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Japan Book Club: The Big Wave – part 1

July 26, 2011

Yup, that sure is a big wave.

We’re hoping that by now everyone has a copy of The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck.  Buck is a very interesting woman, who lived and wrote in many different areas of the world, so we would recommend reading up a little about her life as well as reading her story.

There are several different editions of The Big Wave, and we hope some of you were lucky enough to find a copy with the beautiful illustrations inside, including the one right here on this page by a fantastic Japanese artist named Hokusai.

In some editions of the book, Buck selected a series of prints from Hokusai and Hiroshige, another artist that created wood cut illustrations.  These pieces of art add a great deal to the story, so if your copy doesn’t have them in it, be sure to Google those two artists to get a taste of their work. 

The reason we selected this book to be the first one we read in our Japanese book club is simple.  It’s a story about, well, a big wave.  We don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out what that might mean in Japan – yup, you got it… tsunami.  We realize that what happened in Japan this past March (tsunami, earthquake, nuclear oopies…) has got some people on edge, so We wanted everyone to read this book and see things from a Japanese point of view.

One of the great things about this book is the art (which you can find online here and here if your book doesn’t have it) and the violent storms that both of these artists depicted way back in the early 1800s.  Then, almost 150 years later, Pearl S. Buck wrote a story about violent storms in Japan.  Then, 70 years after that, we all watched CNN to see images of violent storms and destruction in Japan.  That’s one of the things we want you to understand – Japan has dealt with these things forever.  They’re still there.  They’re not going anywhere.  The deal with it.  They live with it.  They are stronger for it.

The thing this book will help us understand is how.  How do they cope?  How do they move on?  How do they survive and thrive and grow?  I want you to think about those things as you read.

Okay, on to your first assignment.  There are no chapters in this book, and the page numbers may be different for all of us, so we’ll do the best we can to read the same sections.  This time I’ll give everyone until about August 1st to read to about page 12.  Stop when you get to the quote in bold below.  The assignment is after this:

In The Big Wave, Kino’s father says, “Ocean is there and volcano is there.  It is true that on any day ocean may rise into storm and volcano may burst into flame.  We must accept this fact, but without fear.  We must say, ‘Someday I shall die, and does it matter whether it is by ocean or volcano, or whether I grow old and weak?’ —- Do not be afraid.  When you are afraid, you are thinking about them all the time.  Enjoy life and do not fear death-that is the way of a good Japanese.”

Think about the recent tragedies in Japan and try to apply Kino’s father’s words to that situation.  How do you think that way of thinking has helped or hurt Japan?  Could you live your life that way?  How?

Be sure to type out your answers in complete sentences.  Be sure to back up your ideas with some examples, evidence, or proof.  Be sure to check back and see what other people say too.  Be sure to comment on what they say. 

Every student in our Japan group is required to participate.  You must comment on this post with your thoughts (probably a good paragraph or two – maybe more), then, come back and comment on what other people have said – you are required to make an effort to keep the conversation going by replying to at least 2 other students (more than just “I agree” or “you are right.” Give them reasons why you agree/disagree or what they said that was meaningful – make this a discussion). 

The next book we’ll read as a group will be The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Matsuo Basho (you can try to get a copy if you want, but I can email everyone an online copy for free when it’s time.  After that, we’ll read The Old Man Mad About Drawing by Francois Place (so start to try and get yourself a copy of that one soon). 

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115 Comments leave one →
  1. nate zurawski permalink
    July 26, 2011 3:35 pm

    I think that has helped Japan or more the Japanese learn to cope with the land they have chosen to live in. With the earthquakes, volcano, and ocean they found a way to prepare for those disasters, but from recent events, not all of those are the most efficient. I don’t think I would be able to live like that. I try to, but I just can’t. I get scared that I will get swallowed by a fish when I go swimming in a lake or getting attacked by a shark or get stung by a jellyfish or get swept away by a wave when I’m in the ocean. I think like Kino on land there isn’t much to be scared of.

    • July 27, 2011 10:49 am

      Nate – there’s no way to prepare for an earthquake, a tsunami, or a volcano – so how do you think these people live knowing that those things could strike at any moment and there’s nothing they can do?

      • nate zurawski permalink
        July 31, 2011 2:45 pm

        I think they just try to live life to the fullest and when they do get struck by disasters and think they are going to die they will think they at least had a good life.

    • Persephone Allee permalink
      July 27, 2011 2:04 pm

      Something you have to think about is that everywhere you go there will be a possible threat. Here we have tornadoes, other places have hurricanes, and there are more dangers throughout the world. Don’t let those fears consume you. The best thing we can do in those situations is to be prepared.

      • Sydney Bebar permalink
        July 28, 2011 5:41 pm

        I think that to live with that constant fear on your back, you would be too afraid to do much of anything. It is one thing to prepare when the storm actually comes, but to always be preparing and worrying would be to hard on just one person. Imagine if everyone in Illinois was always scared, nobody would do anything therefore hurting our economy even more.

      • July 31, 2011 10:54 pm

        I agree with Sydney to an extent, but I don’t believe that our economy would crash further, our economy is in its current state due to money problems and dept within the powers of out government. This though, is irrelevant, but I do believe that there is no possible way for us to be fully prepared for any event that happens, whether it is a tsunami, or simply tripping on the sidewalk. You can wear a helmet, but that wont stop you from tripping.

      • Jackie Harig permalink
        August 1, 2011 9:45 am

        Being prepared is always good Persephonee. How would you need to prepare for a tornado or hurricane? Do you think some people might over-prepare?

        • Meghan Moreno permalink
          August 1, 2011 7:17 pm

          Yeah, everyone should have a plan to prepare for a disaster, but I don’t think we should spend our whole lives obsessing over it. If you aren’t prepared for what could happen, your pretty much screwed.

    • Blair Tuider permalink
      July 28, 2011 9:04 pm

      There is always a possibility that a disaster might strick, but it is unlikely. No one should live in fear but somtimes fear comes to a person. I dont belive that th Japenese should be afraid of anythiing. Living in fear can distract you, and take you away from more important matters.

      • July 31, 2011 10:49 pm

        If you think about it though, if they were completely leisurely with the threats they face, the damage and death rate would increase drastically because they were not prepared. I agree that they shouldn’t let fear rule their lives, but it should be something kept in mind when you go about your life.

      • Jackie Harig permalink
        August 4, 2011 9:25 am

        Blair- that’s a good point. What comes from worrying too much? We can’t change the inevitable.

    • July 29, 2011 11:30 pm

      Dude, If you lived in Japan, you wouldn’t have to live by the ocean. You could become a moutain man who’d live off the forest and the grocery store down the street. You’d just have to worry about wild bears, wild pigs, and if your high enough Japanese Macaques.
      But when Mother Nature hits, there’s useally no way to be fully prepared.

      • nate zurawski permalink
        July 31, 2011 2:42 pm

        That’s a really good point, but what about the volcanoes if you’re up on a mountain that’s actually a volcano and it erupts then you will die. And earthquakes could cause an avalanche and rocks would crush you and your house.

      • July 31, 2011 7:18 pm

        Oh yeah. Oh in the world did I forget that!
        Well, you could live underground. Then you just have to worry about fall in’s and flooding. But if you made your tunle right from the start, you wouldn’t have to worry about that! Haha!

    • Bobby cortesi permalink
      July 31, 2011 8:26 pm

      Nate- i love to real life connections because it makes sense to be scared in life but i do disagree with the things kino has to be scared of because would you rather get burned to death by a volcano or get stung by a jellyfish which they also do have in japan

      • Bobby cortesi permalink
        July 31, 2011 8:28 pm

        sorry i read incorrectly i do agree with the things to be scared of i thought you meant things your scared of

  2. Lindsey Quirk permalink
    July 26, 2011 4:20 pm

    I think it has helped Japan because they are excepting where they live and dealing with it. They are getting used to the fact that they do have all of these natural disasters and that they need to expect them and get used to them. I think it would be really hard to live like that, constantly in fear of storms and fires. I know i hate all kinds of storms, and if i get scared of a little thunderstorm i don’t think there is any way that i could live somewhere with major kinds of storms. I can’t even step foot in an ocean because i’m terrified of sharks.

    • July 27, 2011 10:50 am

      Lindsey – Good points. How do you think someone just accepts it though? If you can’t get used to storms that pop up every once in a while, how can these people go around knowing there could be another tsunami and not be afraid?

      • Lindsey Quirk permalink
        July 31, 2011 10:55 am

        i think they can accept and not be scared of it because they can prepare for it and know that they can do their best to try protect themselves from them. the worst kind of storms we get are nothing to what they would get. i don’t necessarily think that they aren’t afraid of these storms at all but they can prepare for them.

    • Persephone Allee permalink
      July 27, 2011 3:56 pm

      I don’t think you can ever “get used to” a disaster such as a tsunami. The best you can do is be prepared. In the book, Kino’s father lives on a hill where he knows he will be safe from the tsunami. Here, we have basements and cellars for tornadoes and make escape plans in case of an emergency. I agree with the fact that they are learning to deal with the surroundings but I don’t think it is in anyway easy when a disaster happens.

      • Lindsey Quirk permalink
        July 31, 2011 10:57 am

        i dont think it is that easy for them to not be scared of these storms either but they do learn to except them and prepare for them.

    • Sydney Bebar permalink
      July 28, 2011 5:36 pm

      I dont think that it is possible to expect disasters, you just have to be ready when they do come. Yes, you could check the weather, but no matter how much time you have you will never think it is enough. Also, if you are ready to expect the fact that a disaster could come out of nowhere, how could you possible live your life, holding your head high if you are always thinking about being prepared.

      • Tyler Pearson permalink
        February 19, 2012 1:48 pm

        I agree sydney. You cant really expect disasters at all, you just really have to prepare

        • Tyler Pearson permalink
          February 19, 2012 1:51 pm

          This was supposed to go on the last comment. …for it and hope for the best. You just really spend all your time preparing.

    • Blair Tuider permalink
      July 28, 2011 8:55 pm

      I dont think that people should just “get used to” disasters. People should be ready for them, and understand its part of life. They should not live in fear of disasters, but to always be prepared for them. You dont expect disasters but you should watch the news in case of such a disaster.

      • Alyssa Gue permalink
        July 30, 2011 7:22 pm

        Thats so true Blair, you can’t really expect a disaster, but when they do come, you have to push through and realize that this is life.

      • Lindsey Quirk permalink
        July 31, 2011 11:01 am

        i think we have lots of important and good ways to prepare for disasters and i think that we defiantly should keep track of the weather and that everyone should have a basement or a safe room in their house where they can stay safe from storms.

    • Ben Trouvais permalink
      July 30, 2011 9:47 pm

      See, here’s the thing: a disaster is a disaster for a reason . You can’t just get used to it. It’s not like a little storm or a fire, disasters can very well be life-ending. You can be as prepared as you want but they are unexpected and devestating. You’ll let preparing take over your life. Also if the Japanese people “deal with it” why don’t they move away were they won’t be in the constant path of disasters?

      • July 31, 2011 10:46 pm

        I don’t think they can simply “move away”, they have history and memories there, its like me telling you to leave everything you know behind. Japan was, and still is, aware of the dangers of living in the area they do. They had many precautions for earthquakes and kept a very watchful eye on tsunami threats. Even though they were ready for it, they could have never known the exact events that would occur.

      • Drew Burjek permalink
        August 1, 2011 4:47 pm

        Ben, you are right, a disaster is a disaster. But there are disasters happening everywhere everyday. And they can’t just move away. It’s difficult to leave your home land and everybody you know. You would never want to move away from your friends and have to learn to live in a new place, would you?

    • tyler webber permalink
      July 31, 2011 11:10 pm

      I dont think that they move away because they love their island and are willing to cope with the natural disasters that happen to come upon their home .

  3. Persephone Allee permalink
    July 26, 2011 4:39 pm

    Kino’s father made the point that someday everyone will die. Whether it be from natural causes or something other we don’t know. I would think that it has helped Japan, making them realize, as well as everyone else around them, that death is not something to be afraid of. I’m not saying that you should expect it to happen every time you do something but I do believe that everyone should live life to its fullest.
    For myself, I know I wouldn’t want to live constantly with fear because that is no life at all. I have plenty of fears but I don’t let it consume me. If the way the Japanese live is by getting the full experience of life than I would have no problem with it. I have accepted that I will die as well as others but I don’t plan on that alone to influence my decision on how to live.

    • July 27, 2011 10:52 am

      Excellent way of looking at things Persephone. How do you think Kino’s father (and other Japanese people) can look at life like that? What’s the difference between him (them) and people here in America who seem much more afraid of dying?

      • Persephone Allee permalink
        July 27, 2011 3:07 pm

        Their culture is based strongly on their religious beliefs and living life to the fullest is part of it. Our ideas of that vary. Here in America we think of partying but there they see things differently. They want to be successful as well as having strong family bonds.
        In America, as a whole we aren’t as strongly religious as Japan. We fear death because we don’t know what is going to happen. That can be a problem because we like certainty. We fear the unknown. Japan on the other hand is willing to go on faith.

    • Lyssette Bedolla permalink
      July 28, 2011 7:18 pm

      I agree with “living life to its fullest.”
      Living your whole life in fear of what comes naturally like death is no way to live at all.

    • Jake Fabian permalink
      July 31, 2011 11:57 am

      I agree with Persephone. Everyone is going to die sometime or another, it’s just nature it happens. But what isn’t part of nature is living and accepting fear. And us as a race in general need to overcome this “plague” called fear and not let it consume us.

    • July 31, 2011 7:23 pm

      Yesh. Life should be always lived to the fullest. If you don’t, you’ll be 80 before you know it and be disapointed about what you didn’t do with life.

  4. Sydney Bebar permalink
    July 27, 2011 11:24 am

    I think this type of thinking has helped Japan. As Kino’s father said, “Enjoy life and do not fear death- that is the way of a good japanese.” Since you can not prevent or prepare for a tsunami, volcanic eruption, or an earthquake, you should just try to forget about it and live your life. When a disaster comes you should just try to find safety as quickly as possible.

    I don’t think I could live someplace like that where a disaster could come randomly. Even if you do try to ignore the fact that you are almost always in danger, there is always a little part of you that is always scared. Here, yes we get tornados, but at least we have a few minutes to prepare for the worst of it. Places like Japan can’t have a warning for an earthquake, volcanic eruption, or tsunami, giving you barely any time to brace yourself or get somewhere safe before it hits you. I can accept that I will eventually die, and I’m not scared of how it happens, but I wouldn’t be able to live with the constant fear on my back of possibly dying everyday.

    • July 28, 2011 11:54 am

      Sydney – what about car accidents? A car accident may not be as big an event as a tsunami/earthquake, but every time you get in the car, there’s a chance that some dummy in a different car could hurt you and your family. Do you worry about that every time you’re in a car? Is that a similar idea?

      • Sydney Bebar permalink
        July 28, 2011 5:38 pm

        It is a similar idea, but on a smaller scale. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, it can do great damage on a few people but not as much of damage that a tsunami could do.

    • Lyssette Bedolla permalink
      July 28, 2011 7:06 pm

      I disagree about the “forgetting” part I think we should all take into consideration what can happen in life. In some cases we should take pre caution because we never know when disaster strikes, but we should never let the pre caution we take consume our lives.

      • July 28, 2011 7:40 pm

        Lyssette – Very well said. I like the way you worded that – “We should never let the precaution we take consume our lives.” The big question though, is how do we avoid doing that? Many people live in constant fear of bad things happening. How are the Japanese people able to set that aside?

    • Shane Chetney permalink
      July 31, 2011 10:27 pm

      i agree with sydney the Japanese people should try to forget about the disasters and live their life

  5. Ben Trouvais permalink
    July 27, 2011 2:45 pm

    The way that Kino’s father thinks about death helps everybody. People in Japan have accepted the fact they need to cope with their surroundings. They enjoy their lives and don’t let death get in the way. This is what Kino’s father says to Kino. Because Japan is faced with multiple kinds of dangers its hard to prepare for them. They can strike at anytime. People have been living with that fact for thousands of years. But why do they stay there? As Kino’s father says you need to live life to the fullest. You cannot let fears consume you. Living in the face of danger says, “I don’t care if I’m risking my life. I care about living my life they way I want to.” This is what enables the Japanese people to be strong after disasters. They do not let one single nuclear meltdown or tsunami keep them from doing what they want.
    I do believe that I could life the way Kino does. I could live with the fact that danger could strike at anytime. Let’s keep in mind that the mid-west has disasters of its own. I, like the Japanese people have learned to cope with such disasters. I don’t let that idea get in the way of how I live.

    • July 29, 2011 11:38 pm

      *Living in the face of danger says, “I don’t care if I’m risking my life. I care about living my life they way I want to.”*
      So true. It reminds me of the time I climbed a tree that hung over a creek (wasn’t that far and the creek was shallow). then I jump off it onto land and got me friend to do it too. It was fun. And some people would call us crazy for doing it, but we “care about living” our “life the way” we “want to.”
      Yeah. If you let death get in the way of life, there would be no life. Just saddness and drakness.

    • Jake Fabian permalink
      July 31, 2011 11:52 am

      I really liked the relation of Japan’s dangers to the dangers that surround us living in the midwest. It not much different other than the type of disaster itself. As you said, “we justneed to cope with our surroundings”.

    • Cj Moody permalink
      October 27, 2011 6:54 pm

      Ben, i agree with you… But it can hurt people to it was a great wakeup call for the people that were just free living, not even paying attention to their surroundings.

  6. Ben Trouvais permalink
    July 27, 2011 5:23 pm

    Kino’s father says that everybody will eventually die. The people of Japan have to live with the threat of multiple natural disasters every day. When you apply what Kino’s father said to the events that are happening now it can supply alot of hope. It is very difficult or even impossible to prepare for a disaster that can happen at anytime and that can be life-ending. Then why do people still live in Japan where they face constant threat everyday? They stay there because they do not fear death. They do not fear a tsunami or volcanic eruption. Why? Because they live through it everyday. In the mid-west we face lightning storms, tornadoes, and even floods. We, of course, don’t fear these as much as we could. In Japan they face similar threats everyday. They do not fear these and let them consume their life. Instead they live their lives to the fullest. They know that at anytime a tsunami could come and kill thousands. They get used to the fact the same way we get used to storms in America.
    I think I could live with the constant fear. Sure I would be scared about things like this, but I would persevere knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel. That said, I do not fear death but instead I see it as a part of every person’s life. The thought of it helps them mature and grow.

    • July 28, 2011 11:52 am

      Well said Ben. What kind of lesson do you think Westerners could take from this mentality?

      • Ben Trouvais permalink
        July 29, 2011 11:35 am

        I believe that Westerners could learn the same as the Japanese people have. We, as America, could reduce the amount of focus we are putting on what may happen in the future. We could start to focus more and more about what’s happening now. Therefore, our way of life would be changed completely. Perhaps some Americans would have a relief in stress not focused on when that report needs to be submitted, but instead enjoying time with their families and friends.

    • Kamil Czaplinski permalink
      July 31, 2011 10:33 pm

      I agree, I wouldn’t let something that, you don’t even know when or where can happen affect how I live my life. Yes I could leave the house and get shot immediately, and it is a scary thing to think about, but what are the chances of that actually happening? They are very little. That doesn’t stop me from leaving my house. Yes, I do know that we are mainly talking about natural disasters, but death is death, no matter what “form” it comes in.
      I don’t want a thought like that to ruin my life, and like most people on this earth, I too want to live life to its fullest, because life honestly has a lot to offer.

  7. Blair Tuider permalink
    July 28, 2011 7:43 pm

    I believe that the Japanese people cope with disasters is to accept that tragity is a part of life, and if you don’t accept it life will never return to its natural self. They move on by understanding that there are always going to be bumps in life, but as I said before it is a part of life. People have always lived with fear, and if you don’t embrace it, fear will be always be on your mind. You need to prepare and be ready for disaster at any time. Live life normally and when disaster stricks your ready for it. When it is over look back at what you did to prepare yourself in case any future disasters.

    • July 28, 2011 7:51 pm

      Blair – How do you set that aside? How do you ignore fear? That’s the big question that makes the Japanese people different from us in this story (and maybe in real life).

      • Blair Tuider permalink
        July 28, 2011 8:28 pm

        Fear is a part of life, but if you dwell on it life will never be normal. You set aside fear by not letting be a big part of your normal life. Fear will always be there, but you could not let it control your daily life.Concentrate on the better things life has to offer.

  8. Blair Tuider permalink
    July 28, 2011 8:14 pm

    Kino’s father’s way of thinking has help Japan because it helped them by understanding that disasters are a part of life that everyone goes through at some point,and you should not be afraid. I could live by not being afraid because death happens at some point somtimes sooner to some than others. Death is somthing that no one should be afraid because everyone experiences it at some point. You should enjoy life without fear of the unknown.Life throughs alot of challenges yoour way, but this quote helps you understand that it is a part of life that we all deal with daily and differntley.

    • tyler webber permalink
      July 31, 2011 11:07 pm

      I agree with you Blair , everyone should live life without the fear of death . If the japanese were afraid then they wouldnt have been able to do everything that they have done today .

  9. Hannah Schram permalink
    July 28, 2011 10:14 pm

    Kino’s father’s way of thinking strongly helps Japan. Basically, anywhere you live, there will be in danger. We all have to except this fact and just enjoy life just like Kino’s father stated. If we all lived in fear our whole lives, then life wouldnt be as pleasureful. Recently, Japan got hit with an earthquake/tsunami and there is really no way to be prepared when something like this is going to hit again. Therefore, Kino’s father said “Enjoy life and do not fear death.” Kino, his father, and other people of Japan can all live to cope like this by excepting where they live and that danger is all around them. They should think about if they really want to let fear get in the way of the most great things in their life. If some disaster were to come along, the only hope is to get to safety quickly.
    I believe that Kino’s father is absolutely right. Of course I would get scared at times, but I wouldnt let fear control my life. We will all die someday, but thinking long and hard about it will only bring you down. Many people in Japan still do live with this fear as others dont even let a tsunami or power plant explosion prevent them from living their life. Even people in America fear death but these disasters are natural. Nobody should have to hide in fear their whole life because life is stronger than death.

    • July 29, 2011 1:47 pm

      Hannah – You are right, no one should have to hid in fear, but many people still do. How is it that the Japanese people can face so many disasters and never know when they’re coming, yet they don’t live in fear nearly as much as we do over here in America???

    • Giavonna Peaden permalink
      July 31, 2011 9:45 pm

      Hannah is right, anywhere you live, there will be danger, whether its power lines, dangerous, ferocious bears in your backyard, or even simple plug outlets in the wall. Not everywhere will be safe. You can’t hide in fear your whole life, because it leads to living unhealthy. I really like how Hannah states that of course people are gonna be scared but you can’t let fear ruin your life.

    • Mark Burjek permalink
      August 1, 2011 5:21 pm

      I think that in america we feel like everything is a huge threat, therefore we act like it’s the worst thing that can happen. But we don’t realize that many foreign countries are facing events much worse than us, and hopefully looking at those will toughen us up.

      • Jacob Kosinski permalink
        August 1, 2011 10:42 pm

        I agree with you but not all of America has faced a trajedy that is severe. For people that live in constant danger, like in japan, learn to live with it because it is part of their daily lives.

  10. Bobby cortesi permalink
    July 29, 2011 3:22 pm

    i think that way of thinking helps the Japanese get through tough times and helps them keep hope in all they do because whether they want it to happen or not you can not control it. i could live like that because most of us have to wondering if you will die tomorrow. its an uncontrollable factor

  11. Jessica Sherwin permalink
    July 29, 2011 10:50 pm

    Kino’s father’s words and how he thinks helps Japan greatly. Everywhere you may be there is danger, and that is why people shouldn’t live in fear. Though fear is part of life, people shouldn’t “hide” but look it in the “eye” and learn from it and be prepared. Like Kino”s father, he knows that anything could happen in the water or on the land, but still lives to the fullest since it’s part of life as well as death. I wouldn’t know if I could live like that, because it’s like saying you would know what to do if someone broke in your house: “I would try to beat them up!” or something along those lines, but since you haven’t ever experienced it you wouldn’t know if you do that or not. That’s probably why his father and others are so different from American and other people who are afraid of dying; they might’ve or not experienced it, but they have realized that if you don’t pay attention to more important things than fear, they would regret never doing anything with their lives when they had a time. Like the saying goes, “time waits for no one.”

    (I won’t be able to comment back quickly since I’ll be gone for a week starting tomorrow, so I’ll reply and comment as soon as I possibly can when i get back.)

    • July 30, 2011 9:58 am

      Jessica – very nice. You’re the first person to explain how you can plan all you want to do things a certain way if something happens, but you never know how you’ll react until a situation actually occurs.

    • July 31, 2011 11:18 pm

      i agree with not living in fear, because if u live in fear throughout your life you might not know what to do when it comes to something bad, just knowing that you are afraid of what has happened or what might happen, might cause something dangerous to occur if not knowing what to do during the situation.

      • Jessica Sherwin permalink
        August 10, 2011 4:01 pm

        Yes, I just hope that people throughout the world could one day understand that, and maybe it would somehow make more people believe in not living in fear their whole lives.

  12. July 29, 2011 11:14 pm

    Kino’s dad is a smart man… If you live in Japan, yes you are faced with many ways to die due to Natural Distaters. Yes, you can live in fear and lose focus on some of life’s other emotions. But yes, you can choose to face it and move on with life. To me, I think it’s good for Japan to here that. It helps them cope with the sadness and trouble Mother Nature has cause them. Also, it’s much more optimistic thinking, I think. It’s just like I say/think: “Dude, if God wants me to go today. I’ll go today.” Plus, the people who live in Japan choose to live there, by valacones, oceaness, and earthquakeable land.
    Yeah. I could live in Japan. And according to the Magic 8 Ball, Me and my friend will be neighboors in Japan. Besides Magic 8 Ball proof, I just have to get past a toldder level of Japanese if I choose to live there. I don’t care if I were to go threw bad earthquake or a tsunami. No duh’ it would be scary, but Mother Nature made me and she can distroies me.
    This quote also reminds me of a movie I watched not to long ago, by Studio Ghibli of chorse! Tales from Earthsea was the name of it. It was about living in fear and not wanting to die… It was good, but also kind of weird.
    Here’s a good quote that relates to this book strangly…
    Haitaka: Now listen to me, Aaren: No man nor any living thing in this world preserves their life forever. But only to men is it given to know that we must die, and that is a precious gift. This life that is both our torment and our treasure was never meant to endure for eternity. Life is a wave on the sea. Would you force the sea to grow still to save one wave? To save yourself?

    • Ben Trouvais permalink
      July 30, 2011 9:39 pm

      I like the fact that you state, “Mother Nature made me and she can destroy me.” To me that is a sort of in your face sort of thing, but it’s also simple and easy to understand. It makes perfect sense seeing that anything that is made can, in turn, be destroyed. It is the circle of life and everyone of us must obey it. The fact that you were able to connect it to a movie really stood out. The fact that this is a reaccuring subject throughout different kinds or literature shows that it’s a big part in everyone’s life.

    • Bobby cortesi permalink
      July 31, 2011 8:19 pm

      i do like the fact that you state about Japanese people living in japan making the choice to stay there in japan even after disasters and natural occurrences

      • July 31, 2011 8:48 pm

        Mhm. Thanks. They could find a keep boat to China if they wanted to ever move. Or if they had more money, they could move here or go to another part of Asia.

    • Drew Burjek permalink
      August 1, 2011 5:13 pm

      “Mother nature made me and she can destroy me.” Bravo. And you are right, living in fear stops you from admiring the great things in life. to answer your question, I could not stop the sea, i will need to help myself in life and I will not let fear stand in my way.

  13. Lyssette Bedolla permalink
    July 30, 2011 7:05 pm

    “On any day ocean may rise into storm and volcano may burst into flame. We must accept this fact, but without fear.” This way of thinking has indeed helped Japan. It helps them progress with their lives. Living your life with the fear of losing your life at any given moment keeps you away from things of more importance. Things like family can easily be set aside by this fear. Even if you have no family everyone has to try and live without this fear, it is a way of life.
    Could I live my life like this? Of course I live it like this everyday. I know that on each and everyday could possibly be my last. Thought it is not likely it does happen. It happens to a lot of people. It is tragic but, it happens to everyone in the end. So there is really no reason people should go through extremes to protect it.

    • Alyssa Gue permalink
      July 30, 2011 7:20 pm

      I completely agree with you Lyssette, we have to live life to the fullest and not worry about what could happen tomorrow, because it takes away from today.

  14. Alyssa Gue permalink
    July 30, 2011 7:18 pm

    Kino’s father is certainly a wise man, we all face death, because its inevitable. The recent earthquakes and tsunami in Japan ended many lives, but those remaining are still moving forward, knowing that tradgedy can strike again when they least expect it. Yet they continue rebuilding, and living their lives and enjoying it as much as they can, because you never know when tradgedy will strike you.

    • July 31, 2011 4:06 pm

      Alyssa – Could you live like that?

    • July 31, 2011 7:33 pm

      Oh yeah… That’s right… They could even have another earthqauke. Maybe even on today! But’s that’s not too optimistic!

  15. Jake Fabian permalink
    July 31, 2011 11:44 am

    Recently in Japan tragedy has occurred as there have been two earthquakes; both of significant damage. Right now Japan is in troubled times. Kino’s father’s words have probably helped greatly by giving the Japanese citizens a way to go on with normal life and not to fear death and worry when or how death will come upon them. However, there is another side to these words. By not worrying about all that can happen they may have not been prepared for what nature can do. By thinking that way the Japanese government is endangering and jeopardizing the lives of their citizens. So there is a good and a bad to this way of living.
    Personally I couldn’t live my life like that with all of the bad things that have happened because that basically means it’s bound to happen again. I would be too worried.

    • July 31, 2011 4:07 pm

      Jake – do you think that’s the case? Do you think the Japanese people don’t worry enough, so much that they’re not prepared for a disaster?

    • Jacob Kosinski permalink
      August 1, 2011 10:30 pm

      I think that no matter how much you prepare, you will never really be ready for a disaster, you can only embrace what happens and move on.

    • Kayla Besterfield permalink
      August 7, 2011 9:52 pm

      I do agree that people wouldnt be prepared for nature can do if the arent worried about anything in life. If they arent prepared, they may ot be able to survive anything that is coming their way.

  16. Zachary Ciko permalink
    July 31, 2011 5:28 pm

    I think the words in the book help people move on. Like in the recent disaster in japan, many people were lost but the survivors must move on other wise their society would crumble because of the fear of having another disaster. like Kino’s father said we must learn to live with danger such as disasters or even on a smaller scale thin such as a car accident. if we didn’t learn how to live with fear we wouldn’t have all of the things we have today.
    Due to us adapting through our fears we have the society we have today. Since we have wise people that think like Kino’s dad and are able to think that way.

  17. Bobby cortesi permalink
    July 31, 2011 8:10 pm

    Like zach said eventually everyone has to move on. they cope with the fact by staying focused in what they already do in their everyday life as kinos father said about jiya and his loss.”just as he lived with them alive , he will live with them dead. someday he will accept their death as pat of his life. he will weep no more.” They survive and grow by keeping hope and accepting fate.
    The way japan and their people think has greatly helped them in keeping hope and their way of life. As kino’s father said that eventually everyone dies whether its by a volcano,tsunami, or growing old and weak we will all die and it apply s to the situation because in the book and in this recent tragedy people in japan die but dont lose hope and cant stop their daily lives because of one occurrence

  18. Shane Chetney permalink
    July 31, 2011 8:25 pm

    I think that living and thinking that way has helped Japan in many ways. If people didnt have to worry everyday about death they wouldnt live there life to the fulliest. By the Japanese living there life to the fulliest so many things have been accomplished. The success
    that they have is what made there economy what it is today. I could not live my life thinking I could die at any possible moment. I would be scared as a person to live like that. If you live your life in fear, then you’re not really living at all.

    • Giavonna Peaden permalink
      July 31, 2011 9:40 pm

      I agree with Shane, because if you live your life stressed out and scared of everything, you will definately be able to enjoy the better more positive things in life. And Japan has had a lot of success in the past years.

    • July 31, 2011 11:01 pm

      I don’t think that they are necessarily living their lives in fear, I think that they just accept that they may fall victim to a natural disaster, such as a volcanic eruption, or a tsunami. They just come to terms with the threat, and keep it in mind that they can die from this threat. It is the same situation with living in Illinois, we have constant tornado threats, but we don’t let that stop us from living our lives how we see fit.

  19. July 31, 2011 9:13 pm

    Well, Japan has been quite successful. They’ve made many successful TV shows, movies, foods, charaters, and stories. Those shows have became so successful that they’ve cam over here. These are the things like sushi, white rice (yummies), Nintendo, Hello Kitty, and Sprited Away.

  20. Giavonna Peaden permalink
    July 31, 2011 9:38 pm

    They way Kino’s father thinks has definately both helped and hurt Japan.He knows much about life, and he is very wise. The way that this type of thinking has helped people in Japan, is thinking that someday they will die, and someday the Earth will turn on them, prepares them. It prepares the people for what might come in the future. The people in Japan have learned to go with life, they have learned that whatever they do, not everything will be perfect. And they know this, because they tell their selves that they shouldn’t be afraid of death. The Tsunami relates to how Kino’s father said that “the ocean will someday rise into a storm.” I don’t think that now I could live knowing that someday I will die, and the waters will rise, and volcanoes will erupt, or that I shouldn’t be afraid of death. But I know that when I grow old and become wiser, I will definately be able to tell myself that I can’t be afraid of death, and not everything is safe.

    • Elise Vice permalink
      August 2, 2011 7:22 pm

      That is so true, as you grow older you become more, and more aware of death.. yet less afraid.

    • Tyler Pearson permalink
      August 7, 2011 3:10 pm

      Death may be inevitable, but the japanese have never let these people down, even if death was the only way out.

  21. Kamil Czaplinski permalink
    July 31, 2011 10:07 pm

    I think that what Kino’s father says is a key to learning to live through and with tragedies. We all know that we are at risk of getting hit by a tornado, and we learn to live with those things. Even though it does get scary at the time being of the tragedy, at least one person has to keep strong, because that one person will eventually cause more people to follow and think the same. Such as Kino’s father being so positive and fearful, eventually it will spread like a disease and have others start to think the same. This would lead into a group of people working towards restoring the damage that has been done, mostly physically but a bit emotionally as well. It will make those people who lost someone, feel like they aren’t alone and that they can get through this small crisis, small chapter in their lives.
    What Kino’s father said was VERY positive, and if you were to ask me, I would say that if you stay positive, eventually that positiveness will turn into something very good. Positivity is one of the biggest things that got Japan back into such a good condition, after the hurricane and earthquake tragedy that happened. Without the positivity, everybody would still be sitting, crying over what had happened. Nothing would have gotten accomplished.
    Yes, it is true that people defiantly did lose family and friends, but those people eventually move on, whether it is in a day, a month or even a couple of years, everybody will forget about, not for good, but they will move on, because life gets better.

    I honestly do think that I could live with all of that fear in my life.I wouldn’t let it get to me, because we live everyday of our lives, having the chance of somehow getting killed. I want to live life to the fullest, and not let death get to me, because, like Kino’s father said, everybody will die someday.

  22. July 31, 2011 10:38 pm

    After reading the assignment, I see that Kino’s family and friends cope by simply knowing that they will ultimately die, and it does not matter how the events unfold, they are meant to die that given way. I see this as making the best of the situation, and carrying on with life’s necessities, and am impressed that they seem to be able to swallow the dangers of how they live. I for one would enjoy living by the sea, but the volcano would cause me to be very anxious. I would most likely spend more time my the sea and try not to think about the constant threat of both the volcano and possible tsunamis/floods. I think I have a hidden respect for how they live, and they seem to do whatever it takes to make a living for themselves and their families.

    • Mark Burjek permalink
      August 1, 2011 5:14 pm

      I definitely agree with Jackie in a sense that I am very impressed by the Japanese and how they aren’t afraid. They forget about ‘what might happen’ and keep on pushing strong.

  23. Alexis Sibley permalink
    July 31, 2011 11:03 pm

    I think that living like that has helped the Japanese in many ways. One of them being that they are accustomed to living with no fear or worries about when they will die. Another way is that they have kept their beliefs and traditions through many centuries. The Japanese really get to live their lives to the fullest because they really don’t know when it will be there last day. I don’t think I could live like the Japanese. I couldn’t live without fear, because I wouldn’t know my limits. If I don’t even like little storms then i could last through a tsunami. Even though someday we will all die, I am scared to die. But I am ready, but not as ready as the Japanese. Some things may put someone in fear, but that same thing might not put someone else in fear. It just depends on your lifestyle and where you live and how you live your life.

  24. tyler webber permalink
    July 31, 2011 11:03 pm

    Recently there have been many trageties in Japan , such as , earthquakes , tsunamis’ , and nueclear problems . Kino’s father makes a point and says to live your life to your fullest and to not be terrified of the things that could happen in your life . This could have helped Japan by being open minded and not being so negative , but this also could have harmed Japan by possibly not have been prepared when they actually knew when there could be a disaster happening . I dont think that i would be able to live my life this way because i have many fears . It seems like a very stress way of life and i would love to be able to experience life with no fears .

  25. July 31, 2011 11:05 pm

    Japan and other countries even states have had many different tragedies.
    For them having to think about these things happening to them again is probably very hard. It’s not easy for someone to live their life knowing that hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and even tsunamis, may occur at any time of the day. Japan has had many other disasters before, but they have to over come those things in life by moving on.
    I can live my life this way only knowing that i already do. I have to think about the things that might happen like a tornado during a thunderstorm because it looks very bad out. Living like that is hard just knowing that those disasters may occur here in Minooka that have already happened in Japan. We don’t know what might happen to us today or even the day after and we can’t prepare ourselves for it because we don’t know it, so we have to think positive about it.

  26. August 1, 2011 8:37 am

    I think this way of thinking has helped Japan to not be afraid. Like Kino’s father says, if you live your life being afraid of dying, your not going to enjoy your life. I can not live my life that way because I wouldn’t enjoy living. One thing I learned about myself is that, I love taking a chance.

  27. Elise Vice permalink
    August 1, 2011 11:54 am

    With all that is, and has been going on in Japan, I think that Kino’s father is helping. The Japanese know that at any given time, something could happen that could be deadly. They shouldn’t have to live in fear of death, yet they shouldn’t greet it with open arms. Some people live by Kino’s father’s words. There is no way of knowing when and where a natural disaster could occur, so there is absolutely no warning. The people that do not fear death have my complete respect, because of their bravery and ability to know that they have lived their life, and die happily with what they have lived, and not what could have been. I could, and try to live my life this way, it’s hard, but in the end is always worth it.

    • August 1, 2011 3:27 pm

      Elise i agree with “you shouldn’t have to live in fear of death”, because that means you would have to do that every single day knowing that at any time of the day something tragic could happen to you or someone else.

    • Meghan Moreno permalink
      August 1, 2011 7:26 pm

      I like how you said that they shouldn’t live in fear of death, yet they shouldn’t greet it with open arms. It’s so true. People who live in fear will just live a crappy life. They should push it aside and enjoy life.
      P.s. I love you. :3

  28. Drew Burjek permalink
    August 1, 2011 4:41 pm

    I think Kino’s fathers words help explain the natural disasters that Japan has to cope with. There is no way of knowing when they may come, but people should always be prepared for anything that could possibly happen. It is not easy to know that you could die anyday or your home can be destroyed at anytime. But, if you are afraid, it makes it harder to live like that. I probably could live like that, simply because I already do. We live in the part of the U.S. called tornado alley and we can be attacked anytime without knowing it. It may be harder for the japanese, though, as they do live on an island where hurricanes and lava flows can occur.

  29. Mark Burjek permalink
    August 1, 2011 5:09 pm

    Japan has been through a lot recently, but they’ve had an attitude just like Kino’s father. They know that they can get through it as long as they look on the bright side and help each other in any situation. Without this attitude, their country would be struggling to stay in shape. Anybody can do this if they try hard always stay positive. No one knows when these situations might occur, but living by these words can help make sure your not afraid when they do. Yeah, it’d definitely be hard to live this way, especially because I’m not always completely positive. But if I had to, I definitely live by these words and help get my country and myself back in shape.

  30. Kevin Wilson permalink
    August 1, 2011 5:10 pm

    I think Kino’s father is a wise man saying that you will die and that you should not fear death. i also think that you should not fear death because it is some thing that can not be stoped there is a day in every ones life were they will die. death is not a bad thing with out death we would have nothing to live for because we would have all the time in the world to do what ever we wanted. and kino’s dad said that it dosen’t mater how we die, i just think it maters what we do in are life before we die.

  31. Meghan Moreno permalink
    August 1, 2011 7:09 pm

    There are a lot of dangerous events that can occur at almost anytime, but we shouldn’t live our whole lives in fear. It keeps us from doing activities and things that we all love to do everyday. If everyone in this world was afraid to go swim in the ocean because they thought it would be “angry” then we would all miss out on swimming and having “fun in the sun.” No one should always live in constant fear of the world. Enjoy life and the good side of nature. Fear will always be there. It will never leave, but you don’t have to make fear your life. Live life to the fullest, so that way when it’s your time to die, you will know that you have lived a full and happy life without fear overcoming you. The devastating occurance that happened in Japan left many people in fear. The people in Japan always lived in fear of tsunamis and Kino’s father’s words can really help everyone in Japan. Him explaining that you should not think of death and to live a happy and forfilled life can decrease all of the fear. Thinking about death is something you should never think about often. It just means you are living in fear. So the people in Japan should stop worrying and stop being scared because we all know it isn’t fun being scared. They should put it in the past and move on with their lives. They should keep doing fun things and having a good time living. So just put the fear aside and listen to Kino’s father’s words of wisdom. They can really help Japan in this difficult time. I know it could still be scary though, and that’s why it would be hard for me to live that way. I guess i can’t even take my own advise. But if it where we living in Japan, i would still have some fearfullness. After a while I would learn to put it in the past because fear is something that i wouldn’t want to have controling my life.

    • Elise Vice permalink
      August 2, 2011 7:20 pm

      I completely agree with you Meghan, fear should never control anyone’s life… Although things may come to you as scary, fear should never be brought to mind.

  32. Kevin Wilson permalink
    August 1, 2011 9:31 pm

    japan has faced some strefull and dangerus times. what kino’s dad said i think would fit for every one any were at any time, and people need to not worry about when they are going to die. people need to have fun and enjoy there life while they have it. to live my life like this would be easy for me and it would be worth it completely. Alot of people live there life in fear and they don’t do any thing were they might get hurt even if it will be fun once they learn how to do what they are trying to do.

  33. Jacob Kosinski permalink
    August 1, 2011 9:51 pm

    I think this thinking has helped Japan. You can enjoy life by accepting that death is part of life. When people live their lives without fear it creates a balanece, like Ying and Yang.

    Its a cycle and this type of thinking truly allows people to be part of it. If everyone in Japan was afraid of dying, where would they be now? To live with constant fear isnt living, but to live without any fear is messed up and will get you killed.

    If I was in Japan and faced these threats every day, I wouldent be able to live without fearing death. But after a while I might realize that if I dont fear death, it can give me freedom, and a new way of life.

  34. Tyler Pearson permalink
    August 7, 2011 3:04 pm

    This paragraph basically says that ‘to not fear death, but if you do, it will always be with you, no matter what.’ This saying probably allowed kamikaze soldiers to dive-bomb on enemy ships and troops, and also gave the legendary samurai to fight without a much as a single mill ounce of fear in them. This made any Japanese soldier work far more efficiently and fight at full strength, even when injured (another word for this is “Bushido”).Death is inevitable, and fearing it will not do any good for him. That’s just not right.

  35. Kayla Besterfield permalink
    August 7, 2011 9:44 pm

    I think Kino’s father’s way of thinking could hurt Japan. This is because I feel it is good for an average person to fear. I also think it is very normal for a person to fear death anyway. When Kino’s father says, “Do not be afraid,” this means he feels that there is no point in trying to save yourself if a volcano would start to erupt, or a tsunami came. If you really love life and you try to live it to the fullest, then you should try your hardest to savor the time you have on Earth. Also, Kino’s father mentions, “Enjoy life and do not fear death.” This to me means that he is telling people not think about the possibilities of what might happen before and after you die.

    • Yazmine Thomas permalink
      November 5, 2011 10:39 pm

      Okay i thought it would help japan but after reading your comment you have a point, and you proved it well , so i guess it can go both ways.

  36. Annie permalink
    August 10, 2011 4:43 pm

    What Kino’s father was trying to say was that no one can predict the future and you shouldn’t let fear of something like an earthquake or a tusanmi dicate your life, you should live every day and not fear what could happen. This is how everyone should live and this is how the Japanese really do live. They take many percautions with their buildings and earthquake proof them and do everything they can to prepare but once they do that it’s really out of their hands and they’re almost okay with that. Japan has to be one of the most dangerous places to live and everyone who lives there knows it. They were struck by tradgey back in 1945 when we dropped an atomic bomb on them, but the next day they had the trolly system working again in Hiroshoma. You really cannot knock the Japanese people down. They are headstrong and really do believe that what happens, happens and that they should not dwell on it and just work to come back better. That is what they’ve always done and will continue to do. Thinking this way has helped them immensely because they have been hit with many hardships yet they always come back better and stronger than ever. The Japanese do not play the “what if” game, and I don’t think I could live like that. I do dwell on the past and I almost always question the future. It is the way I am, I am not the type of person to live in the moment and not fear what could happen. So no, the Japanese way of thinking just isn’t for me, but I applaud and envy them for thinking that way.

  37. August 19, 2011 3:14 pm

    I think what Kino’s father was trying to say was that you can’t predict when the sea will have big waves or make a tusanmi, but you shouldn’t the fear of an earthquake or tusanmi let it ruin your life forever. Kino’s father did say that you should fear but don’t let it over take your life. I think what happened in Japan is something you should be scared of. I think it both hurt Japan but also helped it. It hurt it because most people were scared of the situation and now will be forever but some people did take his words into consiteration. If I was someone in Japan I would be able to live happen without be scared of an earthquake and tusanmi because yes it may but that doesn’t mean I should be scared of it when it might not even happen. I would be scared if happened at that time yes but not if it may not even happen. I do agree with u Annie. You shouldn’t be scared if you don’t even know if it’s true yes you should be worried but not scared if it may not even happen. People may say that it will happen but who says it’s true and that it may happen. I mean Japan has faced some tragic events in the past but people are helping to fix everything.

    • Cj Moody permalink
      October 27, 2011 6:48 pm

      I was thinking the same exact thing. They were hurt for SO many reasons but the one main reason is that people will be scared forever and its good because its a wakeup call for the people that just do whatever they want and dont care.

  38. Cj Moody permalink
    October 27, 2011 6:40 pm

    As kinos dad said everyone is going to die someday.. I believe that everyone should live life to the fullest.. You will never know what natural disaster is right around the corner. That has hurt japan a little bit because they didnt really expect it. I could NOT live my life like this because i would be worried yet at the same time id be trying to live my life to the fullest. Im sure anyone that lives in japan would say the same.. Its just too risky.

    • Yazmine Thomas permalink
      November 5, 2011 10:37 pm

      Your right you never know what could happen and you should live your life to the fullest . Im sure everyone who was in a unexpected natural disater would say the same thing too.

  39. Yazmine Thomas permalink
    November 5, 2011 10:30 pm

    Well, first thing i know about kinos dad is that he is wise. After reading this line i knew he was wise. “Ocean is there and volcano is there. It is true that on any day ocean may rise into storm and volcano may burst into flame. We must accept this fact, but without fear. We must say, ‘Someday I shall die, and does it matter whether it is by ocean or volcano, or whether I grow old and weak? I think this helped japan in many ways but expecially family members who lost loved ones because it helped them understand tha eventaully they were going to pass whether it is by ocean or volcano, or whether they grow old and weak they were going to die. Me, im more like kino, I rather not think about it and not be afraid and just live life.

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