Sunday, March 13, 2011

In our rich consumers' civilization we spin cocoons

around ourselves and get possessed by our possessions.
~Max Lerner
It takes only a second for us to realize how quickly "stuff" can be washed away as we watch the images coming in from Japan. Being in retail, it is my business to sell, but sometimes it pays to take a moment to appreciate all that we do have and not dwell on what we don't have.

There is no doubt Japan will recover...the term tsunami comes from the Japanese, meaning "harbor" (tsu, 津) and "wave" (nami, 波). They have endured mother nature's temperamental days as well as man's. At the end of World War II, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers from 1945-1951, led by the United States along with Australia, India, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

When they were occupied, their manufacturing process required them to mark it "occupied; however, despite having to do that, they organized Japan's first ever trade union law protecting the rights of workers to form or join a union, to organize and take industrial action. There had been pre-war attempts to do so, but none were successfully passed until the Allied occupation. Fascinating that we allowed and encouraged that--what a difference 50 years can make.

A new Trade Union law was passed on June 1, 1949, which remains in place to the present day. According to Article 1 of the Act, the purpose of the act is to "elevate the status of workers by promoting their being on equal standing with the employer". There's a thought that would create a business tsunami in this country.

But, whenever something like this happens, it always makes me stop and think...and I know looking at a Japanese collectible will remind me of this time...

It also makes one realize how quickly possessions can be swept away...not to mention lives lost...none of us would trade our possessions for those we love in our lives.

Above all, despite the destruction that the people of Japan are facing and considering that they recovered from the world's worst manmade disaster, I do believe they will face Mother Nature with the same resilience. After all, it is Nippon...the land of the rising sun.

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