March 11, 2012 will mark the one year anniversary of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the Tohoku coastal region. Despite the destruction and loss the Japanese people have not surrendered their “Samurai Spirit”. The natural disaster has strengthened their solidarity and sense of community; neighbors selflessly support one another, an essential piece in furthering their recovery.
I had the opportunity to interview Sachi, our office assistant who was living in Japan when the earthquake struck; I inquired about her most memorable news stories following the tragedy. Sachi recalled watching a news broadcast of a particular relief effort where miso soup and rice were being served to survivors. There was a young boy who stood in the extensive relief line to receive his portion of miso soup and rice. After being served he re-entered the long line; the relief workers quickly recognized him and told him that he already had his turn. He replied that the first time he entered the line was for his grandmother who was too frail to stand in the line and now he wanted his own portion.
For Sachi this story highlighted the region’s intergenerational strength, interdependence and respect. She beamed with pride when explaining the collectivist culture of Japan where multigenerational families are common place and each generation is supportive and receptive to the next. Following Sachi’s lead, please share your own personal stories depicting intergenerational support and resilience.
By Que Spencer