March 17th in Tokyo

I’m currently on a bus heading West to Osaka, 11:00am.
With all the conflicting international news reports, everpresent possibility of another quake, and not least my stress levels, I’ve decided it’s best to get out for a while and, as one of my good friends said, “decompress”.
I wish I had some spare blankets, gas, water or cash to send to those North-East, but I don’t. If you do, please consider it. I just read that even though they had survived the quake and tsunami, some people died last night from cold, lack of food or water… I don’t know. Sad.
I’ve also read a lot of comments here and there, especially from a compilation of translated Twitter posts that a Facebook user ( has put up, about kindness to strangers, orderly conduct and general warm cooperation in Tokyo and surrounding areas.
I must say that I’m not at all surprised.
One of my favourite things about Japanese society is their ability to behave well in large groups. I suppose it may look boring to see a concert in Tokyo where everyone is just standing and waving their arms as opposed to jumping around in a mosh-pit or whatever. But what that translates to is peace on the streets when, for example, 200,000 people are walking home from fireworks, respect for other people’s space and, now, millions of people not shoving, not looting, not panicking, making way for others, not honking their horns, being polite!!, being approachable!!, offering free food and drinks to cold pedestrians and everyone asking if everyone else is okay.
Japan rocks!
There is a maturity in this society that is sometimes sorely lacking in the West. This extends to media and politics, arguably of course. And though us Westerners might (justifiably?) agonize over less than inspiring levels of creativity/imagination, political involvement, and independent action, what they have is still a remarkable feat. And enviable.
From all the discussion of the differences that exist between East and West because of “group” versus “independent” behaviour, there emerges an independent dignity and power from behaving in this “group” way that I am not sure can happen in reverse. When I come back to Canada, I hope I can bring some of this with me.
Either way, I’m on a bus fleeing the probibilities and can’t be consumed by media or bothered with significant thoughts of the future, Mt. Fuji majestically piercing the clouds just behind me, like a guardian between here and there, and have clearly entered a sombre phase of whatever kind of “recovery” I’m in.
LOL… And going to a DJ party tonight in Osaka!


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