Disastrous Yet Inspirational

The Japanese has long been known for their discipline, excellent manners and technology. During my 10-day visit in Japan last year, I get to see and experience their way of life firsthand. Always courteous, orderly and on time. Garbage bins are scarce in cities and streets but yet, it was difficult to find even a piece of litter anywhere. On the elevator, I saw people automatically keeping to the side (usually left) so that they don’t block other users’ way. By the second day in Japan, I found myself following their example too.

I was also especially impressed with their public transportation systems – their trains were always on time and the networks and routes were complicated but systematic. Although sometimes the trains were crowded during peak hours, I have never seen one single person being pushed when going on or off a train. The ticketing machines were efficient and fast too. Talking about the machines, almost everything speaks and interacts with human users in Japan. Although I couldn’t understand a word but it shows how well-advanced the Japanese are with their technology.

The recent earthquake (11 March 2011) in Northern Japan was the strongest to ever hit Japan and 5000 times stronger than the one in Christchurch. To add insult to injury, a massive tsunami followed soon after and swept away the entire city of Natori in Sendai – including  houses, cars, farms and thousands of its residents. The quake was so strong it even shook the city of Tokyo violently although its hundreds of kilometres away.

During such disastrous moments, still the Japanese did not fail to inspire. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake shook numerous skyscrapers in Tokyo yet none of them fell. None. Nadda. Nil. I think that is just amazing. The number of casualties would be significantly more if not for their excellent technology in building construction design.

The Japanese were hit by a string of deadly disasters but yet they did not behave disastrously. No running hysterically. No pushing their way through to get aid. No jumping queues to use the telephones or toilets.

Just no dramas.

Everything was still orderly. They even kept to the “keep to the side while on elevator” rule when sitting on stairs, stranded. These are earthquake victims we are talking about. Truly an excellent example of the Japanese spirit and civilisation. My highest salutations.

(I can only imagine if a disaster of this scale struck Malaysia. Oh the chaos…..)

Waiting for a turn to contact loved ones at the public telephone booths - in orderly queues.

The trains stopped working. No one felt the need to force their way through the barriers.

Stranded victims keeping to the sides to ensure the stairway wasn't blocked.

No chaos in aid centres. Just discipline and patience.

Women and children first means women and children first.

Victims walking home calmly. None felt the need to run amok.

All images from: http://www.chinasmack.com/2011/pictures/chinese-netizens-admire-japanese-post-earthquake-behavior.html


18 comments on “Disastrous Yet Inspirational

  1. D... says:

    It’s interesting how people react in times of catastrophe. A lot of times you see the good and kindness of others come out. I’ve seen a lot of reports of people giving away food and strangers trying to help each other. I think the horrible circumstances tend to create a bond between people. They all know that everyone is going through the same problem. I would like to think most of us would do the same given those circumstances.

  2. nadia says:

    “…horrible circumstances tend to create a bond between people.” I agree to this.

    Your post is truly inspiring, Tien. I’m glad you shared.

  3. vixter2010 says:

    Wow so inspiring, they are so brave! I suppose crises do often lead to people pulling together, restores faith in the hunan race!

  4. I live in America, very close to New York City. When the terrorist attcks of 9/11 happened, it was mass chaos and a lot of confusion. I wonder if the Japanese had a crisis plan in place or if they are just that cool calm and collected.

    • Tien says:

      Pretty sure they have a crisis plan, Mindy. They were well prepared. But even so, discipline is an important factor for any plan to work properly. And that is where the Japanese inspire with their discipline albeit the emergency situation.

  5. fariza says:

    yeah, such an amazing society…
    Excellent example to the whole world.
    My heart goes out to all in Japan..

  6. Nicole says:

    I wonder if Boston or New York would be as organized? I hope so… Japan really should be extremely proud of its people! It’s amazing to see how everyone is being courteous to each other even now.

  7. I agree, it’s not just disastrous but the way Japanese people have fought it, stood fast, it is admirable and inspirational. Why because we went through the same thing @ New Orleans and it was chaotic.

  8. shinloo says:

    their buildings memang were designed to tahan the earthquakes… totally agree that the japs are the most disciplined nation ever! truely impressive! makes me wanna go japan more… after all these are over, of course 😉

  9. Khanum says:

    They are a great nation. They know how to stand up after being punched in the face. Thanks for sharing Tien. That’s why ure on my blogroll. Good post buddy

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