As I continue to receive emails and other forms of communications from family, friends and ex-coworkers who reside closer to the devastated areas than my Kyushu home, a feeling of overwhelming emotion racks my insides.
Not since the devastation in Kobe during the mid-90s has Japan been rocked by a storm like this. At that time, I was in the US. As my family's ancestral home is located in the prefecture next to Hyogo (where Kobe is), I can clearly recall my entire family being very alarmed upon hearing this news.
Today Kobe City, as well as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are modern, industrial centers with few hints remaining of the destruction that is a legacy of their recent past.
However, as the current incident is still unfolding, any talk of reconstruction or rebuilding anything at this point is at least premature, if not foolish.
The Japanese news agency (NHK) is now reluctantly revealing that this incident may outweigh the other tragedies. As this news reaches the streets, it will be interesting to see the reactions as well as the non-reactions of the people.
Many non-Japanese may not be so aware of the "samurai-like" devotion that working class Japanese are required to have for their companies. Extreme loyalty is the very fabric that Nippon is woven from. This rubric of the society was not diminished in the least during historical invasions by the "gai-jin" (western man) that resulted in significant changes in the culture.
The two most famous eras of transformation being the so-called Meiji Restoration and the post-WW II, re-construction period.
Tragedies, ironically enough, have a tendency to bring families / societies together to face a common peril.
Will this tragedy bring the best or the worst out of the Japanese people?
Only time will tell.
To all who have sent and continue to send positive energy to me, my family, or to Nippon in general, thank you so much. Your support is appreciated and may you and your family be blessed 10-times over!