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Story Archives: Learning from the Japanese
|Learning from the Japanese|
As we watch the devastation from the recent earthquake that has rocked the island nation of Japan, we can be sure of two things—the Japanese will recover and we could learn a few things from these remarkable people.
In the 1850s, United States naval officer, Commodore Matthew Calbraith, presented the people of Japan the gift of a train as a goodwill offering in an attempt to convince the nation to open the doors of trade with the U.S.
Having never seen anything like a locomotive before, the Japanese at first gawked at the train from a safe distance. When the engine began to move, some gasped in horror and villagers drew swords and attacked the "beast."
Eventually, the people realized that there was nothing to fear and some were stroking the train and riding on it by the end to the day.
Fast forward a century and the Japanese had unveiled the "bullet train", a technological marvel of the age that out performed any locomotive in the world.
This time it was the U.S. that was gasping in wonder and trying to figure out how to keep up with the Japanese. Today, Japan is the world's third largest economy and can boast the lowest homicide rate in the world as well as the highest life expectancy of any country in the world.
How the Japanese went from being a backwater, superstitious people to a world power is an interesting story—they did it by trying to emulating us.
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