19.3.11

JAPAN

My friend Aly and I first heard about the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami while having a glass of wine in a cafe in Paris on Friday March 11. The report was in French but we could tell immediately that what had happened was massive and completely horrifying. Aly, having spent a semester studying in Tokyo back in 2007, was especially upset. Not until getting back to the states have I really had a chance to see images of the destruction in Japan. I just can't even imagine.

I'm incredibly impressed with the lack of looting and violence occurring in the aftermath. I just read Zeitoun (by Dave Eggars) which is about New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina . . . and it makes me wonder what makes certain cultures react in the ways they do. New Orleans basically became a Third World country. National Guardsmen and local police treated the locals who stayed behind after the storm like hardened criminals, holding them in makeshift jails without being officially charged or given a phone call.

all photos via The Big Picture

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

terrific...

ps. good examples of photos

Pennerad said...

i have always found the cultural differences in crises to be an interesting thing. i have also never understood it. perhaps the japanese stress on preparation and serenity prepared them better for such a crisis whereas the katrina victims were caught completely off guard and had measures in place that proved inadequate to handle their situation.
also, perhaps the absolute destruction in japan and the radiation threat was enough to keep folks inside; katrina flooded everything, but for the most part, it was intact once the waters receded.

seki said...

one of the main reasons for the lack of looting in japan is due to cultural conditioning that rewards good behaviour. from a young age, children are taught using a stick and carrot approach - they are rewarded (something like 12% of the actual value) for returning items that they find (i.e. wallets, etc.) and punished rather severely if they are found to have kept or stolen them. by contrast, in north america, where the culture of the individual is promoted, there is an intrinsic 'every man for themselves' mentality engrained in our communities from day one. it's no surprise, then, that looting and hoarding are a social result in the aftermath of a tragedy like katrina.