Saturday, March 19, 2011

Even though the Earth quakes … the Japanese doesn’t !

Past one week, I read several article and news items regarding the devastation in Japan and the continued tragedy, Today I read a couple of articles about the Japanese people and their grit, stoicism and calm, even in the face of a great calamity that literally continues to rock them every hour even today. The world has a lot to learn from Japanese.

Here are excerpts of some of the articles.

'It's utterly amazingly that where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, "Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another.

Alongside the chaos and destruction wrought by the terrible earthquake and tsunami have been scenes of heart-breaking orderliness and self-control. Japan is prostrate and fearful, but there are no reports of widespread looting, panic or hoarding. There is, as yet, very little anger directed at the government.'

'This extraordinary stoicism can be summed up by the Japanese word GAMAN, a concept that defies easy translation but broadly means calm forbearance, perseverance and poise in the face of adverse events beyond one's control. Gaman reflects a distinctively Japanese mentality, the direct consequence of geography and history in a country where the cycle of destruction and renewal is embedded in the national psyche. The Japanese are not earthquake-proof but, like their buildings and bridges, resilience has become inbuilt in a nation adapted to sway and bend under shocks that would shatter other societies.Japan has known utter devastation before, and the horror of nuclear fallout, but its recovery after 1945, and the ensuing economic miracle, owed much to this uncomplaining tenacity, a collective pride in endurance, survival and reconstruction.'

'when the earthquake hit, there was almost no panic among his co-workers in their office. They were very disciplined. He reached the Nagoya railway station about 40 mins after the earthquake and expected to see chaos. They learnt that a segment of the bullet train tracks to Tokyo was damaged and hence their train was likely to be delayed. He says that the entire station had about 2000 persons but everyone was waiting patiently. They que-ed in front of the Enquiry counter to find details. Some railway personnel were standing outside and helping people with information. Those whose trains were unlikely to run that day were being given blankets and pillows and food and directed to shelters. He and his Japanese colleague went to the nearby cafeteria and had dinner. His colleague commented that if they panic, it would only make it more difficult for the authorities to work and help. In the meantime the tracks were repaired in about 2 1/2 hrs and their train left for Tokyo, travelling at 150 Kmph throughout. While they were waiting to buy tickets, there was a long line but people were very disciplined and did not panic.'


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