Gotta ga~ma~n till next week.
Many anime series are not broadcasting their latest episodes this week, for quite obvious reasons. As many of you would’ve read, the recent earthquake that occurred off the coast of Japan has caused a knock-on effect, creating secondary disasters such as tsunamis and nuclear radiation as a consequence of the earthquake. It is still not known whether it’ll be the most costly or the most deadly, but it is the largest earthquake in Japan’s history ever recorded on the Richter Scale. Even as a First-World nation, this disaster has brought the country to her knees, with innumerable buildings and vehicles upended, and the casualty rate soaring into the tens of thousands.
What sets Japan apart though, is the citizen’s unnerving ability to remain calm and orderly despite the shocking tragedies that have unfolded. If there is one word to describe the way the Japanese have handled this disaster, it would be Gaman (我慢、がまん), which would be defined as to endure and persevere. Even in the face of overwhelming adversity, the Japanese are able to show to the world a calm veneer on the outside, in spite of their nation being wrecked in complete turmoil. Naturally, people will be flustered amid and in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, but they have quickly set about their paces to begin the slow and long process of healing both the physical and psychological wounds.
Japan prides itself as being the frontrunner in many industries, thus it cannot afford to show weakness to the outside world. By maintaining civility and dignity, Japan explicitly depicts a sense of control, that it is well-equipped to face adversity. The Japanese have been well-trained in mitigating the effects of such disasters, and their infrastructure follow a strict code such that it is highly resistant to lateral shaking. Citizens are quick to respond to the tsunami warning systems and flee inland with haste and yet without chaos. They also keep emergency supplies in a bag that can be swiftly brought with them in times of need. It is almost as if their culture has been deeply ingrained in their minds, that being prompt and courteous has translated into doing what’s necessary with minimum fuss and complaints.
Even though people rush to buy fuel and supplies, pictures have shown that they are always waiting in a patient and orderly manner. There have also been very few reports of looting amidst the chaos. It seems that their complex and sophisticated culture has caused them to realise that the only way to recover swiftly from this disaster is not to cause further chaos, but to remain orderly, and to aid whatever rescue efforts that are in operation.
Inevitably, there will be mourning due to the massive losses that Japan has suffered, but their efforts are an obstinate show of man vs nature. Whatever nature throws at them, they are able to recover and come back stronger. The fact that they built their home on a land that rests on 4 separate tectonic plates and continue to persevere, is a measure of their strength and resilience that can be an example for all to follow.
Within two days of the earthquake, Tokyo’s railway network has been almost completely restored. Despite the explosion of the nuclear reactor, the Japanese are fervently trying to return things back to normalcy. The 1995 Kobe earthquake hit them hard, but they stood steadfast and had an economic boom afterwards. We must forgive them for not broadcasting any anime this week as it is only right to do so, but next week will be a better week. Our thoughts are with the people of Japan.