Tsunami thought-The man who swims against the tide knows the strength of it

Posted on 14-03-2011 , by: fusion , in , 0 Comments

Even the strongest Olympic swimmer could never swim against that; against the wall of water hitting the coastline of Japan at 560 kilometers per hour. As a Tokyo resident for nearly two years, I watched with horror and helplessness, thinking of my friends there. I recalled the minor earthquakes we experienced at IBM headquarters in central Tokyo where I was HR manager. There, we had regular earthquake drills, issued all employees with earthquake survival kits and felt (probably falsely) reassured that we were prepared for disaster

So, I’m not surprised at the efficiency, relative calmness and stoic approach with which the nation is tackling this terrible event; as during my time there, the government even gave expats & citizens alike free booklets & CD’s on what to do in the case of earthquakes & tsunamis. Of course, we never thought it would happen to us but I still included an entire chapter on earthquake survival in a book on Japan (this is not a plug for the book as it is no longer in print but if you’d like a complimentary e-chapter on earthquakes, just email me) .
Thankfully, all my friends in Japan have survived but have a tough road ahead. But, I reflect on the less fortunate fate of others and the kindness of total strangers when I was a stranger in their land; There, I learned the importance of quality and became committed to customer service-because in Japan, the word customer literally translates into ‘honoured guest in one’s home.’ That is how the Japanese made me feel in their country.
Now, many have no homes but their resilience will stand firm, as it has in the past when they have rebuilt before. I vividly remember attending a peace ceremony at Hiroshima, one of only a handful of Westerners, amidst 100,000 Japanese. Then and now, the spirit of their people will not be broken.
It may not be politically correct to articulate-but let’s face it-Shift happens-in this instance shift in the fault lines of the earth. But, likewise…Hope happens… 
Hope helps us cope when our well of wishes is dry. There’s a wonderful Japanese word which roughly translates into various meanings….’Good luck, do your best and never give up.’  To everyone in Japan, I express that heart felt: ’Ganbatte-kudasai’

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