My friend had texted me asking if my family was okay. I hadn’t checked the news that morning yet, so I immediately turned on the television. I stood frozen. Despite my little knowledge of Japanese geography, I did realize almost immediately that the area that was hit was not close to where my parents live. But I hadn’t heard from them, so I called. The busy signal rang for next several calls I placed. My parents finally got through, what was probably a barrage of calls trying to get through to/from Japan, a few hours later. While they are not anywhere near the epicenter, they still felt the aftershock for minutes.
My parents love the United States, even though they’ve moved back to Japan. And I love America, too. I mean, I grew up most of my life in this country. But yesterday, I saw that my father posted something on his blog about the earthquake. In the words that he used, it was clear how much love he had for Japan, and I realized, too, the love I hold for the land where I hold my citizenship. Here, we use the phrase, “the resolve of the American people” as if it is unique to this country, but my father talked about “the resolve of the Japanese people.” I sensed a feeling of call for solidarity in my father’s words that reminded me of the words I heard after our 9/11. And I thought about how patriotism is not simply an American concept. Japanese people may not be wearing their country’s colors to show their patriotism, but as I sit and watch the news of the faces of my countrymen, I think that their quiet expressions capture their immense resolve.