Tweets from Japan in the midst of catastrophic quake

I found this viral post in Facebook and I am reposting this in the wake of the earthquake catastrophe in Japan. Here are tweets from people in Japan, real life eyewitness accounts on how the country with people who are sometimes seen as ‘cold’ on the outside, emotionless, mechanical like robots acted in times of adversity. Those same people had hearts warmer than the average unshaken individuals among us.

Here are series of screen shots of the original tweets in Japanese for all you who can read Nihongo; English translation follows.


Reminded of the goodness of the Japanese people:

This earthquake has reminded me that Japanese goodness that had recently become harder and harder to see still exists.  Today I see no crime or looting; I am reminded once again of the good Japanese spirit of helping one another, of propriety, and of gentleness.  I had recently begun to regard my modern countrymen as cold people … but this earthquake has revived and given back to all of us the spirit of “kizuna” (bond, trust, sharing, the human connection).  I am very touched.  I am brought to tears.


In the middle of all the shaking and swaying:

We’ve all been trained to immediately open the doors and establish an escape route when there is an earthquake.  In the middle of the quake while the building was shaking crazily and things falling everywhere, a man made his way to the entrance and held it open.  Honestly, the chandelier could have crashed down any minute … that was a brave man!


At a congested downtown intersection:

Cars were moving at the rate of maybe one every green light, but everyone was letting each other go first with a warm look and a smile.  At a complicated intersection, the traffic was at a complete standstill for 5 minutes, but I listened for 10 minutes and didn’t hear a single beep or honk except for an occasional one thanking someone for giving way.  It was a terrifying day, but scenes like this warmed me and made me love my country even more.


Message from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon:

“Japan is one of (the UN’s) most generous and strongest benefactors, coming to the assistance of those in need the world over.  In that spirit, the United Nations stands by the people of Japan and we will do anything and everything we can at this very difficult time.”  I was moved at his words.  What better example that good things happen to those who do good.”


How foreigners saw the reaction of the Japanese people:

At a supermarket where everything was scattered everywhere over the floors, shoppers were helping pick them up and putting them back neatly on the shelves before quietly moving into line to wait to pay for them.  On the totally jam-packed first train after the quake, an elderly man gave up his seat for a pregnant woman.  Foreigners have told me they are amazed witnessing sights like these.  I do believe they actually saw what they said they saw.  Japan is truly amazing.


BBC Reports:

The words of BBC’s reports are so moving they make me cry.  They were praising us with words of admiration!  “One of the worst earthquakes in recorded history has hit the world’s most well-prepared, well-trained nations.  The strength of its government and its people are put to the test.  While there have been casualties, in no other country could the government and the people have worked together in such an accurate and coordinated way in the face of such tragedy.  The Japanese people have shown their cultural ability to remain calm in the face of adversity.”


The Japanese people are amazing!

Japanese people don’t shove I’m looking at Yurakucho station from above.  I see people standing in line, not pushing or shoving to get onto the Yamanote Line (probably the busiest line in central Tokyo), even at a time like this!


~ tired and shaken commuters neatly lined up when the trains reopened ~


At the train platform:

The Oedo Subway Line for Hikarigaoka is very congested.  On the platform and at the gate there are just crowds and crowds of people waiting for the train.  But in all the confusion, every last person is neatly lined up waiting his or her turn while managing to keep a passage of space open for staff and people going the other way.  Everyone is listening to the instructions from the staff and everyone acts accordingly.  And amazingly … there isn’t even a rope or anything in sight to keep people in queue or open space for staff to pass, they just do!  I am so impressed at this almost unnatural orderliness!  I have nothing but praise for these people!


Unbelievable people:

Japan is a wonderful nation!  Both the government and the people, everyone is helping one another today.  There are truck drivers helping evacuees move.  I even heard that the “yakuza” (gangsters, organized crime groups) are helping to direct traffic in the Tohoku region!  There have been many recent developments that have made me lose my sense of pride in my country, but not anymore.  Japan is an amazing place!  I’m just simply touched.  Go Japan!


German friend gets help from stranger:

A German friend of mine was in Shibuya (downtown Tokyo shopping district) when the earthquake hit.  He was panicking when a Japanese passerby saved him, taking him into a building.  My friend was blown away at how calm and disciplined this Japanese man was.  He went out of the building with firm, unfaltering steps, did everything he was trained to do and came back.  My German friend was deeply impressed by the Japanese people’s actions during the earthquake, saying they looked like a trained army.


In Gotenba:

Yesterday, not a single traffic light was functioning in Gotenba City.  But drivers knew to take turns at intersections and give way to others when needed.  Local people were using flags to direct traffic at intersections.  I drove for 9 hours but never saw a single car trying to get in front of another.  Every single driver on the road contributed to the traffic situation and as a result there was no confusion at all.

The best description and summary of what customer service in Japan:


Morning at the supermarket:

At the shopping center I work at, every morning we have a morning ritual (common in Japan) where we stand and recite, “No matter what the situation, I will never show anxiety before my customer; in all customer-facing situations I will treat my customers with respect and do everything I can to make them feel comfortable and at ease”.  Today, these words were all actually kind of touching.  Well, so the day begins!  Here we go people, open shop!


Spirit of unity:

I spoke with an old taxi driver and some elderly staff at the train stations.  All of them had been working non-stop and had not been able to go home for a long time.  They were visibly very tired, but never once did they show any sign of impatience; they were gentle and very caring.  They told me “… because all of us are in this together.”  I was touched at what the notion of “all of us” meant to these elderly people.  It is a value I will treasure and carry on to my generation.


The kindness of strangers:

My colleague at my part time job, wanting to help even just one extra person, wrote a sign saying “I just have a bike, but if you don’t mind hop on!”, rode out on his motorbike, picked up a stranded construction worker and took him all the way to Tokorozawa!  Respect!  I have never felt so strongly that I want to do something helpful for others.


Seeing these tweets, I am suddenly proud of the people from the country I call my second home. I can’t wait to read these to my daughter to show her that kindness, humility and helpful strangers still exist in this world.


  1. After reading all these posts I’m amazed by the spirit of the Japanese people. It is truly a remarkable society. Hope that things will get better for them!



  2. M cousin Janet lived there for three years. Not only did she love Japan for it’s beauty, but she loved the people. She is heart sick that this has happened to “her” country. We are all praying, Grace. We are praying for all those who have died and for those who have been left behind that their minds can find peace once again.



  3. inday last nyt nag chat mi nla kuya and ate vk. grabi na. i cant imagine na ing adto mga storya n kuya sa iyng experiences murag end of the world na gyd. luoy kaau cla ddto inday



  4. Even after a couple of days the world cannot comprehend the gravity of the situation in Japan. Even today, March 15th, there were about 20 earthquakes in Japan. Things get worse by day over there. My best wishes for the people affected by the earthquakes.



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