From Keith Taylor...
This was given me by my good friend and dentist, John Yamamoto. Dr. Yamamoto spent the years of 1942 to 1944 in a detention camp in Colorado. He has several relatives in Japan. He and I often discuss three years of his youth in a detention camp. Dr. Yamamoto and I have been discussing the results of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster.
He forwarded this e-mail to me yesterday, March 25th. I don't know the author but understand he or she was in Tokyo and this reflects the condition there.
I sent him a note telling him: I felt your emotion this morning. Now I share it. Each culture has it's own rhythm. What those Japanese people were saying and doing would have sounded mawkish in today's United States, but the simplicity of all it resonated well with what I understand, and remember, of the Japanese culture. I will send it to a friend who runs a blog. Then I will link to it on Facebook. It will help all us understand how the people over there are coping with a disaster.
Personal accounts by number of people, on-the-street:
Last night when I was walking home (since all traffic had stopped), I saw an old lady at a bakery shop. It was totally past their closing time, but she was giving out free bread. Even at times like this, people were trying to find what they can do and it made my heart warm.
In the supermarket, where items of all the shelves fell, people were picking up things so neatly together, and then quietly stand in line to buy food. Instead of creating panic and buying as much as needed, they bought as little as they needed. I was proud to be a Japanese.
When I was walking home, for 4 hours, there was a lady holding a sign that said, “Please use our toilet.” They were opening their house for people to go to the restroom. It was hard not to tear up, when I saw the warmth of people.
At Disneyland, they were giving out candies. High school girls were taking so many so I was thinking, “What???” But then the next minute, they ran to the children in the evacuation place and handed it to them. That was a sweet gesture.
My co-worker wanted to help somehow, even if it was just to one person. So he wrote a sign: “If you’re okay with motor cycle, I will drive you to your house.” He stood in the cold with that sign. And then I saw him take one gentleman home, all the way to Tokorozawa! I was so moved. I felt like I wanted to help others too.
A high school boy was saved because he climbed up on top of the roof of a department store during the flood. The flood came so suddenly, that he just saw people below him, trying to frantically climb up the roof and being taken by the flood. To help others, he kept filming them so their loved ones could see. He still hasn’t been able to reach his own parents but he says, “Its nobody’s fault. There is no one to blame. We have to stay strong.”
There is a lack of gas now and many gasoline stations are either closed or haave very loooong lines. I got worried, since I was behind 15 cars. Finally, when it was my turn, the man smiled and said, “Because of this situation, we are only giving $30 worth gas per each person. Is that alright?” “Of course its alright. I’m just glad that we are all able to share,” I said. His smile gave me so much relief.
I saw a little boy thanking a public transit employee, saying, “Thank you so much for trying hard to run the train last night.” It brought tears to the employee’s eyes, and mine.
A foreign friend told me that she was shocked to see a looong queue form so neatly behind one public phone. Everyone waited so patiently to use the phone even though everyone must have been so eager to call their families.
The traffic was horrible!! Only one car can move forward at green light. But everyone was driving so calmly. During the 10 hour drive (which would only take 30 minutes normally) the only horns I heard was a horn of thank you. It was a fearful time — but then again a time of warmth and it made me love Japan more.
When I was waiting at the platform, so tired and exhausted, a homeless person came to us and gave us a cardboard to sit on. Even though we usually ignore them in our daily life, they were ready to serve us.
Suntory (a juice company) is giving out free drinks, phone companies are creating more wi-fi spots, 1,000,000 noodles were given by a food company, and everyone is trying to help the best way they can. We, too, have to stand up and do our best.
Whenever there is a black out, people are working hard to fix it. Whenever the water stops, there are people working to fix that too. And when there is problem with nuclear energy, there are people trying to fix that too. It doesn’t just fix itself. While we are waiting to regain the heat in the cool temperature or have running water, there were people risking their life to fix it for us.
An old woman said, on a train: “Blackouts are no problem for me. I am used to saving electricity for this country, and turning off lights. At least, this time we don’t have bombs flying over our heads. I’m willing to happy to shut off my electricity!” Everyone around couldn’t say a word in response.
In one area, when the electricity returned, people rejoiced. And then someone yelled: “We got electricity because someone else probably conserved theirs! Thank you so much to EVERYONE who saved electricity for us. Thank you everyone!”
An old man at the evacuation shelter said, “What’s going to happen now?” And then a young high school boy sitting next to him said, “Don’t worry! When we grow up, we will promise to fix it back!” While saying this, he was rubbing the old man’s back. And when I was listening to that conversation, I felt hope. There is a bright future, on the other side of this crisis.