Quake-hit Japanese on Twitter

I must thank  Facebook user Jun Shiomitsu for  compiling in English a sampling of Twitter messages  shared among quake-stricken folks in Japan.  Had it not been for his efforts I and  much of rest of the  English speaking world that is unfamiliar with Japanese would have remained unaware of  Japanese propensity to cope ,  and maintain,  what Japanese  would call,  the spirit of  Kizuna (bond,  sharing)  in adversity.  I have no qualms  about copy-pasting  Jun Shiomitsu’s compilation , and I trust he   would condone the plagiarism.

At a quake stricken supermart,  where things are  found scattered all over,  shoppers pick them  to be  placed on shelves and then move on to the  cash counter to pay for their buys.

– In a packed train an elderly man offers his  seat to a pregnant co-passenger.

– At a bread shop on the street I take to go to  school,  shop-owner, an old lady,  was giving people her handmade bread for free….Tokyo isn’t that bad after all!

– Yesterday, not a single traffic light was  functioning in Gotenba City,  drivers knew how 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.

– At the shopping center I work at,  we have a morning ritual  (common in Japan)  where we stand and recite, “No matter what the  situation, I will never show anxiety in front of my customer;  I’ll treat customers with respect and do everything I can to make them feel at ease”.  Today,these words were all actually kind of touching.

– I was touched by the gesture of  my neighbor’s 13-year-old-boy.  After the quake-hit he hopped on his bicycle and went around our block,  shouting,  ‘Is everyone okay?’ At the time, there were only women, children and the elderly in houses . It was comforting to  hear a strong voice asking if we were okay.

– My colleague at work , wanting to help,  wrote a sign on his bike saying  “I just have a bike, but if you don’t mind,  hop on!”. He picked up a stranded construction worker and took him all the way to Tokorozawa!

– Last night, I decided, rather than stay at the office,  I would walk home. On Koshu freeway it was around 9 PM,  when I saw an office
building that had a sign, “Please use our office  bathrooms! Please rest here!” The employees at the office were calling out to people trying to walk home. I was so touch I felt like crying. I guess I was too tense yesterday to cry,  but now the tension is wearing off and I am very much in tears.

–  My husband finally got home very late last night,  after walking 4 hours. He told me he felt like  giving up at around Akabane, when an elderly man,  going around handing out free coffee,  gave him a steaming cup and said,  “You must be tired and cold.  Here, have some coffee!”. My husband told me that  it was because of this elderly man  that he found the will to continue walking.  I’ve already heard this story from him five times tonight, so no doubt, he was really,really touched!

– I saw a guy handing out free rice balls and miso soup on the way back from Akihabara. I was on my bicycle so I told him, “I’m okay, please give it to  other people!”

– Aobadai station was jammed with stranded people.  But there were private cars with drivers shouting “If you’re going in the  direction of ****, please  hop on!” I was able to hitch a ride. When I thanked  the driver,  he said,  “No worries! We’re all on the  same boat. We have to stick together!”


2 Responses

  1. Hats off to these people. I remember fromt he days in school where there was a lesson talking about the sincerity of the Japanese. I have heard stories of the missing wallets brought back to you by some stranger and the kind gestures towards visitors. The Japanese have always known to be fighters in terms of rising out from ashes. Yet another challenge for them and I am sure they will fight it. The positivity amongst Japanese is immense and it manifests itself. I saw another report where in the inmates at the goverment shelters were helping themselves and others by cooking, cleaning etc. Their selfless attitude is definitely a learning for the whole world.

  2. Absolutely wonderfully heartwarming. It gives me faith in humanity to hear such stories. And faith that Japan *will* weather this horrendous storm.

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