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Thoughts about the Japanese Earthquake

Posted Mar 17 2011 6:00am
Just two weeks ago, while walking north of Tokyo on a sunny winter afternoon, I could have never imagined the destruction and pain inflicted upon a country I consider my second home.

My daughter begins her college major in Japanese language and culture at Tufts this  Fall.

My wife creates art inspired by Japanese themes.

I'm writing tonight while drinking a cup of green tea from Shizuoka, surrounded by the delicate smoke of Japanese incense and listening to the resonant sounds of a Japanese flute, the Shakuhachi.

It's hard to reconcile the immersion of Japanese culture in my life with the reality of the loss of life and property in Japan .

Like many of you, I've watched the news and read the articles.    I've contacted my friends and colleagues in Japan to check on their safety.

I've also reflected on the Japanese people's response to the crisis, which in many ways is unique to the special culture of the country.

128 million Japanese live in an area slightly smaller than California.

Despite hunger, thirst, and cold, there has been no looting.   There has been no public violence.

The government announced the need for rolling blackouts to address energy shortages.   The Japanese people conserved on their own and no blackouts were needed.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan addressed the nation Sunday night and said this is the most serious crisis since World War II, calling on people to come together using the phrase, “ ittai ,” which means to become one body.

The Japanese are a strong, resilient, and selfless people.

In this time of great sorrow, I will learn from their example.   May my family and I (and all Americans) show the same solidarity the next time we have to face adversity.

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