Thursday, May 12, 2011

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June Page 22

By Farah Trofeo-Ishizawa

CNN blog featured an article “Why is there no looting in Japan?” I started to think about the Japanese people and why the whole world is admiring them and learning so much from them during this tragic event. Then I started asking the people around me – “Why is there no looting in Japan?” Here are some answers that will help you understand and appreciate the Japanese people.

My husband:
He just smiled back and said, “Why are people so amazed? It is “atarimae” --- meaning, it is natural. (NOT to loot…) Instead he posted the question back at me and said – “Why should we loot? Why would people take advantage of this situation?” It is more amazing to hear that the world is “amazed” by something so natural.

An elderly man I met at the doctor’s clinic:
“That is “atarimae” he says again, that is within each Japanese. It is us, our nature.” It is natural to line up. It is natural to be patient. It is natural “not to loot.” It is nice to hear that people are admiring the Japanese for being themselves.

Two old women at the bread shop line:
I told them that the world is learning from Japan – and then I also asked them again the same question about looting. They said, ” Ehhhh, futsu deshou.” Translation: “Ahhh, that is just normal, or the regular thing to do.”

After the tsunami washed away these merchandise outside the Kirin factory, people were picking up the beer and putting them back.
I have always questioned my friends about lining up for a long time just to buy something, or to eat ramen, or even line up to buy a donut. I did not like that idea of lining up, not until March 11, 2011. Now I get it that this is part of being Japanese. And that after all these years of being in Japan, I now appreciate this concept of lining up. :)

I hope many people will learn to follow the discipline and the way of the Japanese people. Let me end this by what my husband told me earlier.
“You cannot write about this because words are not enough to explain why Japanese do not loot or steal. Stop watching the TV news, stand up and get out of that sofa, imagine standing in the middle of the earthquake and tsunami stricken area… you see families, children lost their parents, loved ones dead, their homes gone. There are so many things around them – will you steal from them?”

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