Charity is…

Hakone is one of my most favorite travel destinations in Japan. You will see how beautiful it is in my facebook photo albums, like Hakone in Red, Hakone motorcycle day trip, or Hakone trip. Hakone is in my home prefecture, and I am proud of it.

It has been about two years and one month since the earthquake and tsunami hit Eastern Japan. Believe or not, there are still piles of debris in the suffered areas, and many of them have been exposed to radiation. Although the level of exposure is very low, those local governments cannot afford to appropriately dispose of the debris. They need help from other local governments. According to a recent Japanese internet article, the town of Hakone decided to accept some of the radiation-exposed debris and safely dispose of them in the town. Now I have a new reason to be proud of Hakone.

The mayor of Hakone described some of the reasons. One of the reasons is that Hakone will most probably be one of stricken areas of an anticipated big earthquake of the region. Anticipated big earthquake? Yes, many researchers expect a big earthquake in the region based on scientific observations, though they cannot tell when it will hit. Another reason is that the economy of Hakone is supported by tourists from all over Japan including the suffered areas in Tohoku (North-East Japan). They help other people because they are helped by others. They help people in a disaster-affected area because they know they will be helped by other people because of a similar disaster in the future.

The Japanese proverb says, “情けは人のためならず” which literary means “charity is not for people”. Some Japanese misunderstand that it means charity is not “good” for others, but this is wrong. It means that charity is not only for other people but also for yourself; if you do something for other people with sympathy, they will do something good for others, and eventually someone else will do something for you in the future.

Now I need help. Have I helped others enough?

April 9, 2013Permalink