reply to post by RicoMarston
As an American living in Japan, I feel the need to comment.
On the subject of looting, I do get annoyed at people who are far from what is going on and do not know what they are talking about.
I have been through a very similar event here in Japan (1995 Kobe earthquake), and I can assure you that there was virtually no looting at all, no
cutting in line, no hogging supplies. Quite the opposite. Store owners were giving away supplies or selling it at cost, not jacking up the prices to
take advantage of the huge demand. Each person waited patiently in line and graciously accepted what was given to them, without trying to take more
than they absolutely needed. I have talked with other people who were in other areas during the Kobe quake, and they all said the same thing. Even
right at the central shopping street in Kobe, there was no looting.
I would also like to comment on the generosity of the Japanese people toward each other. As an American who had seen how efficiently FEMA used to work
way back when (25 to 30 years or so ago) when there was a disaster in the US, I was appalled at how long it took in 1995 for the Japanese government
to get its act together and start helping people. I soon found out that the Japanese people themselves quickly filled that gap. Almost immediately,
people in the neighborhoods started helping each other. As soon as the trains started running, even partially, people began hauling in supplies by
backpack and pushcarts. They would wait 2 hours or more to board, and the wait wasn't because the trains weren't running (they were running about
every 10 minutes) but because the station was filled with similar people bringing supplies to the affected area in Kobe. I talked with some of them,
and it wasn't that they were bringing it to friends or relatives. Many didn't know anyone in Kobe. It was just that they felt they HAD to help. So
they waited 2 hours or so to get on a train that was quickly packed with people to ride about 45 minute to an hour to the end of the usable train
line, and then they got off the train, shouldered their packs, and walked another 2 or 3 hours to get to the center of Kobe. Companies also organized
groups to bring in supplies, even when there were no employees in the affected area. And it wasn't some publicity stunt. Every single company in that
region and surrounding regions were doing it, and no list was published because everyone knew that EVERYONE would be on it.
To my eye, it was the old community attitude of small towns in the US. My hometown in the US is still like that, helping each other out, but it seems
as cities get larger, this attitude dies out. In Japan, it remains regardless of the size of the city.
I am luckily far from the affected area this time, but I am in contact with people in the areas involved. And the spirit of community and care for
each other is what clearly stands out.