Why aren’t they looting in Japan? Surely, under those circumstances citizens are owed whatever they can grab. Who are they kidding? Who could blame them? You’d be a fool not to. If you don’t someone else will. At times like these, it’s every man—now person, for his or herself. But somehow, they don’t.
Maybe the Japanese have a far more formidable police force than we do here in the West. I’ll bet a Japanese prison is no picnic. With guards like those in their infamous WW2 prison camps, they surely show no mercy to a criminal.
How useless it is to try and understand them through our own stories when theirs are so different. All human qualities and features of the natural world can be like a double-edged sword—the stories that form their culture surely are. But in this case, ideas about respect, duty and honor, and a national sense of the sacred serve them well. The way a Tsunami follows an earthquake, seeing the way the Japanese behave in their horror should give Americans pause once YouTube tsunami porn flickers away. The power of it—how it contrasts sharply with what took place in the swampy underbelly of the US back in 2005, feels to me like a culture quake.