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The Japan Disaster
Sunday, 2011 March 20 - 10:05 pm
Well, the Japan earthquake is already week-old news and I haven't said anything about it, but better late than never.

First, I'm tremendously appreciative of the outpouring of support, not just from my friends but from celebrities and governments around the world. Sandra Bullock gave a million dollars to the relief effort. Ichiro Suzuki pledged $100 million yen (about a million dollars) as well. CBS has been advertising for the Red Cross relief effort during the NCAA tournament games (text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone).

Of course, Fifty Cent and Gilbert Gottfried represent the ugly side of all of this. There seems to be some pent-up anti-Japanese or anti-Asian sentiment among some people... Sweat Pants Mom has the definitive word on that subject.

But the main thing I've felt during this crisis is pride: pride in my culture and in my people, who are the most stoic and resilient in the world. The Japanese are unique in their ability to persevere through adversity, with the spirit of gaman that gives them the strength to endure trying times without complaining. There is no rioting or looting in the quake- and tsunami-ravaged cities; only stories of Japanese people patiently waiting in hours-long lines for food or gasoline, and sharing what rice or noodles they have to everyone they can. It's a marvel of human spirit. Here in the U.S., we complain about lines for the iPad 2.

There are still worries about Japan's ability to get their damaged nuclear reactors under control. I can tell you this: there are Japanese workers who would willingly sacrifice their own lives to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. They will get those reactors under control. They will rebuild the cities that have been destroyed. If there is one country that can survive a disaster, it is Japan.

There have been times in my life when I was ashamed of my background. When you're taunted throughout your childhood for being different, it's hard to be proud of it. But throughout this last week, I could not be more proud to call myself Japanese.
Permalink  2 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: life


Comment #1 from Noelle (Guest)
2011 Mar 20 - 10:38 pm : #
Ken, this is a beautiful tribute. I'm so SO impressed with the Japanese people. And I don't know who would have made you feel unwelcome in your childhood but it was never our group, you were never ever different to me. You were just Ken!
Comment #2 from Alan H. (alanh)
2011 Mar 21 - 4:45 pm : #
I, of course, would (and have) made fun of you--but there are plenty of perfectly valid reasons having nothing to do with your ethnicity.

Seriously, though, the Japanese people's response has been truly admirable, no question. It has to say something that even Chinese public opinion has largely been admiration.

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