I guess the news was already spreading when I was on my journey to Sungai Petani for the weekend. As soon as we stopped our car in front of my mother-in-law’s gate, Ewa ranged me. She sounded serious which was very unlike her. She was the one who delivered the news about the tsunami in Japan. I wasn’t terribly shocked at first as I thought it might not be as serious as the Boxing Day 2004, until I login to the BBC and saw videos. One of the video showed some buildings in Shibuya swaying for few minutes as if they were made out of papers being blown by the wind. It was truly a horrific sight. And honestly, as much as my heart goes for the people, I hope all those beautiful buildings I saw are not affected too.
The more I read about the news, the more I couldn’t imagine what would’ve happened if our trip was planned only two weeks after. I mean, geez, I was with my baby, we don’t speak the language, we were staying in an converted old house that ages at least one hundred years old, etc. Things could’ve blown out to the proportions I don’t even want to imagine. I couldn’t thank Allah enough for saving me, my family and my friends. The thought of I was just there two weeks ago gives me chills. Just look at this blog, it is as if I still haven’t even finished writing about it. Almost every latest entries associated to that trip.
Despite all that, I strongly feel that Japan will get back on its feet in no time. They’ll clean the place and rebuild it shiny and new as if it has never happened. And even in a chaos like this, there will be an order that only Japanese can execute. Let me share an interesting link with you, that made my amazement for Japan continues. Please take your time to read it, and you’ll see why there is no stopping in being astound over a country called Japan and all the people inhabiting it. And why instead of highlighting the lessons Japan could’ve learned over this catastrophe, we are the ones that must learn from them first. Quoting my favourite tweets:
The words of BBC’s reports are so moving they make me cry. They were praising us with words of admiration! “One of the worst earthquakes in recorded history has hit the world’s most well-prepared, well-trained nations. The strength of its government and its people are put to the test. While there have been casualties, in no other country could the government and the people have worked together in such an accurate and coordinated way in the face of such tragedy. The Japanese people have shown their cultural ability to remain calm in the face of adversity.”
Japan is a wonderful nation!
Both the government and the people, everyone is helping one another today. There are truck drivers helping evacuees move. I even heard that the “yakuza” (gangsters, organized crime groups) are helping to direct traffic in the Tohoku region! There have been many recent developments that have made me lose my sense of pride in my country, but not anymore. Japan is an amazing place! I’m just simply touched. Go Japan!
A strong voice
Yesterday, I was impressed and touched by the actions of my neighbor’s 13-year-old-boy. He was home alone when the earthquake hit. But instead of hiding, as soon as the earthquake quieted down, he jumped on his bicycle and road around the block repeatedly shouting at the top of his voice, “Is everyone alright? Is everyone okay?” At the time, there were only women and children and the elderly in the homes. I cannot describe how comforting it was just to hear a strong voice asking if I was okay. Thank you!
Last night, I decided, rather than stay at the office, I should try walking home. So I slowly made my way west on Koshu freeway on foot. It was around 9PM when I saw an office building that had a sign that said “Please use our office’s bathrooms! Please rest here!” The employees of the office were loudly shouting out the same to all the people trying to walk home. I was so touch I felt like crying. Well, I guess I was too tense yesterday to cry, but now the tension is wearing off and am very much in tears.
I just have a bike
I’m so touched! My colleague at my part time job, wanting to help even just one extra person, wrote a sign saying “I just have a bike, but if you don’t mind hop on!”, rode out on his motorbike, picked up a stranded construction worker and took him all the way to Tokorozawa! Respect! I have never felt so strongly that I want to do something helpful for others.
Japan is really something! Yesterday, not a single traffic light was functioning in Gotenba City. But drivers knew to take turns at intersections and give way to others when needed. Local people were using flags to direct traffic at intersections. I drove for 9 hours but never saw a single car trying to get in front of another. Every single driver on the road contributed to the traffic situation and as a result there was no confusion at all.
Japanese people don’t shove
I’m looking at Yurakucho station from above. I see people standing in line, not pushing or shoving to get onto the Yamanote Line (probably the busiest line in central Tokyo), even at a time like this!
A big, kind voice
I’ve been walking for many hours now. I’m touched at how everywhere I turn, there are shops open with people shouting “Please use our bathroom!” or “Please rest here!” There were also office buildings where people with access to information were voluntarily shouting out helpful tips, like “**** line is now operational!” Seeing things like this after walking for hours and hours made me feel like weeping with gratitude. Seriously, there is still hope for this country!
Japan, you could’ve been a nightmare but didn’t. Instead you became a dream I didn’t want to wake up from.