There was an article in the paper today by an American who has been living in Sendai for years and recently returned after evacuating with his family. He said that there had been no violence or looting, because that would be “unthinkable”. I found that deeply moving because it’s true. The reasons for it, though, are probably not what most people think. Of course, there’s an element of respect for other people’s property, but there’s also a deeply rooted fear of getting caught. The shame and social stigma attached to that would be more than most could bear. I did hear that someone broke into an abandoned bank and stole a bunch of money, but that’s not really the same thing. There must be some cases of people flipping out, especially the evacuees living side by side in places like school gyms, but people here are very good at pretending they don’t notice when someone loses it.
Things are mostly getting back to normal. There’s a little park next to our house and right after the quake, the sound of kids playing there was comforting. Today there was a group of kids from a local daycare center in the park running around screaming, and that was actually annoying. But yesterday there was an election, and you would hardly know it. Usually, the candidates have sound trucks driving slowly around the neighborhood shouting their names at full volume. “Sato! Sato! Vote for Sato!” There was only a minimum of that. What’s the opposite of “annoying”?