Mar 16 2011

National Character

Published by at 12:51 am under Culture,Family

I’m starting to get a lot of Facebook “friend” invitations that look like this:

The only way I can find out who it is, is to accept the invitation. Then I get to see the Roman alphabet spelling.

I read an interesting AP article about the typical Japanese response to their current disaster:

…[S]urvivors search for missing loved ones, clean up their streets and wait patiently for gas — with regret, for sure, but hardly a complaint…

Two phrases offer some insight into the Japanese psyche.

One is shikata ga nai, which roughly translates as it can’t be helped, and is a common reaction to situations beyond one’s control. The other is gaman, considered a virtue. It means to be patient and persevere in the face of suffering.

Theories abound as to what makes the Japanese so resilient and willing to cooperate. Some cite the centuries-old need to work together to grow rice on a crowded archipelago prone to natural disasters. Others point to the hierarchical nature of human relations and a keen fear of shaming oneself before others.

It strikes me as a Buddhist attitude, Glenda Roberts, an anthropology professor at Tokyo’s Waseda University, said. Westerners might tend to see it as passivity, but it’s not that. It takes a lot of strength to stay calm in the face of terror.

I am so tired. I’ve been chatting online with G2 for the last hour. It’s 1:30 a.m. She and I have been poking around OKCupid together: a couple of high-tech high-school girls.

I’m at Teejie’s & Richard’s, which has been lovely. They, however, had the sense to go to sleep hours ago.

Last night I went to say goodnight to Emmy and accidentally fell asleep on the bed with Yo-Nenny, with my grandbaby’s head against my chest. I awoke around 2:00 a.m. to find poor Jason, displaced, trying to sleep in the big round papasan chair in the dining room.

Emmy’s new favorite trick is to suck on my chin vigorously, and then gum it as hard as she can, while making a squeal of glee reminiscent of a rusty screen door. I do love that baby.

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