I continue to read with amazement every day in the news the perseverance and civility of the Japanese over the past 6 weeks after the tragic combination of the major earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor leakage. I pray every morning for the safety of the citizens of Japan.
As background, I’m half-Japanese, half-American. My mother is Japanese and I spent 13 of my first 16 years growing up in Japan. I attended American schools on US military bases but I spent a great deal of time with my Japanese relatives, particularly my beloved Grandmother, with whom I was particularly close. I do visit Japan at least once a year and I always take the time to go our family cemetery, which is over 600 years old and located in Yoshikawa, to pay respects.
I was in London with our Georgetown University grad students when I first saw the incredible news footage of the earthquake and tsunami. I was riveted by the news coverage. We immediately contacted our relatives in Japan. Fortunately, they live in Tokyo and none of them were harmed. But, I feel badly for the citizens of Northern Japan who had their homes and lives demolished.
I do take great pride in watching how the Japanese remain peaceful and in-control … no wild looting or others actions that have taken place elsewhere when natural disasters strike.
One of the things I used to fear most about living in Japan was the earthquakes. It’s a completely helpless feeling. There’s simply little one can do — except ride it out. I used to crawl under the dining room table or stand in the doorway. My father and brother used to tease me about it but I figured that’s one of the safest things to do.
My thoughts and prayers will continue to go out to the citizens of Japan. You are strong, resilient people. And, although I’ve always been proud of my Japanese heritage, the actions over the past six weeks have me even more proud. Peace.