Facts of Japan. Vol. 2.1

Please consider making a donation to the U.S. Red Cross or CRASH Japan. CRASH Japan is a network supporting Christians to do relief work in Japan and around the world.

It’s moments like these when you really see the good in people, and Japan has been touched by the outpouring of help from other countries in their hour of need — 91 countries so far. Everyone is thankful for the rescue teams coming from the U.K., South Korea, Germany, Mexico and yes, New Zealand (thank you everyone!). The U.S. brought the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and several destroyers in to airlift water, food and other needed supplies, a mission that’s been named “Operation Tomodachi” (Operation Friendship), and I saw more than a few Japanese on Twitter saying things like, “I laughed at the silly-sounding name…then I cried and cried.” There was a massive show of support on Pixiv, the Japanese artist community website, as artists from Japan and around the world created art of Miku Hatsune saying, Ganbatte, nihon! (“Do your best, Japan!”). It’s been really amazing to see.

USS Ronald Reagan is in Japan

The character of the Japanese people is really visible at a time like this. While it’s common for disasters to be followed by certain desperate actions by the citizenry, e.g. looting, this idea would be unthinkable in Japan. At the shopping mall in Tokyo, Japan, when the quake hit everyone ran outside holding the items they had intended to purchase. Though they could have just kept on going to their cars, everyone waited for the shaking to stop then went back inside to make their purchases before rushing home. There were no reports of looting or other problems, though basic foodstuffs and gasoline disappeared pretty quickly. In general Japan has been extremely calm and collected considering what they’ve been up against.