Monday, July 18, 2011


If there's one word that captures the Japanese spirit, it's "ganbatte." Pronounced "gahn-baht-tay," it means "persevere!', even when things are going against you. People say it to a student studying for exams, to an out-of-breath cyclist struggling to reach the top of the hill, to a figure skater who's fallen for the 20th time while perfecting her double axel. The Japanese admire a the person who just keeps  going, no matter what.

The Japanese women's soccer team displayed the spirit of "ganbatte" yesterday. During the first part of the match, the Americans looked strong. But the plucky Japanese team came from behind. I am happy for them. After the earthquake, the tsunami, and Fukushima, they needed something like this to lift their spirits.

We had a neighbor, a native of Japan, a medical doctor who researched retroviruses at Walter Reed Army Hospital.  He was a gentle person, very shy and reserved. Every day he'd take his scruffy-looking mutt, "Whiskers," for a walk. He held his head high and moved with quiet dignity, as if he were leading the Emperor's horse. My husband would say, "There goes the 'samurai dog-walker' again."

Tatsuo admired perseverance. Long after our daughter grew up, he'd marvel at her determination in learning  to ride her two-wheeler at age seven. "She'd fall off, but she'd get back on again and again."


KathyA said...

If we had to lose, I'm glad we did to the Japanese. They really do, as you mentioned, deserve something to celebrate.

Lena said...

Good for them and I like how it made everyone here happy, too. A real feel good sincere moment. Take them while we can!

Nancy said...

I didnt see the game,and sorry I am not more sports minded but was not really even aware of it till I saw a few posts about it on facebook, however I sure do like your perspective on it and I have to agree that after what they have been through and their show of perserverance, I too am glad they had a little something to lift their spirits.