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Japanese: “We must endure”

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM


Translated from the Japanese, the words mean “we must endure.”

It’s these words the Japanese are using to describe the way they are dealing with the nightmare engulfing their country, according to an edited report by Winnetka native Dan Simon, 30, who has lived in Tokyo for the past three years.

“The Japanese people have responded to the situation with resilience and determination,” said Simon, a journalist who is now working for a public relations company. “They are hanging tough and proud of the way they have responded to the crisis. This is the Japanese way: continue on, do not give up and help each other.

“I live in Tokyo in the middle of the city and I think it’s important to note if this had happened in Chicago or in New York, I think we would have seen rioting and looting.

“But the Japanese people have a different way of doing things, and even though there is panic, they go about their lives in an orderly and polite way. There’s no overturned cars or riot police. It’s something that the Japanese people are very proud of. They’re saying they are very proud to be Japanese right now.”

Simon, a graduate of New Trier High School, has no plans to leave.

“In spite of several moments of panic, and the ever-present desire to flee overseas, I will follow the example of the Japanese and stay put.”

Although Tokyo has been relatively safe, hours after Simon dispatched his message to Sneed, the city was hit by three more aftershocks at 8:30 a.m. Chicago time Tuesday.

“One was a 6.0 on the Richter scale,” said Simon, who’d recently been on his home computer “watching a streaming Internet video of someone with a Geiger counter in nearby Chiba. But I’m not worried about radiation at all. From the information I’ve been receiving, it’s not something to really worry about in Tokyo. There is some panic with people buying food and water — but people are still delivering pizza.

“It has been four days since the giant earthquake. When the quake struck, I was in my office on the top floor of a seven-story building. At first, it felt like the dozens of minor earthquakes I have experienced since moving here.

“I quickly realized, as did my co-workers, that it was no minor thing. I braced myself in a nearby door jam while the rest of my colleagues ducked under their desks. Our building swayed, heavy metal bookshelves and cabinets were knocked over and the walls cracked. We feared it was the “big one” that has been predicted to hit Tokyo for decades.

“On Sunday, I started carrying my passport and cash around with me. As the new week began, many foreigners fled the city. A vegetable vendor near my office said, “Food supplies are still strong from the southern and western parts of Japan. But in the northern areas, things are very difficult. But Tokyo is OK.”

Then he added: “But it does seem surreal, as if the real danger is looming just out of sight.”

Cop shop . . .

Top tip: While the city waits to see who becomes the city’s next top cop, watch for the CPD’s patrol division, which was dramatically reduced by former top cop Jody Weis, to swell in ranks soon — as well as an increase in cops wearing uniforms while patrolling the streets.

I spy . . .

Celebutant Nicole Richie; her husband, Joel Madden, and their two children visited the Chicago Children’s Museum Monday. They showed up about an hour before the museum closed and checked out the Dinosaur Expedition, Big Backyard and Treehouse Trails.

Sneedlings . . .

Happy 76th anniversary wishes to Jack and Alice Schulman. . . . Today’s birthdays: Erik Estrada, 62; Jerry Lewis, 85, and Alexi Gian­noulias, 35, and belated wishes to Steve Bukovac.

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