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10 Things To Learn From Japan

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
10 things to learn from Japan


Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.


Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.


The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall.


People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.


No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.


Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?

Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.


The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.

They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.


When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly!

- from a friend


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ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
Jul 14, 2007
Everybody acknowledges that the Japanese are intelligent, hardworking people.
Japanese culture is an example of a resilient society.
Even in these changing times, the Japanese still follow ancient ideologies for a happy life.
There's a Japanese proverb that caught my attention.

Here it is:-

"Dare ni mo machigai wa aru
dakara empitsu ni mo
keshigomu ga tsuite iru."
Everyone makes mistakes.That's why
there is an eraser on every pencil.


ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
Jul 14, 2007
I have long admired the Japanese culture. This reminds me why.

Can any of us imagine the chaos and violence if this had happened in Punjab? And I doubt that USA would be any better.

Mai Ji,

Your question is giving me an idea.
Why not start a thread which brings the similarities between Japanese and Punjabi cultures.
Of course explaining where we differ will also be helpful.

Mai Harinder Kaur

Oct 5, 2006
British Columbia, Canada
Mai Ji,

Your question is giving me an idea.
Why not start a thread which brings the similarities between Japanese and Punjabi cultures.
Of course explaining where we differ will also be helpful.

Reading those ten points. I think we can all agree that those actions and attitudes are one that we as Sikhs also hold up as our ideals. The biggest difference is that the Japanese have actually acted that way under the most difficult of circumstances, not just now, but also after the devastating defeat in 1945.

Of course, when the society breaks down or is not present, the Japanese, like all humans, are capable of monstrous evil. That only shows how incredibly potent the societal norms are.

An interesting similarity. Samurai always carried their swords on the left side.

That is one similarity. What can others think of?


ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
Jul 14, 2007
Sunday, April 3, 2011

A moving story - Japanese Earthquake

Published on ShanghaiDaily.com (http://www.shanghaidaily.com/)
EDITOR'S note:

THIS letter, written by Vietnamese immigrant Ha Minh Thanh working in Fukushima as a policeman to a friend in Vietnam, was posted on New America Media on March 19. It is a testimonial to the strength of the Japanese spirit, and an interesting slice of life near the epicenter of Japan’s crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It was translated by NAM editor Andrew Lam, author of "East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres." Shanghai
Daily condensed it.


How are you and your family? These last few days, everything was in chaos. When I close my eyes, I see dead bodies. When I open my eyes, I also see dead bodies.

Each one of us must work 20 hours a day, yet I wish there were 48 hours in the day, so that we could continue helping and rescuing folks.

We are without water and electricity, and food rations are near zero. We barely manage to move refugees before there are new orders to move them elsewhere.

I am currently in Fukushima , about 25 kilometers away from the nuclear power plant. I have so much to tell you that if I could write it all down, it would surely turn into a novel about human relationships and behaviors during times of crisis.

People here remain calm - their sense of dignity and proper behavior are very good - so things aren't as bad as they could be. But given another week, I can't guarantee that things won't get to a point where we can no longer provide proper protection and order.

They are humans after all, and when hunger and thirst override dignity, well, they will do whatever they have to do. The government is trying to provide supplies by air, bringing in food and medicine, but it's like dropping a little salt into the ocean.

Brother, there was a really moving incident. It involves a little Japanese boy who taught an adult like me a lesson on how to behave like a human being.

Last night, I was sent to a little grammar school to help a charity organization distribute food to the refugees. It was a long line that snaked this way and that and I saw a little boy around 9 years old. He was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of shorts.

It was getting very cold and the boy was at the very end of the line. I was worried that by the time his turn came there wouldn't be any food left. So I spoke to him. He said he was at school when the earthquake happened. His father worked nearby and was driving to the school. The boy was on the third floor balcony when he saw the tsunami sweep his father's car away.

I asked him about his mother. He said his house is right by the beach and that his mother and little sister probably didn't make it. He turned his head and wiped his tears when I asked about his relatives.

The boy was shivering so I took off my police jacket and put it on him. That's when my bag of food ration fell out. I picked it up and gave it to him. "When it comes to your turn, they might run out of food. So here's my portion.
I already ate. Why don't you eat it?"

The boy took my food and bowed. I thought he would eat it right away, but he didn't. He took the bag of food, went up to where the line ended and put it where all the food was waiting to be distributed.

I was shocked. I asked him why he didn't eat it and instead added it to the food pile. He answered: "Because I see a lot more people hungrier than I am. If I put it there, then they will distribute the food equally."

When I heard that I turned away so that people wouldn't see me cry.

A society that can produce a 9-year-old who understands the concept of sacrifice for the greater good must be a great society, a great people.

Well, a few lines to send you and your family my warm wishes. The hours of my shift have begun again.

Ha Minh Thanh



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
This should be posted, pasted and plastered in every newspaper, blog, forum daily for a year so that no one can miss it -- and maybe with that much exposure, we will all find our humanity. Or perhaps some of us will. I am wondering whether just one child like this tips the scale to favor dharma a little bit more, and a little bit more. Thank you for sharing it namjap ji.

Mai Harinder Kaur

Oct 5, 2006
British Columbia, Canada
I have made a video using these 10 Reasons. It is on YouTube and I will put it here, as well. Everything I hear about the behaviour of the Japanese reinforces what we all saw starting a month ago.

How do they do it?


My Tribute to the People of Japan

This is my recognition of the spirit, courage and civility of the Japanese people and their response to the recent trisaster.

Almost exactly a month ago, on March 11, 2011, Japan suffered a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, followed by a huge tsunami, along with the release of lethal radiation and a possible meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Energy Plant. As always after a major earthquake, there have been many aftershocks. Yesterday, there was a 7.0 aftershock, which is a major quake in its own right. There is also a volcano erupting in the south of Japan, although this has not been widely reported.

The world has been watching the behaviour of the Japanese people since then with a mixture of compassion and astonished awe. No violence, no looting, no fires set, no crime. Just the good people of Japan working together in cooperation for the good of all.

How would your community or mine react? Not nearly as well, most likely.

This is a reminder that the Sun is always shining. Sometimes we just can't see her.

An explanation of the completed picture at the end:

Below is the the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami and, of course, the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, while Fujiyama soars above the tragedy. Above all, the benevolent presence of Amaterasu-no-Kami, the Sun Goddess and chief deity of the Shinto religion, gives her blessing and strength to her people, the people of Japan.

This picture can be found in my Flickr account at "http://www.flickr.com/photos/maisometimes2/5544669653/" My Tribute to the People of Japan | Flickr - Photo Sharing![/url].

(Note: I am neither Shinto nor Japanese. If I have hurt anybody's religious sensibilities, please let me know and I will correct the matter.)

I do not know who wrote the article "Ten Things the World Can Learn From Japan." Which I use asa tghe theme of this video. I s/he will come forward, I will be overjoyed to acknowledge her/him.


With much thanks to Derek Visser. Three of his photos were used to make the Fukushima plant here:

To the United States Air Force
the US Pacific Fleet(Navy)

I believe all other images used are in the Public Domain.

Sound: Kimigayo, the Japanese National Anthem, Public Domain recording
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