The damage from the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11 to the Tohoku region of Japan was devastating. Each day, as the casualty count rises, my heart breaks.
My 70 year old Japanese expatriate mother says that the Japanese people's greatest strength is their perseverance -- that, and their sense of community. We also both agree it could have been far, far worse. I take some comfort in those truisms.
I am also very glad the Japanese government has been so receptive to international, government-based aid this time around. And the urge to help has been strong internationally among everyday folks too, which makes me feel like we've come so far since WWII. However, I do caution people to be very selective in how they choose to help a country like Japan. The human toll has been high, and so sad, and I know I'm not alone in feeling powerless and wanting to do something, anything, to ease the emotional and physical pain of survivors. But Japan is wealthy, industrialized, intergovernmentally connected, and has infrastructure. Unless you have specific skills that can be put to use, it may be better to send any financial support at this time, in solidarity, to a country still struggling with their earthquake repercussions, like Haiti.
On a personal note, everyone close to my heart is safe, and for that I am grateful. My cousin said that they will live through anything! :)
Nihon, ganbatte ne?