Stop comparing Japan's disasters to others

Share/Save/Bookmark

Stop comparing Japan's disasters to others
by Esfand Aashena
14-Mar-2011
 

Japan is going through a major disaster of epic proportions and here we're witnessing comments about Japanese having "better" culture and we don't see the lootings that we saw in Katrina or other places.

No looting?  Are you sure?  What is there to loot?  The fucking tsunami has washed away everything that could be looted!  What are you going to loot, a washed up LCD TV?  Where are you going to take your loot to?  Homes are gone, people are gone, there has been no chance of looting!  Cars are on rooftops so you can't transport your loot either!

They forget all of these and they focus on "difference in culture"!  As if they saw the "chance" to loot and are now reporting on the lack of it due to differences in culture!

This is becoming a multi faceted disaster that after 3 days of mounting problems the Japanese are slowly starting to ask for help from IAEA and other agencies.  Everyone is ready to help while the Japanese nuclear experts are preparing for hari kiri!  When the melt down occurs we may see them killing themselves for the failed plants than trying to find a solution.  How is that for differences in culture?  Is that any "better"?

There is no sense in comparing cultures or not worrying about rich Japan because they're not, people need help.  One in six people in Japan are now 'poor'. Stay away from clichés and don't repeat some nonsense.  This disaster is nowhere near in control and the Japense government is not even being honest and upfront about it.  They need help and they need to ask for it and be serious about it.

Of course compared to poor countries like Haiti or Indonesia they're much better off but with the nuclear meltdown looming this could very well affect all of us.

Share/Save/Bookmark

more from Esfand Aashena
 
Esfand Aashena

Mullah seems like you reading into things. No hate on my behalf.

by Esfand Aashena on

Everything is sacred


mullah-kosh

Esfand

by mullah-kosh on

It seems like a japanese girl may have done a number on you. So much hatred, and passion against the Japanese, why?


Esfand Aashena

Well isn't that nice!

by Esfand Aashena on

It appears that Japanese are master hypocrites!  They twist every word and manage to do worse and be more cruel yet they're "calm" and "orderly"!  Isn't that nice!

- They don't fight but they kill with Samuari swords ala Kill Bill!  Not to mention having invented Martial Arts in one time or another as national past time!

- They don't fire someone but sent him to work from men's room!

- They don't take responsibility but if they mess up their responsibility they hara kiri themselves!

- They don't loot but they steal purses at the rate of 16,000 per year in one city alone!

I really feel bad talking this way at this time but when you have reports comparing this to Katrina and not looting that is the least of anyone's problems.  The major problem is the nuclear meltdown now that is being denied by the officials so no one is going to take any "responsibility" for it because Japanese don't know how?  Divert attention, is that another part of Japanese culture?

Everything is sacred


G. Rahmanian

Hara Kiri!

by G. Rahmanian on

Contrary to the common belief, in "Hara Kiri" or the act of "Stomach Cutting/Disembowlment" the factor of shame is almost non-existent. It is done after admitting to one's failure to fulfill one's duty. Also the factor of unforgiveness in the Japsnese culture is another issue that forces a person to commit Hara Kiri. Ostracizing people who fail in performing their duties is a strong aspect of the Japanese culture. In companies when they want to fire someone, they give him a desk next to a window and other employees refrain from talking to him until he quits. They do use the word shame, but shame alone is not a decisive factor. When a boss gets upset with an employee and yells at him, it means he is not losing his job per se. Ignoring the employee and not allowing him back into the group, is the worst punishment, here. That forces him out more easily. Hara Kiri is a similar concept. The person has no place to go.


G. Rahmanian

Examples:

by G. Rahmanian on

In the past three decades I haven't seen a fight. Of course, Japanese show anger at times, but not the way we know it. I have seen a man screaming at another, but no real fight. Usually one of people involved shuts up an looking down says nothing at all. The biggest reason is they are willing to accept each situation as it evolves and deal with it accordingly. They don't rush to decision making. They need to be told what to do at each stage. many Japanese still respect people in power. One reason is they don't want to/can't make decisions on their own. Taking responsibility is perhaps the most difficult thing for a Japanese.

They are good at hiding their emotions, too. More than twenty years ago, I worked with a Japanese guy for seven years and did not know he could speak English. It was by chance that I found out. He was very fluent. When I asked him why he didn't talk to me in English, he simply grinned and said, because we could communicate in Japanese.


Esfand Aashena

Are they "calm" because they're not getting the news?

by Esfand Aashena on

This morning the US media are starting to call this worse than the Three Mile Islands disaster.  They're saying the radiation as of yesterday (not today) exceeded Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  I don't know how much with the meltdowns. There is also news of no fly zones.

Do you think if tomorrow the news breaks inside Japan that melt down has occured people will remain calm?  No difference between pre and after meltdown?  Is there anything that would shake their calmness?!  If so, what'd that be?

You know it's like a friend everyone has who is calm.  Nothing upsets him.  So we poke him and poke him to see if says anything and then suddenly he goes biserk!  No one is calm forever! 

Everything is sacred


G. Rahmanian

Yes!

by G. Rahmanian on

For almost thirty years. We are in Osaka about 800 kilometers from Fukushima. Canada is an option for us. About the blackouts: As I wrote on another thread, except the affected areas, the rest of the country is as calm as ever. Tokyo has been affected, but people have to report to work. People in general cooperate and use less electricity, but businesses don't. I do remind the people at the department stores or supermarkets we go to about their heating systems and lights, but they turn the systems off and then on again. Yesterday and today the weather was not cold at all, but inside some stores they had their heating systems on. Japanese talk very little and react much less emotionally in cases like this. People are still hopeful. Tokyo seems to be safe and we are about 600 kilometers away. Our suitcase are packed and ready to go down towards Kyushu or Okinawa. I talked to a friend in Tokyo, yesterday. He said they don't stay inside as much as possible because of the aftershocks. 12:35 amJST


Esfand Aashena

Rahmanian are you in Japan?

by Esfand Aashena on

If so I've heard about rolling blackouts all over Japan which would affect everybody.  What are people saying about the nuclear meltdown and radiations?  Now that officials have finally spoken about the imminent danger is there any talk of people moving to South or anything? 

Not sure you can get away from it.  Not sure what I'd do but I think I'd try to get away if I could.    

Everything is sacred


Esfand Aashena

The shame factor is costing much more than any major looting!

by Esfand Aashena on

Faramarz jaan that shame factor by many officials is costing much more than any looting that could've happened.  Those responsible for the plant safety violations now going hari kiri because of the shame factor is making things worse.  I'm sure the Japanese officials would've preferred mass lootings all over Japan than having to deal with the nuclear meltdowns.

Now as far as keeping the wallet, if I see someone drop his wallet I'd pick it up and give it back to him.  I have actually done it before even some dropped money I've given back.

If the wallet is however in the middle of the road I'd pick it up and if it has an ID, I'd probably give it back.  Although I'd have to find a way to trouble myself less than sending mail back and forth to the address on the ID! 

Everything is sacred


G. Rahmanian

Faramarz Jaan:

by G. Rahmanian on

You are right about Japanese not looting the way others do, but they are known to have done so in much smaller scale and not in groups. And that's where the culture comes in. Japanese tend to be very discrete when committing such acts. One more reason that we may not hear about looting is that the concept is different. In the US looting is accompanied by rioting. In Japan it is done individually and it's more similar to break-ins than looting. Also, many people do not report their losses because they give up on recovering the stolen items unless they are very expensive or they are insured. One unrelated example: In the Greater Osaka in one year alone there were 13,000 cases of bag snatchings. But, again, if you simply lose something, chances are you may recover it more quickly in Japan than many other places in the world. Many people in Japan carry lots of cash at all times without the fear of getting mugged.


Faramarz

The Shame Factor and Most Honest Countries

by Faramarz on

Esfand Jaan,

It is hard to say how people would react under extreme conditions of life and death, but there is a code of behavior in Japanese and a few other people that prevents them from looting and committing petty crimes, even when nobody is watching. I believe that shame has a lot to do with it.

Here is a study that was done to find the most honest people in the world by dropping wallets with money and ID cards and see how many will be returned.

What would you do? Keep the money as the finder's fee and return the rest?

 

http://www.xys.org/forum/db/4/155/242.html

 

 


Esfand Aashena

Faramarz jaan I just don't see it that way.

by Esfand Aashena on

I don't see plenty to be looted.  The cities who are not affected by the disasters are not part of this equation.  There is one Japan and they're orderly and good for them.  However, if this was 100 degree heat and humidity and the victims were not given any food or water, I can assure you there would be riots.  Not for LCD TVs but for food and water!

When humans get desparate they all resort to desparate behaviors.  Law of the jungle!  They looted the city because the city was left to be looted.  Same in Iraq, they left the city to be looted.  If they had left Japanese without food or water for 3 days do you think they'd be behaving like this?  Also it doesn't appear this was in the major population centers.

Everything is sacred


Faramarz

Esfan Jaan, Japanese Are Unique!

by Faramarz on

Japan is an orderly society to a fault and we are seeing it in the aftermath of this great tragedy. While people are devastated by their personal loss, they still carry on with such dignity and respect for their government and their institutions. They are not looting the stores (and there is a lot to be looted all over the country) and they are not attacking each other. We did not see that behavior in New Orleans, LA riots or in other chaotic situations around the world.

This behavior is uniquely Japanese (and Nordic and a few other places.) You see it in the busy morning rush hour in the train stations when people line up in an orderly fashion and maintain a minimal personal space. Even the act of pushing people into the crowded train by the conductor to close the doors is done with as much dignity as possible! Now compare that to Iran Air checking counter at an European city where all the well-to-do and educated Iranians are all over each other to get to the front of the line!

Japan is clean because Japanese are clean. Compare that to Singapore or Hong Kong. In Japanese homes the toilette and the bath are in two different parts of the house, never together, because they serve two different purposes.

There is only one Japan.


G. Rahmanian

What I Wrote 3 Days Ago!

by G. Rahmanian on

G. Rahmanian
Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:52 AM PST
Dear RW: Except for those areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami and
some neighboring cities, the rest of the country seems very calm. In Western Japan or the Kansai area, peole are not worried, at all. Thanks to the culture where reticence is considered a great value, conversations about the disaster are not longer than three to four phrases. People trust the authorities and the authorities are not saying much. In a situation such as this, panic is a major concern. You cannot relocate millions or tens of millions of people to a "safe" place under the present conditions. If, as the media in the west are saying, there were any danger of other explosions at the Fukushima Dai Ichi( Fukushima No. 1) reactor, the Japanese government would have instructed the Japanese to take some precautionary measures. Let's only hope that the government is not hiding very much from the Japnese people and the world, as is often the case in Japan.


Esfand Aashena

Those who are affected are humble, like in BAM for example.

by Esfand Aashena on

Those who stand in lines have lost most if not everthing so they're beaten souls and too tired and spent to think about raising hell and such.  People in BAM were orderly too.  Those who were supposed to help them were stealing tents and such.

I'm not saying Japanese are not disciplined or cultured or what have you.  Don't need to be a "Japanologist" to see that!  Germans are known to be "efficient" going back to WWII and before.  Japanese are known to be "orderly" and that goes back to WWII and before as well.  Both traits heavly exploited.

This is not about their culture but how their Government who is supposed to be open and as told by media is rescuing people and supposedly prepared people for such orderly response are not telling the people the magnitude of what is still happening.

Wasn't it Japanese who rebuffed the threat of the atomic bomb in WWII at first and then even after the first bomb they didn't give up and thought they could withstand it so they left the people open to the 2nd bomb?

Comparing the "orderly" response of Japanese to other countries is misplaced.  Given the same circumstances and the same magnitude of disasterS I believe other nationalities would've more or less responded the same. 

While I don't have to listen to everything media has to say, there are also reports that Japanese themselves are saying their Government is hiding information and not helpful enough, raising much doubts themselves.  

Everything is sacred


mullah-kosh

Listen to today NPR's Market place

by mullah-kosh on

The guy reporting from Tokyo even said it. People were extremely orderly in train lines, although most lines were shut down, and very slow. I quote " Even if the police was not there, these people would have remained orderly, Japanese have a certain dignity during the times of crisis". This is the NPR dude reporting from Tokyo. 

Yes, there are criminals every where, we are not talking about specific cases, here we are talking about the general population of a country, not every person in that country.  


G. Rahmanian

Lots of Misinformation!

by G. Rahmanian on

I'm afraid, due to the lack of sufficient understanding of the complexities of the Japanese culture, there's misinformation here, as well! I hope I'll find the "right incentive" to write about Japan, now that, as a result of this latest disaster, things need to be brought to light.
There are lots of myths created vis-a-vis Japan and the Japanese culture by the most uninformed/misinformed or, positively biased, American and European "Japanologists." All I can say for now is that, it is a very different culture from the western or other Asian cultures. And like in all other cultures, there are those aspects of the Japanese culture that we, as non-Japanese, may either appreciate or may not hold in high regard.


Anahid Hojjati

Good Esfand jan that you are an engineer

by Anahid Hojjati on

I was just writing about the great work Vildemose has donr about Japan disaster and of course Red Wine. I did not mean to say who is engineer or not.  In any case, thanks all friends for keeping us informed about this disaster.


default

Esfand

by Doctor mohandes on

I don't think You got what i was trying to tell you.

No, It should not mean that governments should resort to censoring the informtaion and the facts. But guess what!!! that is what they do, they have done this and they will do this. and we can do nothing about it! agreed??


default

THis right here

by Doctor mohandes on

IS Our problem.

I bet you 99.999999 % of iranians would have get on that train freely, that is how we roll, we see any advantage, and lawlessness, and we will take it.


Esfand Aashena

Petty looting is bad, Japanese Yakuza is "better"!

by Esfand Aashena on

A crime is a crime and rooted in the social problems and many other factors in a country. The Japanese Yakuza is no educated crime family!

They kill as indisriminately as the El Salvadoran's Mara Salvatrucha yet it seems many pick and choose between these 2 criminal gangs as one being "better" than the other.  Why is that?

Everything is sacred


Esfand Aashena

Anahid jaan I'm an Engineer too!

by Esfand Aashena on

Trying to say that a positive thing in all of this is that there is no looting where there is no chance of looting to begin with is simply wrong.  We should stay away from sweeping it under the rug and blaming other cultures.  I can assure you if there was a chance the Japanese looters would've made their international counterparts proud! 

Of course no matter how prepared you are you never know until you're faced with such disasters.  Now does that include censoring and keeping from public the extent of disaster?  Shouldn't guiding people to safety be a pillar of any disaster response?

Didn't we learn in Katrina that immediate response and keeping up with the disaster is the number one responsibility of the officials? Lessons learned!

In Japan in the first 2 days they were and are "haggling" about the extent of dead and then yesterday (or was it today?) 2000 dead bodies are washed ashore!

Japanese are slow in this response.  We shoud not hide it.  If this is part of their "culture" then it is SUCKS!  We have plenty of stinking SUCKS in our "culture" as well so we know what it is like. I'm sure Japanese know their sucking things in their culture too.

Everything is sacred


mullah-kosh

Vilermose and Esfand

by mullah-kosh on

You clearly have shown that you have never been to Japan, or other countries similar to it. This kind of situations is exactly the time to compare cultures and civilizations. I bet you that even with no response, the Japanese would not have looted, most Japanese would rather die than to attack their neighbors and steal. I am gone have to agree with Everybody loves somebody, it is ingrained in their culture, and in that sense, they are the most civilized people on this planet. This could not be said about Americans, and believe me I love America, and it certainly could not said about Iranians.

I wias in Belgium with a highly educated American friend, and one of his Belgian friends. We were gettiing on the train, and my American friend (he is a good old white boy) was shocked that there were no security guard present at the ticket gate. People just volunteerly would scan their tickets and go in. He asked our Belgian buddy, "listen, we are only going couple of stops, it is costing us like 6 bucks each, let's just get on the train", I will never forget the horrifying look the belgian dude gave us, he was just totally shocked that someone would even ask that question. He said, no way, everybody got pay their share, and we are using this, so we must pay. I bet you 99.999999 % of iranians would have get on that train freely, that is how we roll, we see any advantage, and lawlessness, and we will take it.


default

ELE

by Doctor mohandes on

It is not elabrotabel:)))

But... You know Harriii... Is the same as Rabese.

Kiri ham is the altered version of KIwi.

Feeegoorree de rest Un yoorr oun dige!!


default

Lootable or Not Lootable!

by Doctor mohandes on

The point is to put well-deserved emphasis on the character and the resilence that these japanese people are showing.

And one thing is that in all these natural disasters, no matter where they happen, In USA or in Gambia! A governmnet can never ever not ever be prepared enough to perform satisfactorily, and to deliver in the way that it could even please all. There is always something that happens which is not according to the plans and there is always, always room for criticism.

Oh and one more thing. To expect any government to be transparent and tell about the problems and the real extent of the damage, is really chasing wild goose.


Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime

Soosan Khanoom: Could you please elaborate on

by Everybody Loves Somebody ... on

Hari "Kiri"?

 

Much obliged!


Soosan Khanoom

R they really going Hari

by Soosan Khanoom on

R they really going Hari Kiri on that ?  

Also I think U R right Esfand .... what's left to loot ?

Having said that I admire their efforts ....... I can not even watch the news on this ........ these poor nation had suffered a lot ........  they survived two atomic bombs ....... they shall survive this too ....... 

All we are is dust in the wind anyway ........  

 


vildemose

Anahid jan: Thank you and

by vildemose on

Anahid jan: Thank you and I'm grateful that at least you as an engineer appreciate it.

Don't worry about the rest....


Anahid Hojjati

Dear Esfand, this is not the case

by Anahid Hojjati on

 that Vildemose is lost in this disaster. Vildemose has provided some of the best updates about the disaster.


Esfand Aashena

Vildemose you're lost in this disater.

by Esfand Aashena on

As bad as Katrina was it was only one flooding and they brought it in control in 4 days, rescuing people and giving them water, etc. The looting was in New Orleans when people were saying officials don't care about people in the Dome dying so they're not going to care in the case of looting in the city.  Remember ward 9 was the hardest hit and nothing there was worth looting.

The Japanese have not responded well to this disaster.  They're simply banking on their "preprations" not what they're doing now. Building strong buildings is a response but not enough.  You need more support.

Everything is sacred