I spent most of the first 18 years of my life in Japan and the idea of the Big One striking was as much a part of life as eating and breathing. Still, nothing prepares for the incredible sight of Japanese homes, businesses and lives being washed away in a split second.
We learn a lot about each other in moments of crisis but there are many things about the Japanese and we Americans that we already know: Japanese are sober-minded and clear-headed in moments of crisis like this -- it's highly unlikely that they'll loot or in any way take advantage of the tragedy for personal gain. Rather they'll look out for their neighbors and help one another. We also know something about America -- that in moments of crisis we take action and ask questions later and the best of the American spirit comes out in moments like these. I have no doubt that Americans will rise to the occasion and help their brothers and sisters in Japan in every way possible.
If trouble comes in multiples, that is definitely true of Japan today. As if weathering a 20-year recession wasn't bad enough, Japan has also been experiencing a crisis of confidence that has produced a listless society in which roughly 100 people commit suicide every single day of the year and the birth rate is so tragically low that the population is estimated to drop from 120 million to 80 million in just a matter of decades. As if all of that wasn't bad enough, the country now faces a tragedy of Biblical proportions.
If past is prologue, Japan will bounce back from this tragedy with the help of America's finest: her soldiers in uniform at bases like Yokota and Yokosuka, and her dedicated missionaries and other expats dispersed around the nation who will remind the Japanese why America is still her best and closest ally in a dangerous world.