I have never been a fan of anything Japanese, although my three daughters, for some reasons, love the country and its culture, pop and otherwise! But still the calamity suffered by Japan stunned us all. Understandably, they (the girls, I mean) are more affected by the destruction brought about by the recent earthquake and tsunami. Who wouldn’t, right?
And they have tweeted, blogged and followed the development in Japan rather religiously. In fact, for the past three days or so, like in other household the world over, we have been glued to the TV as we watched the devastation in horror. Our prayers go out to all those affected.
On that note, the Japanese people have apparently been very open on Twitter about their experiences following the quake. The following tweets (which I found on Facebook and have been duly translated) of what moved them and touched them during these very trying times are incredibly heart-warming. Read on... (and while we are at it, we Malaysians seriously should learn a thing or two from these stories)
#tweetone: At a supermarket where everything was scattered everywhere over the floors, shoppers helped picking them up and putting them back neatly on the shelves before quietly moving into the line to wait to pay for them.
#tweetone: On the totally jam-packed first train after the quake, an elderly man gave up his seat for a pregnant woman.
#tweetone: It was freezing and bus was taking ages to arrive. One person left the queue to run to a nearby pharmacy. He bought heating pads and gave one to everyone in the queue!
#tweetone: It was cold and I was getting very weary waiting forever for the train to come. Some homeless people saw me, gave me some of their own cardboard boxes and saying “you’ll be warmer if you sit on these!” I have always walked by homeless people pretending I didn’t see them, and yet here they were offering me warmth.
#tweetone: I see people standing in line, not pushing or shoving to get onto the Yamanote Line (probably the busiest line in central Tokyo), even at a time like this!
#tweetone: There was a small bread shop on the street I take to go to school. It has long been out of business. But last night, I saw the old lady of the shop giving people her handmade bread for free. It was a heart-warming sight.
#tweetone: I just came back safely from the supermarket! Man, I was so touched at how everyone there was mindful of others, buying only as much as they needed and leaving the rest for the people behind them.
#tweetone: Japan is really something! Yesterday, not a single traffic light was functioning in Gotenba City. But drivers knew to take turns at intersections and give way to others when needed. Local people were using flags to direct traffic at intersections. I drove for 9 hours but never saw a single car trying to get in front of another. Every single driver on the road contributed to the traffic situation and as a result there was no confusion at all
#tweetone: I spoke with an old taxi driver and some elderly staff at the train stations. All of them had been working non-stop and had not been able to go home for a long time. They were visibly very tired, but never once did they show any sign of impatience; they were gentle and very caring. They told me “… because all of us are in this together.”
#tweetone: I was impressed and touched by the actions of my neighbor’s 13-year-old-boy. He was home alone when the earthquake hit. But instead of hiding, as soon as the earthquake quieted down, he jumped on his bicycle and rode around the block repeatedly shouting at the top of his voice, “Is everyone alright? Is everyone okay?” At the time, there were only women and children and the elderly in the homes. I cannot describe how comforting it was just to hear a strong voice asking if I was okay. Thank you!
#tweetone: I went out last night to help some friends who were volunteering as security personnel between Machida City and Sagami Ohno City. I saw total strangers, both young and old, helping each other along everywhere I turned and was heartened with an overwhelming feeling of encouragement. I was so touched I hid behind the toilets and cried.
#tweetone: I’ve been walking for many hours now. I’m touched at how everywhere I turn, there are shops open with people shouting “Please use our bathroom!” or “Please rest here!” There are also office buildings where people with access to information were voluntarily shouting out helpful tips, like “**** line is now operational
#tweetone: My husband finally got home very late last night after walking for 4 hours. He told me he felt like giving up at around Akabane, when an elderly man who was going around handing out free coffee saw him, gave him a steaming cup and said, “You must be tired and cold. Here, have some coffee!” My husband told me that it was because of this elderly man that he found the will and strength to continue walking.
#tweetone: At Osaka I saw a LONG line of people waiting to give blood at the blood donation center. This is the first time I have seen such a queue of selfless people waiting patiently in line just to give. It was a moving sight!
#tweetone: A goth youth with white hair and body piercings walked into my store and shoved several hundred dollars (several tens of thousands of yen) into the disaster relief fund donation box. As he walked out, we heard him saying to his buddies, “I mean, we can buy those games anytime!” At that, we all opened our wallets and put our money into the donation box. Really, you cannot judge people by their appearances.
#tweetone: I too saw the guy handing out free rice balls and miso soup on the way back from Akihabara. I was on my bicycle so I told him, “I’m okay, please give it to other people!” On hindsight, I should have taken one … they looked absolutely delicious!!
Bumi Sudah Tua!