Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, and sincerely wish for healing, rebuilding and hope. Hisami experienced the earthquake firsthand while on a business trip to Tokyo, and returned to the US later that month. Putting aside the sensationalism of some US media, ordinary Americans have shown an outpouring of sympathy and support to Japan, as chronicled in Hisami’s blog (in Japanese).

This Japan trip included attending the ad:tech tokyo event October 28-29, 2010, and the appointment of Hisami as an Advisory Board Member. Then on March 8, a lively discussion with Toru Saito on Looops TV via Ustream, along with TechDoll’s Yukari Mihashi. Archived here, and tweets from the broadcast here (in Japanese). Topics centered around differences in social media and social networks in US vs Japan, including users’ and marketers’ perspectives.

Almost 70% of people online in the US use social networks, so even earthquake news was obtained real time from people in Japan through their connections, and not relying solely on mass media.

In those exchanges, Americans have expressed their admiration for the Japanese — their stoicism, their generosity in helping each other, and their strength of character — a degree to which would be unimaginable in any other country. As one of the worst disasters in history, no mass chaos ensued, but rather an immediate focus on relief and recovery in an orderly way. This could not have happened in the US.

The world is rooting for Japan. Every individual effort and continuing that effort is what’s really important right now.