Earthquake:
    “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” I really hope this quote provides a sense of strength, hope, and comfort.

  68. elvisenglish says:

    One year now and it seems to me it was yesterday. Japanese peope are tough enough to overcome this tragedy. My thoughts with them. xxxx

  69. Karen says:

    Thank you for sharing and reminding us that there are always people who are suffering albeit quietly and to themselves perhaps but could certainly use prayer and positive energy sent their way.

  70. lapiskamay says:

    Hang in there Japan, my thoughts and prayers goes with you. I still love Japan.

  71. Summer says:

    Wow! I can’t believe its been a year!

  72. laubao says:

    A big hug to all Japan!
    …we won’t forget you!

  73. I think the reason it does not seem like a year has passed since that awful event is because Japan has suffered several 6.+ quakes and aftershocks since then. It seems just as they start to pick up the pieces they get another whack by Mother Nature again. My heart aches for Japan and what I am most struck by is how the Japanese people have handled it. No whining, complaining or telling the rest of the world they owe them something. They have asked for nothing from anyone. Contrast that with Katrina. Attitude is everything. 頑張ろう, I love that, your daughter is a wise person. It’s just life, it will get better and it is beyond our control.

  74. grimleyed says:

    Thank you for sharing. It is so telling how children can capture a feeling.

  75. amukraine says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s hard to imagine a year has passed already. The best wishes from Ukraine. We feel for you.

  76. Thank you for writing this. Although I am a long way from Japan today, my thoughts are with Japan and my family there, today and always. I felt the need to write about the Japanese philosophy of Gaman on my blog today. Japan is respected all over the world for its dignity and strength at such a testing time. jennobuko@wordpress.com

  77. Nice post. It’s so sad to see what the people of Japan have gone through and continue to go through. So many of the images are heart breaking or else heart stopping. You hit the nail on the head when you talk about the fragility of life. So much can change in the blink of an eye. I will be wishing them luck on their road to repairing the damage.

  78. I will be the first to admit that I am terrified of natural disasters, especially of hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and tsunami’s. If anything is to give me nightmares, it isn’t any of the numerous horror or gore flicks I have watched over the years but rather the thought of going through a natural disaster and having your life devastated or perhpas even ended abrubtly because of them. It is increibly scarey to think about and I cannot even imagine what the individuals impacted so much my last years tsunami. I will continue to keep them all in my prayers and hope that they can all find strength and abilitiy to repair what was taken from them.

  79. tokyoaaron says:

    Interesting post! I appreciated your daughter’s artistic representation of the month of March in Japan, and your gloss on the denotation and connotation of “ganbaru.” Yes, daily life has returned to normal on the surface here in Tokyo, but you’re right that many still feel an abiding anxiety that we may not have put the last of these seismic events, or their aftershocks behind us yet…

  80. niasunset says:

    My heart always with Japanese people and I wish everything to be fine as before… What you lived was not easy… I worry still… I can’t sleep during nights because of the last earthquake that hit us a few years ago, including my city Istanbul too. So I can almost feel you all… But you are, Japanese people are so nice and so strong… My heart and my prayers with you. Congratulations for being on Freshly Pressed. I am glad to meet with you, Thank you, With my love, nia

  81. Thank you for this article and the wonderful sharing and caring comments. I thank you Doug for it is good to know that people are forever looking to help and to care for those who are not so lucky and that it is a part of human nature to question and to ask the hard questions. I was in Tokyo at the time of the earthquake and in the Emperor’s Gardens. It was a bitter sweet moment for me at the time. I remember waving to the Emperor, then seven minutes later sitting down as the land shook in a very slow undulating manner. It was very much a time of just being still and remembering to look out for others who may have needed help. I take this opportunity to thank Japan for the wonderful and safe six months that I enjoyed in your wonderful brave families. Thank you

  82. vkkapoor says:

    my heart is all with japanese and wishing everything will be right soon…..

  83. I am also feeling very sad with this

  84. Rajiv Singh says:

    Thank you for this article and the wonderful sharing and caring comments. I thank you Doug for it is good to know that people are forever looking to help and to care for those who are not so lucky and that it is a part of human nature to question and to ask the hard questions. I was in Tokyo at the time of the earthquake and in the Emperor’s Gardens. It was a bitter sweet moment for me at the time. I remember waving to the Emperor, then seven minutes later sitting down as the land shook in a very slow undulating manner. It was very much a time of just being still and remembering to look out for others who may have needed help. I take this opportunity to thank Japan for the wonderful and safe six months that I enjoyed in your wonderful brave families. Thank you

  85. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind congrats (re: Freshly Pressed). It’s certainly appreciated.

    Also, it’s wonderful to hear so many stories of people who lived in Japan, or whose lives were touched by it, and how we all come together and support one another.

    As the world is getting smaller, it’s only fitting. :)

  86. whatsaysyou says:

    It has been one year since the tragic earthquake and tsunami struck Japan but we will never forget those who have lost their lives and also at the same time it is good to know that those who survived it have stayed strong and moved on despite what had happened. Keep staying strong.

  87. human always seem small infront of natural disasters. however, human usually become huge when they survived from disasters! Best wishes for all of you!

  88. This day was indeed a remembrance of what can happen just over night. Japan are full of proud and loving people and we must remember to feel grateful for what we have for no one is promised tomorrow. It’s sad that they will have to endure the dangers left behind from that horrible and tragic day but in the end people will know how strong a people they really are for they will over come as always. I wish them and everyone else well and good fortune.
    I do appreciate this article for its awareness to the things that matter to us most which is life -,o


  89. There is only one Japan…and there is no match of it….

  90. Japan had a great history. Which is why Japan is Japan today.

  91. smileypic says:

    ; ) Nice insight ……… I could only wish time can be fast-forwarded…… a year has seemed so, so long ……. the disaster still so fresh and lives still at stake from trying to subdue the reactors. So much regret of what should not have been done or done, yet the fact remains ……. JP needs more professional leaders to ensure that the next disaster will be handled more professionally and responsibly. Recent private reports has come out as a slap in my face…………. when I had tried hard to translate flash news in the aftermath of nuclear accident to non-JP, hoping that they too will understand JP news as JP would have. Another lesson is learnt.

  92. Reblogged this on Nights on Venus and commented:
    Re-blogged on Nights on Venus… remembering the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 that hit northern Japan, one year later.

  93. femmefanat says:

    Reblogged this on One of Everyday, I Do Write and commented:
    동부 지진 그 1년후… ‘딸이 그린 간바로(힘내) 의 의미.’ … 사실 컨텐츠에비해서 피쳐링으로 인한 댓글이나 반응이 더 대단하지만 짧은 에세이 같은 글. 블로그 밑천 딸릴 땐 번역이나 리블로그로 해야겠다.:)

  94. arrancat says:

    Reblogged this on Arrancat's Blog and commented:
    Can’t believe it is a year already, but I really hope that people in Japan have made huge progress in starting to rebuild their lives after the tsunami.

  95. Scott says:

    What amazes me most is how the Japanese People respond to this disaster–with such dignity and cooperation with their neighbors. They are far more socially advanced than the American People. What did Americans in New Orleans do after Hurricane Katrina? They rioted, looted, raped, murdered–even shot at helicopters bringing aid. I am an American by birth, not by choice.
    And I am ashamed of the United States, as it has become in the last century. There is so much that the West can learn from the East–particularly that the United States can learn from Japan.

  96. paperclip101 says:

    Wow… thank you for sharing. I can’t even imagine what that would be like… Hang in there Japan! :)

  97. Thanks for sharing a little about the feelings of people in Japan. My children and I visited there just months after the earthquake and raised money for the Japanese Red Cross. When you go there and see just how calm, orderly and respectful people are, it’s especially hard to imagine how they must have been horrified by the disaster and how the problems snowballed. Their spirit was inspirational, but not everyone we met in Japan gave themselves permission to smile and enjoy life again…it was too soon and too many people they knew were affected. I hope more are remembering the good things in life and smiling now.

  98. Pauline says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I have a friend in Japan, so when the earthquke happend, I was so worried about her. I didn’t know whether or not she was affected by it, and her family.All I could do was pray and hope that I will get some news that she is ok. Luckly a day later, she posted that she was ok. I offered her my sorrow for Japan, and told her that I would be praying for her country, and people. She was so touched by the respone that people were giving to Japan. It still makes me teary thinking what they all went through, many lives were lost, many homes gone. I felt so helpless because all I could do was make donations. I will never forget how touched my friend was knowing that people all over the world was praying and supporting Japan. I can’t believe it’s already been a year. Time flies. It amazes me how Japanese people responded to this, it’s something we all should take note. Just like Scott (above comment) commented, I also agree what he said. I am an American born, but I am a little disappointed with the U.S and I think we the U.S can learn something from the East.

  99. jeffitron says:

    Interesting. I am moving to Japan in less than a month to raise my unborn child, my wife is Japanese. Interesting, in so much as that my everyday will soon be affected by much of what you wrote. I will be far from the disaster area geographically, but my mind will inevitably wander across the Tōhoku area, and upon those directly affected.

  100. Doug 陀愚 says:

    @jeffitron: FWIW, I’d say not to worry, especially if you live anywhere west of Tokyo. Having been there myself, felt safe overall, but a certain amount of preparation is in order. We’ve been ordering camping-style supplies for my wife’s family from Amazon JP just to be sure.

    Hope you guys stay safe in any case.

  101. jeffitron says:

    I am not worried really, just pondering on the collective mindset that I will be entering, the atmosphere of actually living there instead of viewing from a distance. Although, Osaka is quite a bit away. We will indeed stay safe.

  102. Pink Ninjabi says:

    Thank you for bridging the gap as I have wanted to know how Japan is doing beyond just purchasing a bracelet that we care about Japan. I’m looking forward to reading more. Ganbaru!

  103. gdsy says:

    Thank you for sharing your article, and allowing us to be reminded of our blessings to be alive and well. I admire the strength and endurance of the Japanese people. It is encouraging to see other countries, including the United States extend a helpful hand when trouble and/or disaster occurs. I am continually in prayer for Japan and the people who survived. Be encouraged!!!!!!!

  104. mokiethekid says:

    Love Japan! Love anime! Love Japanese girls! Because of the earthquake, I was not able to go there…

  105. 日本頑張れ!
    You don’t want to eat cake?

  106. I’ll never appreciate how horrific that earthquake was. My heart went out to everyone involved :(

  107. Thank you for your post! Our son is living in Iwakuni, serving at the US Marine Air Station there, and he arrived in Tokyo a year ago, an hour before the quake hit Northern Japan! That was a long day for my husband and I, as we found out about the quake at 5 am CST, and didn’t hear from our son that he was fine until midnight CST!!

    Due to our son living in Japan, we are always asking him questions about the people and culture, and enjoy his stories about living there. He really likes the country. I find myself trying to learn all I can about Japan, too. Again, thanks for your post!

  108. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi jennifromrollamo and welcome! Glad I could be of help. :-)

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