Friday, March 11, 2011

My Thoughts on Japan

So last night Snack Monkey had a late job cleaning carpets and floors in a restaurant after they closed and had sent all of their patrons home.  He left here around 9:30 p.m. and I went to bed around 10:30 - 11:00.  Now I don't really watch much TV anymore, what I do watch is either on TiVo or Netflix so I can skip commercials, so I heard absolutely nothing about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan before I went to bed.  Snack Monkey came home sometime after midnight and climbed into bed without waking me up much beyond a vague awareness of his presence.

Around 2:30-3:00 a.m. I got up to use the bathroom and as I was climbing back in bed Snack Monkey started talking about something "hitting" Japan.  I thought he was just talking in his sleep or having a bad dream so I shushed him and went back to sleep.  This morning I was heart-sick to see news of the devastation on Yahoo!.  Several years ago a cousin of mine spent two years in Japan for religious reasons and, while he was there, met a pretty girl named Kaori (pronounced Cow-Dee).  After that I am a little bit foggy on the details but I think she came to the U.S. to attend school originally and they reconnected and, eventually, got married.

I have always been a fan of Asian culture, history, cuisine, etc. so Kaori and I became friends almost immediately when we first met and we kept in touch for awhile trading recipe's back and forth via email.  I have no idea where her family is in Japan or how far the damage reaches there but I can't seem to get her off my mind today.  I've sent her an email, because I don't have a phone number for her, letting her know that I was thinking about her and hoping that her family and friends are alright.  Japan is asking for humanitarian aid from our military and I'm hoping we grant it.  On the one hand I can understand that there will be concern over whether or not the U.S. has a stable enough economy to be sending aid and potentially financial funding to Japan right now but, on the other hand, I'd much rather our troops be in Japan helping a peaceable people in the wake of tragedy than in Afghanistan getting shot at.  I'm not religious but I do wish the very best for those poor people and for my cousin and her family.  It's just so sad.

8 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee w/creamer
1 Fiber One bar
1 serving greek chicken salad
1.5 dinner crepes (from the food bible)
>>w/chicken instead of ham
Daily Caloric Intake: 1,072

Walking: 3 miles (6,137 steps)


  1. Where we used to live in only a few hundred kl from Sendai. They were without water and power and spotty cell service for 24hrs with snow. They are just getting things back running. But there are at least 5 military bases I know on the main land and they are helping out. They are still feeling the after shocks but the country as a whole is taking it well. My friend reported that there has been no looting or rioting. People who have things are helping those who don't and the people aren't panicing.
    It is tragic and my heart goes out to everyone there. But as a whole the Japanese culture is dealing with it so much better than Americans would.

  2. I had also heard, on the news, that there isn't any rioting or looting. That is such a relief. It makes me wonder what the factor is that is contributing to their composure ... and how we can bottle it so that the rest of the world can learn to be so civilized in the face of tragedy. My cousin wrote back to me last night and reported that all of her friends and family members are accounted for, but they were right in the middle of it all and near that power plant. I haven't heard from her since it exploded though so I'm still very worried. She also didn't mention whether her family's homes were ok ... maybe that comes with the composure. It's clear that family is more important to them than stuff - as it should be. She said that they are in Iwaki Fukushima. I'm ignorant when it comes to foreign geography but I've been listening for the news to mention that city and haven't heard anything about it so I'm hoping that's a good sign.

  3. Tia: I'm sure others would agree with me when I say "Thank you for the anti-american sentimism!" (obviously that was thick sarcasm of mine; perhaps you don't recall 9/11 and how quickly and strongly Americans came together)


    Rejecting3000: Kaori's family lives right there in the heart of things; it took her father something like 9 hours to get home from what I understand (normally takes him like 30minutes). My understanding is that her family, for the most part, was very lucky and all survived without any major injuries though I think there are still a few that she may not have heard from. Also, her family's homes somehow managed to escape devastation even though it sounded to me like their homes are right in the middle of things. They are pretty close to the nuclear plant that is having the most trouble so it's still possible they could lost that if enough material escapes the plant that it creates a Chernobyl-like environment -- though experts are currently saying they don't expect that to occur (last I heard, anyways).

    Just wanted to let you know.
    Mom knows more.

  4. Brandon: Huh, talked to mom for hours yesterday and we didn't even mention it. Thanks for the update. I can't imagine what Kaori must be feeling right now being that she's so far from home. I think Tia was referring more to the events following Katrina (the looting, rioting, need to call in the National Guard etc.) some of which was even seen following that big quake they had in San Fran when we were kids. 9-11 wasn't a natural disaster and I think people tend to behave and unify differently in those circumstances. I watched a guy punch another guy in the face at the gas station on 9-11 though, in little old Cedar City, Utah no less. They said on the news that in Japan people are waiting in line for petrol for HOURS and they're not honking their horns or shouting out their windows or anything. I'm not necessarily anti-American ... but I do somewhat have to agree with Tia when we really examine our history in dealing with major events.

  5. With the strong anti-american sentiment so proliferant these days, you'll have to excuse me that I get so offended when anti-Americanism is sold to me via public-channels rather than people making an effort to see the goodness America has been, is, and still can be.

    It's one thing when America actually does something wrong; we should absolutely judge that and correct ourselves.

    It's another thing when a story is about someone else entirely and rather than focusing on that, and on how we can help or at least prepare ourselves for something similar, we choose to make it into an moment to turn the story against America.

    America has fed the world for 100 years.
    America saved the world from the ravages of WWII and then turned around and helped rebuild the very enemies we vanquished.
    America has been the factory helping push the world out of hunger and disease and into an easier way of life.

    I feel for Japan; we all do.
    I admire how the Japanese are dealing with this problem; we all do.
    But there's no need to divert our attention away from that and instead turn it into anti-American rhetoric. Instead, we should be turning it into pro-American rhetoric and talking about ways we can help the Japanese pull through this.

    I believe in the American Spirit and American Exceptionalism; right or wrong I did my best to fight to keep America strong and the world a better place. I take offense at someone who would degrade that -- not at a moment when America is actually acting bad -- but at a moment when another nation is acting good, and that person chooses to hypothesize that under similar conditions America would act bad.

    As a fellow Thinker, and to understand what I'm talking about, I recommend reading Michael Prell's book about a western-syndrome called "Underdogma".

    An introductory-article on the subject, written by the author, can be read here:

  6. I can't necessarily speak for Tia but my perspective on the subject isn't so much "Anti-American" because you know me and you know that I love this country. But I think that there are many nations, not just America, than can learn something from the example being set by Japan and I that is the perspective with which I viewed Tia's statement. You're right about America; we are always there to help nations when they need it and I love that about us. In my idea of a better world army's won't exist for war, they'll exist for the purpose of highly trained, well facilitated humanitarian aid. I know the world is a long way from that kind of social and intercultural maturity but I think that the United States is going in the right direction because it does seem like we provide more aid than most other countries. But when a nation conducts itself with so much grace and maturity in the wake of something so unprecedented I think all nations, not just America, should see that as an opportunity to learn by example.

    Take China for example. I was surprised that they were one of the first foreign nations to offer aid in Japan. Of course they're the closest but they also haven't been on friendly terms with most of the nations that are over there helping out right now so I think that China is doing something very mature and compassionate by sending help to Japan and that should be recognized.

    Tia's a patriot much like me. We went to George Wythe together, her hubby is in the military and just very recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan (I think that's where he was) and she lived in Japan for awhile while he was stationed there, so I don't think her statement was meant as anti-American so much as it was meant as "America can learn from Japan". I don't think there is ever anything wrong from seeing the good in something and wanting to learn from it. In fact, I think if the world could do more of that we might be one-step closer to peace.

  7. I guess my point is that when the point was to admire Japan, the discussion should be about admiring Japan, not tearing-down our nation.

    In a public-discourse, where people don't know each other very well (or at all), a more comprehensive-knowledge of the discussion occurring inside the person's head cannot be had. Thus, it is wise to refrain from belittling our own people -- and just focus on the positives of the Japanese.

    We all know America has done bad things, and that there are bad Americans -- but it does little good to keep beating up on ourselves at every opportunity and all it really accomplishes is to undermine our attempts to hold our nation together in these delicate times.

    The Progressives are good enough at constantly reminding us of how evil we Americans are -- we shouldn't be helping them to destroy our sense of worth and pride.

    And this makes my point; the discussion was swayed from how great the Japanese are to how horrid the Americans are -- all by an ill-chosen phrase that was worded with the wrong focus. To condemn America at every turn of events *is* anti-Americanism, regardless of the person's other beliefs.