Even in a disaster Japan is a great place to live…

17 Mar

I saw a report on TV here in Japan today that media in other countries are marveling at the lack of 略奪 (looting) and 暴動 (rioting) in Japan during this current disaster.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been living here so long, but I think 「当たり前」 (“Of course!”). Why would there be?

But the foreign media have said that often after disasters in other countries, such as Hurricane Katrina in America or the earthquake in Haiti about nine years ago, there was massive rioting and looting.

Looting after the hurricane in Louisiana, USA

But, the foreign reporters were surprised, there have been no reported cases of that anywhere in Japan since the massive earthquake last Friday.

What also surprised them was there isn’t any pushing, shoving or arguing in lines for food, blankets and other donated assistance. The people in Japan calmly and quietly wait in an orderly line for hours sometimes…and only take what they need.

At a shelter in Fukushima, no one expects more than one rice ball and a cup of water per person.

Until I saw this report on TV this morning I had never thought this before. It’s just normal behavior here in Japan.
The reason it’s comfortable and enjoyable to live in Japan…even an extremely densely populated city like Tokyo, is because Japanese people are taught since childhood to think of other people’s feelings.
I have heard, and it’s sounds logical, that American children will behave if there’s a chance of being caught doing something “bad” because they’re taught to fear the consequences of misbehaving…but Japanese children behave because otherwise they may “hurt” someone else.

Also on the news report I watched, they mentioned some American politicians and celebrities, most of whom I’ve never heard of before, had posted some inconsiderate comments about the disaster here.
Most notably were a series of “jokes” about the tsunami by American comedian Gilbert Gottfried (who is the “voice” of the duck in the Aflac TV commercials), and a tweet by an American basketball player named Cappie Pondexter:

What if God was tired of the way they (Japanese people) treated their own people in there (sic) own country! Idk (“I don’t know”) guys, he makes no mistakes.

u just never knw (sic)! They did pearl harbor so u can’t expect anything less

–tweet by Carrie Pondexter

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18 Responses to “Even in a disaster Japan is a great place to live…”

  1. Too Bald for a Mohawk March 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    I absolutely agree with you regarding the way chikdren are raised. I’m happy to know that there was no looting and happier to know that children are being raised to understand that negative actions have consequences that effect other people, not just themselves. Honor and respect are such foreign concepts here, it seems. People are taught that blind nationalism or unquestioning faith are the same thing as respect and at the same time taught of eternal damnation making a concept such as Christianity, which is supposed to be completely selfless, completely selfish. I’m glad that, on top of the devestation and loss of life, that the Japanese don’t also have to deal with civil discord. I’m terribly sorry that this happened and My hope is for a return to a semblance of life as you knew it soon. Thanks for the link!

    Like

    • tokyo5 March 28, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      >My hope is for a return to a semblance of life as you knew it soon.

      Thanks. Very kind.
      Japan will recover, I’m confident.

      Like

  2. cuteandcurls March 26, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    >I think you should visit Japan after your child is old enough to remember it.

    Thank you very much 🙂 I will definitely do that !

    Like

    • tokyo5 March 26, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

      >I will definitely do that (visit Japan)!

      I guess it’ll be a nice memory for you and your child then.

      Like

  3. Roxy March 25, 2011 at 3:31 am #

    I admire how Japan is handling this crisis, not looting, and just taking what they need. It’s good to know that you and your family are ok. It’s very sad how many people died and lost their homes. I can’t even imagine what it would be like.

    Like

    • tokyo5 March 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

      >I can’t even imagine what it would be like.

      Yes, it’s unbelievable.

      Like

  4. metalodyssey March 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    The “celebrities” that made hurtful comments/jokes regarding the multiple crisis events that the Japanese people have suffered are beyond excusable. The “celebrity culture” in America is: those who are the meanest and break the law most often, are the one’s who are “rewarded” with bigger sports contracts, television contracts and book deals. Regardless if any celebrity loses his/her job on a network show or sports team for wrongdoing in America… they bounce right back due to another contract or book “deal” being dangled in front of their mean spirited face.

    (Phew) I had to get that off my chest. I’m just glad there are “kind hearted” celebrities like Sandra Bullock, who have donated very, very, large sums of “personal” money to aid the Japanese people.

    Like

    • tokyo5 March 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

      Yes, stories of generous overseas celebrities such as Sandra Bullock and Clint Eastwood donating to charities to help Japan have been reported here.

      And there are plenty of “regular” people in America and other countries who have, as well.

      It’s very kind and generous.

      I should have mentioned them in this post.

      Like

      • metalodyssey March 22, 2011 at 12:56 am #

        It’s alright to not mention the “good-guys” in your writing this post, you made a valid point with the subject matter at hand. Dedicate the “good-guys” to their own special post… Tokyo Five “style”. 🙂

        Like

      • tokyo5 March 22, 2011 at 1:41 am #

        >Dedicate the “good-guys” to their own special post…

        Maybe I will. Thanks.

        Like

  5. sister II March 21, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    It is unusual to have no looting at all. I wonder if it has to do with Japanese culture being more homogenized and therefore interdependent. Also, the emphasis seems to be on politeness, so you would figure that looting would be seen as shameful. When you have a society like America that is more fractured, less insular, and more diverse, you have people who feel less responsible for each other, which is unfortunate. When the people at the bottom rung of that society are hit hard, and they have historically HAD to FIGHT for equality, you have Katrina. Haiti is a very, very poor and desperate country with a history that is nothing like Japan. All that said, all of the admiration is fully justified because in many ways it epitomizes how people can effectively work together after a tragedy.

    Like

    • tokyo5 March 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

      >It is unusual to have no looting at all.

      Yes, I know. For example, I was in two hurricanes in Florida…there were no reported cases of looting that I heard of after either of those.

      But there should be no looting or rioting.

      >I wonder if it has to do with Japanese culture being more homogenized

      I don’t think so. There are many other countries with a history of violent riots, looting, etc but are just as mono-culturalized as Japan.

      I think it’s upbringing.

      >looting would be seen as shameful.

      Well, as I said, looting is a mob of people stealing together. I could never imagine that happening here. But, yes, stealing has a strong stigma here.
      Many shops in Japan leave merchandise unattended in front of their stores…and there are virtually no cases of people stealing any of it.

      >Haiti is a very, very poor

      I understand that. But the shop-owners were victims of the disaster too.
      Anyways, Japan was a poor country too…but never had a history of looting or rioting.

      Anyways, this isn’t the point of my post. I was mentioning the foreign media were shocked at the lack of violence and looting in Japan. And people in Japan were shocked that that isn’t considered “normal” behavior outside of Japan.

      Like

  6. cuteandcurls March 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    I just think the People of Japan are admirable for how they are handling their trials & tribulations. They are well prepared and so civilised, best of all they still can manage to have a smile and have an optimistic perspective no matter how tough and challenging time can be to them. I have seen other countries stricken by these natural disasters and all I can say Japan showed the best example. No looting no breaking into places. Those people who make stupid jokes / comments about Japan should be ashamed of themselves. And stop using the past as part of your comment, its time we all should make peace with it and live the day as it is now and let it be part of history..if some of us can accept it why cant they? Oops sorry it annoys me to know how insensitive people can be with what has happened…I planned to go to Japan in November but due to my pregnancy now I cant make it but nevertheless it doesnt change my plans to go there next year if all goes well.

    Like

    • tokyo5 March 20, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

      Thanks for the comment.

      Are you pregnant? First baby? When’s the due date?

      Like

      • cuteandcurls March 21, 2011 at 1:58 am #

        Your welcome, sorry if its too much 😦

        Yes I am, our first baby and its due August 11th. I did plan to go to Japan in November but this will now have to wait.

        Like

      • tokyo5 March 21, 2011 at 2:28 am #

        >Yes…our first baby

        Well congratulations.

        I think you should visit Japan after your child is old enough to remember it.

        Like

  7. Earnest Mercer March 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    My relationship/interest in Japan goes back to the closing days of the military occupation. I wrote a thesis during my MBA studies on Japanese culture and economics. In the thesis, I compare the ranking of national cultural priorities. There’s not enough space here to compare them, but it is important to note that the presevation of harmony (wa-shiki) ranks topmost in Japan cultural ranking. Preservation of harmony doesn’t appear anywhere in the U. S. rankings.

    Like

    • tokyo5 March 17, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

      So what is the top cultural priority in America?

      Like

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