Maki wrote in her post that some people in Japan are urging “voluntary self-restraint,” during cherry blossom season.
They feel it’s not right for people to have parties while Japan is recovering from a tragedy.
It’s not surprising that some people feel uncomfortable about enjoying life while other people are suffering.
After terrible events such as earthquakes and tsunamis, those who have survived or been unaffected often feel “survivor’s guilt.” This condition is well-understood by psychologists and physicians.
Survivors might feel sad or helpless, or their survival/non-suffering may be a cause of pain.
I think this is especially true when the disaster is close to home, such as in Tohoku.
Although terrible things are happening in the world all the time, we usually don’t know about them or think about them. If we did, life would become unbearably stressful.
It’s important to remember that we as humans have no control over natural disasters like this.
If someone has “survivor’s guilt,” it’s sometimes better for them to stop looking at TV news or newspapers for a while. They can also do constructive activities such as volunteer work or donating money.
In any case, I’m absolutely sure that every single person who has viewed the cherry blossoms this year has seen them quite differently.
It hasn’t been “just another cherry-blossom season.” Rather, we have remembered how lucky we are to be safe and sound, that life is precious, and our minds have been filled with compassionate thoughts for the unfortunate people in Tohoku.
Personal stories of dignity and courage in Tohoku: Here.