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Nanashi no Okubyou

Happened to see this posted elsewhere so I'm just a stranger posting my own thoughts.

I think most everyone who has done enough time in Japan and returns to their home country experiences this reverse culture-shock. I had to catch myself on numerous occasions from saying "okaeri" when returning home or automatically saying "shitsurei shimasu" when entering someone elses place. Plus there are all the other mannerisms that somehow just becomes second nature which ends up looking out of place back in the US.

If there was any place that I felt relatively safe, it was always in Japan. And this is acknowledging the fact that Japan as a whole is not immune from corrupt government officials and corporations and that Japanese society is far from perfect and has its own set of issues. It sort of comes down to choosing your poison.

This multitude of natural and man-made disasters however has generally shown the character of the Japanese public in general where they've conducted themselves remarkably well. "Shikata ga nai" of course comes into play here so it isn't surprising that many will just go on continuing on with their lives since worrying about something outside of their control isn't going to amount to any good. That isn't to say the residents aren't deep down concerned about the issues and great challenges which lie ahead but I can imagine that had something of this magnitude occurred elsewhere, I doubt they would be faring any better and thinking of the Katrina aftermath, I can see it being far worse with people acting like a mob of savages after 2 weeks.

My personal take is that every place can be struck with some form of disaster or another. While it is worrying, I also cannot let that aspect dictate how and where I prefer to live. Earthquakes and tsunami's are a fact of life in Japan and for anyone making the decision to live there. But it is also what gives the country its character, its wonderful onsen, its rich fertile farmlands, and its beautiful scenic mountains.

I know a decision like this isn't easy since there is the prudent side tugging at what your heart desires. Sometimes in this short life of ours, we need to do things that makes prudent sense (like if one has children and not putting them in harms way) while at other times (especially if you are single), you need to do what your heart desires (especially if it will make you personally happy even though it may seem somewhat "wagamama").

Good luck in whatever decision you make.

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