I encourage you to consider a donation to the American Red Cross or Samaritan's Purse to give some much needed aid. Both of these organizations have been helping on the ground in Japan since last weekend.
Forgive me for some personal reflections here. I know that some people hate it when people add their personal experiences to external tragedies, but I am going to do it anyway.
I lived in Japan for about 6 months in 1987. I was an exchange student in college and majored in Japanese. Then, between 1990 and 1998, I travelled extensively throughout Japan for business by train and even private plane. I really had a good time in Japan, making many close friendships there during my college days. Over time, I have lost contact with those friends and now I wish I knew if they were okay.
I remember being in Sendai, the largest city hit by the earthquake and tsunami. It is a beautiful area with an easy-going vibe. It felt to me like a cross between Seattle and the dairylands of Wisconsin. I wonder if it will ever be the same.
One of the characteristics of the Japanese people is customer service, service to others. They are an island-nation, accustomed to taking care of each other. I keep thinking of how all Japanese people, even those living in the far southern regions are going to be devasted by this tragedy in the northern half.
Finally, I just wanted to share a haunting image that is likely the most famous piece of Japanese art. It is called Hokusai's Great Wave Off Kanagawa, published sometime between 1830 and 1833. I had a poster of this in my house when I lived in Japan. It depicts a huge wave, overcoming boats of Japanese people with Mt. Fuji in the distance.
|Hokusai's Great Wave off Kanagawa|
The drawing of the wave is a deification of the sea made by a painter who lived with the religious terror of the overwhelming ocean completely surrounding his country; He is impressed by the sudden fury of the ocean's leap toward the sky, by the deep blue of the inner side of the curve, by the splash of its claw-like crest as it sprays forth droplets.