Greetings and prayers from Japan on this terrible day. The World Trade Center attacks occurred around 8 pm, Japan time, and there was nothing to do but watch the horror unfold along with everyone else, but in Japanese rather than English. I listened to Japanese interpreters as they parsed the information coming in from CNN and other news sources, wishing I could turn off the Japanese track and hear it in English, and I watched various Japanese experts on “tero” (terrorism) give their opinions as the awful night wore on. Happily, the confused reports of “eleven more planes hijacked” that were being reported on the Japanese news did not turn out to be true.
The Japanese have a great respect for America and the city of New York, and it was the highest point of pride for a Japanese company or bank to have its offices in the famous World Trade Center buildings. There were 31 Japanese firms in the two buildings, including some of the most famous banks and trading firms such as Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank and Fuji Bank, and it’s thought that there were 500 Japanese — office workers, translators, secretaries and investors — in the two buildings. As the events unfolded, the Japanese media did their best to verify when groups from one bank or another were confirmed safe, but it was difficult at best. Japanese chosen for duty at the New York branches of their respective firms were probably exceptional employees who has worked hard to master English so they could have the privilege of working in New York. We pray for the safety of these people, as well as for the safety of all J-List readers in the New York and Washington areas.
Details are still sketchy at this point, but it’s very easy to feel anger over this, the “Pearl Harbor” of our generation. In addition to the lofty goal of “bringing those responsible to justice,” I certainly feel that the political claims of those responsible should be totally forfeit, no matter what they are. Maybe this can be adopted as new political doctorine a result of this tragedy.
It’s a great shock for everyone. My wife has been to many parts of America, including the World Trade Center buildings, and has flown on the American Airlines Boston to Los Angeles flight that was hijacked. Also, I was supposed to go to New York next month to attend an anime convention, but I’ve put those plans on hold. Part of the horror comes from the fact that I fly a lot, and to think that something like this could happen…well, there are no words. Unlike most people in the U.S., I’ve had a night to sleep on this, being 14 hours ahead of California, and I hope you all can experience a more peaceful night than I did.
Good night, and God Bless America.