Crisis Etiquette: A Japanese Lesson

While we all continue to devote our energy to raising awareness about the recent events in Japan and supporting the Japanese people, a small yet powerful story continues to impress me, but not surprise me.

Japanese Queue from
Why is there no looting in Japan after the earthquake? “During a state of emergency it is not unusual to hear about looting, so why have there been very few reports of this in Japan?”(BBC News)

As a frequent traveler to Japan, I have been lucky enough to experience Japanese culture on a day to day basis. Any traveler will agree that in Japan, service is top priority, and you see it in every little detail. Whether you are staying at a 5-star hotel, or staying at a family house, everyone is treated with the highest respect and every detail is planned and prepared for your comfort. It is an amazing experience.

Being a musician and having access to backstage has also allowed me to experience a different side of Japanese respect: one that is shared between each Japanese citizen. It is easy to assume that a place of lodging or a tourist attraction would want to put forth the best show, but even if you go backstage, in the corridors, in the kitchens, or in the offices, there is still a sense of respect for your fellow man that is unprecedented. Each employee, each volunteer, each contractor has a sense of honor and respect to do everything correctly and to the highest possible degree. It is this sense of purpose that drives them on a day to day basis.

So now we sit back and observe. Why is there no looting? Why is there no murder, or rioting, or crime where we are used to it? Why haven’t people taken advantage of broken alarm systems, empty shops, and busy police like in other places? It’s hard for us to imagine a people sharing a collective mind, in crisis, and still respecting their fellow man. But it’s happening right before our eyes, across the ocean, in the nation of Japan.

I will share a story I heard… After the disaster, many were left homeless. People who were fortunate enough to have a home began opening their houses to those homeless. Regardless of if they were related, or even if they knew them, people were taking in homeless families and giving them shelter.

It is an amazing story, about amazing people, and one that should be shared and learned from. Congratulations Japan, you have given me hope for a better world.

A side note, our donation to the Red Cross was finally processed! Together, we donated, $462.25 from our small fundraiser last week Friday at Lulus! Thank you to all who donated and made this possible!