I think this would be the most depressing state of my mind. Not too long ago, it was Christchurch, NZ which suffered an earthquake. NZ was the place for my honeymoon which saw me drove from the North Island all the way to the South Island. When Kai came along, we were there again with him, just 21 months old. NZ is a beautiful country. When the earthquake struck, images of the cathedral, the square, the hotel were all too familiar. Somehow, there was a closeness when you saw something which you could recognised. NZ is a place which is close to my heart as we have many friends and relations there. It was heart-breaking seeing the damage done to a beautiful city.
Last week, a triple whammy struck Japan. A country which I fallen in love with since the day I set foot on it.
Really, there is nothing bad to say about this beautiful place with the most beautiful people. The first visit was on our way back from the US of A. We stopped over at Japan for two weeks and visited Kyoto, Tokyo and Yokohama. The following year, we were at Osaka and Kobe. Just last year, we went to the home of Mt Fuji, Shizuoka. To watch how Mother Nature showered her wrath, not once, not twice, not even three times...made me crashed emotionally. An earthquake was not enough, a tsunami followed closely, then the Nuclear crisis and as if those were now enough, snowfall bashed on the rescuers trying desperately to save lives. Will she ever stop?
One thing good which came out from this "apocalyptic" disaster was that the world was able to see how the Japanese stood together as one. It was not a "I for myself" but rather "we for each other". Having been there a couple of times, having experienced the Japanese culture, lifestyle and all their goodness, I can honestly say that, it isn't for show. That's exactly how the Japanese behave.
We are a family who never like to depend on guided tours. We like the adventure of exploring the local lifestyle of each country. So without a knowledge of Japanese, just a Japanese-English handbook, we landed in Japan. At Kyoto, we thought we could just hop into a cab and get to our hotel. It turned out otherwise. Taxi drivers told us that the hotel was too near for them to drive us there. Spoke to us in a whole lot of Japanese which we were clueless. We saw a group of teenagers and tried to talk to them with sign language and showing them the map of the hotel. These group of youngsters went all out to help us locate our hotel. They couldn't speak English but helped us by calling their friend's friend who could speak English. Went round the train station to look for the map which showed where our hotel was. It was amazing what they did because it was close to midnight!
At Osaka, the same thing happened. Japan has the most complex train system but the most efficient and most organised. If you exit from the wrong direction, it would take you hours before reaching your destination. That was what happened to us. We asked for direction and this young pretty Japanese lady who must have just finished work and on her way home, took us all the way to our hotel using her cellphone GPS. We felt really bad because it took her at least one hour to locate our hotel. She must have been tired and hungry after a hard day's work. All along the way, she was chirpy, cheerful and chatty.
We met three beautiful old ladies at Osaka, maybe in their seventies. The mochi shop probably belonged to them. It was the most delicious mochi I have ever eaten and served by the most courteous staff. No, they are not your sweet young thing but they are probably the best service staff I have come across. The list could go one about the nice people we met in Japan...
I have been following the news of the Japan crisis very closely. Finding ways to get around the Great Firewall. Two reasons which glued my eyes to the computer and the TV. One, my brother and his wife-to-be are still in Japan. Two, we are not too far off from Japan either. Looking at the news, very often made me teared. It was amazing, very amazing to see how the Japanese respond to crisis after crisis. It was beyond human understanding how they could remained so calm and orderly in the midst of 'near-death' situation. One blogger was so astonished that he questioned "why no looting?". In every crisis all over the world, we saw how people took the opportunity to loot. Even the wonderful world of Christchurch with nice people was not spared of looting.
This was the first time I saw people q-ing up for food in desperate situation. Often, what I saw was people scrambling, fighting when food supplies arrived at a crisis-struck situation. If there was anything good which came out from this triple crisis in Japan, it would be the world saw how the Japanese respond to crisis. A rare asset for a first-class society.
Every life counts, even animals. Owners sharing their limited food with their pets. In this part of my world, animals would have been slaughtered and fought over to keep the humans alive!
Not forgetting the people, whom we will never know, working non-stop on the Nukes. I pray for their safety, for their health, for their families. I pray that the Nukes crisis will end sooner so that the world could put names to the faces of these martyrs. They will stay on till the job is done. In the words of one of the workers, "if I go, I go."
We have read and heard of the Japanese atrocities during the WW2. Many, especially among the older generations, could never forget and forgive them. I hope this event has shown the world that, that generations of Japanese have long passed on. This generation of Japanese is of a different make.
I cannot imagine what the situation will be like if where I am right now is striked with just one crisis. Here, we are away from them yet the people are scrambling for salt. Fearing the sea salt will be contaminated by the radiation and hoping iodine from salt could protect them. They have not paused to think of themselves being exposed to radiation on a daily, hourly basis, working on their computers, yakking on their cellphones, staring at their ipads and iphones and eating microwaved food!
I pray that God has mercy on the people of Japan. I believe with all my heart that this crisis will propel Japan back to its number 2 position in the world economy.
A "picto-blog" dedicated to Japan and all the Japanese...GAMBATEI!
I am now seriously thinking of retiring in Japan. Let me live and die among the gracious ones.