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"A Glimmer of Hope for Quake-Damaged Japan," Part 2

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Faith's Firm Foundation: "A Glimmer of Hope for Quake-Damaged Japan," Part 2

Monday, March 28, 2011

"A Glimmer of Hope for Quake-Damaged Japan," Part 2

A young woman named Lisa Shoreland contacted me one day about the possibility of writing a guest post for my blog. Because of our family's connection to Japan through my husband's sister and her family having been missionaries there for the past 32 years, I was very interested to learn that Lisa grew up in Japan and her parents still live there. We have had many Japanese people in our home, and still correspond with a number of them, who we are blessed to consider our friends.  While Lisa and I were emailing back and forth, a momentous event crashed upon the world's consciousness:  a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.  I knew that Lisa has a unique perspective on this event and I asked her to write a personal post.  I think you'll be touched and profoundly moved, as I was, by what she shares.  Thank you, Lisa. To read the first of this two-part guest post, go back first to Part 1, "A Glimmer of Hope for Quake-Damaged Japan."
Keep the Japanese people and the rescue workers in your prayers.

A look at the pictures or videos of the devastation is enough to bring a tear to any one's eye. In many, one can see a stretch of water--black with dirt and collecting a wall of debris--growing and growing until it moves entire houses and drowns crops and city streets. As a dual Japanese-American citizen, however, there's something about this that drives the number 18,000--the number of estimated dead--close to home.

I was born and raised close to fishing villages like the ones up north, at least one of which--Otsuchi--has lost over half of their population to the tsunami. I have felt a fraction of Mother Nature's wrath and dashed through the house after my two frenzied cats and cowered in my mother's and father's arms beneath a fortified doorway. For 18,000 people, such measures had not been enough.

A Culture of Community

My mother is a survivor of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. She knows what it's like to grow up in a city where people are found shopping, attending school, or playing in the park one day and found dead the next.

She also knows that the Japanese are nothing if not resilient. The 350,000 people displaced in northeastern Japan will survive this with exceptional stoicism. Every day, they and citizens of nearby cities line up quietly and without complaint outside convenience stores to receive or buy food. Stores in the area have even slashed prices to help locals.

"Everyone is going through this together," my mother said over the phone one night. "This is no time for anyone to be making a buck. It would be shameful."

As with New Orleans after Katrina, the media crews that visit areas after natural disasters repeatedly cover a rise in lootings, crime, and even socio-political uprisings. There has been no such thing to cover in quake-damaged Japan.

"It's in our culture," my mother explained. "We have a history of valuing our community first and individual desires second. Many other cultures feel the opposite way. When disaster strikes, some people feel justified in 'getting theirs.' Japan has a shame culture, and nobody wants to feel the shame of looting a store or complaining about things being tough when everyone else is going through the same thing. We're taught that we are stronger when we hold together."

Not long after this call, I received word from Yasue that he had found his family. They were injured but alive in an evacuation center.

"We just have to work together," he said. "We're helping each other, and the world is helping us do it. In all this bleakness, that's our one glimmer of hope."

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Bio:  Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she's been researching doctoral grants programs as well as poor credit student loans.  In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

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Blogger Lloyd said...

It is my continual prayer that God will heal the hearts and lives of the folks that were affected by this devastating disaster. God bless, Lloyd

March 30, 2011 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I hope we don't forget Japan or to pray for the people. It's easy to do. So many needs around the world, so many people. May we be reminded to pray and help in any way we can. As you say, they will need much healing. Most of all, they need the Lord Jesus Christ and salvation.

March 31, 2011 at 8:03 AM  

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