Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Things I Heart About Japan

Right now, so much of the focus on Japan is about the enormous disasters that have gone on over the past several days. Rightfully so. It has been a most awful time for the Land of the Rising Sun, and it hurts my heart every time I watch or read the latest news.

Instead of all the chaos and destruction, I want to think about the things I love about Japan. Here goes:
  • Anpan—a sweet bread filled with an, which I guess is a red bean paste.

  • Robotech—only my favorite cartoon and the first anime I ever saw.

  • Mugicha—barley tea; I first had this when I spent a short bit of my summer, right around 5th grade in Fukuoka.

  • Kuri manju— it's manju, but the outside is more of a baked bread than pounded-out-rice. Just go to your local Marukai or Nijiya and ask for it.

  • Miyazaki Films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, etc.

  • Obento—the best box-lunch ever.
Okay, so I realize this centers mostly around food and media. But, these will be important in the weeks and months to come as Japan struggles to recover. I wish I could do something more tangible to help, but I think buying Japanese products will go a long way.

I do love other things about Japan and its people. It is such an orderly and considerate society. One in which you care about how your actions affect those around you; and this is so ingrained that you see the culture shining through in the simplest of photos. Here is the the picture that warms my heart the most (open it in a new window so you can see a larger version:

Notice how many of them are sitting or laying on some kind of paper or mat so that they are not directly touching the floor? And do you see how some of them have taken off their shoes and lined them up just-so? It's so Japanese. I love it.

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