Posted by: mariabro | September 25, 2011

It’s the end of the world as we know it

and I feel fine.

It’s sad that REM broke up although I actually didn’t realize they were still together.  But their songs bring back some great memories.  Like falling in love with my husband on our first trip together to the Cayman Islands. I think when we got home we both bought each other the album (maybe it was CD by that time) as well as a couple of books we thought may be considered impressive and intellectual.  Sun Tzu’s the Art of War and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.  Perhaps it was just that we were slightly euphoric to have found someone who actually had read or wanted to read these books and enjoyed listening to REM while drinking wine on an outdoor patio at night and discussing P/E ratios of Canadian banks.

But I digress from the point of this post,which is the resilience of the Japanese people.  Now how is she going to get there from here you are wondering.

Reading the lyrics to REM’s “It’s the end of the world as we know it”,  I felt they were particularly prophetic after last night’s big typhoon(hurricane) and mini-earthquake.

“That’s great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane – LennyBruce is not afraid.  Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn – world serves its own needs, regardless of your own needs….Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the rapture and the reverent in the right – right. You vitriolic, patriotic,slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.”

Here is some of the damage the next day at the local park.

I believe we need to go through adversity to appreciate the good times.  It builds character I tell my teenage daughter who has not had much adversity to deal with in her life. But seriously Japan needs a break, they can’t get much more resilient, stoic or shoganai than they are!

As I cuddled up inside my house during the storm I thought about what the storm brings.  It is always followed by bright blue, sunny skies and I think, low pressure but I’m not a meteorologist.  It blows away the pollution, the dead branches and clears the way for new life and smooth sailing.

Going through the storm is almost worthwhile to get to the other side. (kind of like a divorce but that’s another story)

The next morning as I left my house I noticed leaves and debris in front of our garage.  As I walked along the street I noticed many people out sweeping up the debris.  By the time I got to the local park which was filled with fallen branches and leaves and smiling happy people cleaning up, I realized that this is what the Japanese do.  They clean up after natural disasters.  Don’t get me started on the earthquake and tsunami that is just on a totally different scale.  But even this small storm brought out the character of the locals.

This was the park a day later.

It is hard to believe that they continue to fight the forces of nature and do it without complaint.  Then I realized that they are not fighting the forces of nature, nature is Shoganai, the Japanese philosophy for “It can’t be helped”.  This is one of the main differences between our cultures. I think North Americans fight and believe they can change everything, or blame someone for it.

“world serves its own needs, regardless of your own needs….Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the rapture and the reverent in the right – right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.”

The Japanese have lived for centuries with earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons.  To survive under such circumstances they have developed coping mechanisms that allow them to be resilient, like a punching bag that keeps popping back for more.

They don’t internalize it, they deal with it and move on.

It’s not the end of the world it’s just another day in eternity for the Japanese.

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