|Japanese people at Osaka Castle|
Now obviously beautiful is not a word you'd usually throw around when talking about an earthquake and tsunami disaster zone, but when I look at all the messages from my Japanese friends on Facebook then I'm reminded of how much I love the Japanese character. A (non-Japanese) friend of mine made the comment, just as I'd been thinking, that unlike pretty much any disaster zone in any other country, there were no reports of looting or opportunistic crime in the wake of this disaster. I made the joke that in Japanese there's probably no word for looting. In any case, a Japanese reply came, and paraphrased, it went like this:
That sums up pretty well for me the big difference between Japanese people and, well, pretty much anyone else! I've also noticed so many of my Japanese friends thoughtfully posting "Don't worry, I'm OK" messages on Facebook, often closely followed by links to agencies like the Red Cross where you can donate to help, or in the case of ex-pat Japanese, links to fundraising activities they're involved in.
I've already blogged about how generous the Japanese are in a material sense, but the two years I spent living there, the Japanese I've met in other parts of the world and their reaction to this horrible disaster just confirms it - they're a reliably kind and good people.
(And if you're US-based - which a lot of my readers are - then this round-up from Matador on how to help Japan might be handy.)
P.S. Just after I published this I found another Facebook message from a sweet former student of mine, who is thankfully far in the south in Kyushu. Just the same, she wrote, and I now share:
Lots of people from all over the world are arriving one after another to help Japan. We Japanese really appreciate it!