Education About Asia: Online Archives

Why Japan Matters

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By Masumi Reade

Along line of people—hundreds of selfless, patient citizens—quietly waiting to receive water;

A big smile on a rescue worker, walking with a just-rescued eighty-one-year old lady on his back;

Rescue workers from the Self-Defense Force descending from a helicopter to retrieve a dog that was still alive on a rooftop of a home floating in the ocean, three weeks after the tsunami;

The emperor and empress visiting victims in several shelters . . .

. . . These are the images that will never leave my mind. These are the images that sent a strong message to the world. The world, in return, sent these messages to each other:

Japan has great qualities.
Let’s help Japan and reciprocate for what it has done for us.                                                                                                                        Pray for Japan.
Japan will rise again.

In adversity, people need to help one another. We need be more considerate and resourceful. Japan was able to show these qualities in the wake of a most horrific tragedy. I have never been more proud, happy, and truly thankful to be Japanese.

I have taught young American students about Japan, not just the language and products of its culture, but some of the priceless qualities that have been shared by people and handed down through generations in a long, rich history.

Japan still matters. There is so much to learn from Japan. This is the message I would like to give to my students by exercising the qualities that I admire, respect, and cherish. I am forever thankful to be in a position to share Japan with today’s youth.

Ganbare, Japan!

By Masumi Reade

Editor’s Note: Masumi Reade informed us that the 2011 theme of The Wood- lands High School Japanese Club annual Haiku contest was “Ganbare, Japan!” Al- though Ganbare is difficult to translate, its English meaning is a combination of perseverance and hard effort. Mrs. Reade was moved enough by her students to create her own Haiku about Japan’s great disaster, which follows.

昨日まで ありし人生 語る写真

Life that existed until yesterday                                                                                                                                                                           today the photos will tell its story

気仙沼 燃える画面に 独り泣く

Kesen’numa in flames                                                                                                                                                                                       continues to burn in the screen                                                                                                                                                                            makes me cry

生きていた 犬の救助に ヘリ五人

A helicopter with five workers
coming down to rescue a surviving dog in the ocean

列長し 動かぬ辛抱 見て涙

Long, quiet lines
not moving and testing your patience                                                                                                                                                                 makes me cry to watch

避難所に 跪き頷く 陛下かな

Emperor and Empress                                                                                                                                                                                          visiting the victim’s shelters                                                                                                                                                                                 getting down on their knees

雪の道 珈琲一杯の 温かさ

Snowy road home
— a cup of warm coffee                                                                                                                                                                                        supplied by a kind heart

老人の 笑顔肩揉み 小学生

Elementary school children
going around the shelter to give shoulder massage to the elders                                                                                                                  Award of a big smile

救われし 老女の笑顔 背に揺れる

Faint smile on the face of the old lady                                                                                                                                                                    just rescued (after ten days)
on the back of the soldier.

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