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Keep Calm And Carry On

A phrase associated with the British, but for the last few weeks, most powerfully demonstrated by another island kingdom. The Japanese are an amazing people on many levels. They are not always the most approachable or comprehensible, especially their advertising, but adversity is when their mettle shows. Six decades ago, they re-built a nation reduced to ashes, using little apart from their prodigious intelligence, teamwork and the kind of fiery determination that makes mountains melt. As the tsunami hit their shores, once again they demonstrated that no matter what nature or other human beings throw at you, all that matters is your spirit.

Two examples: the 76 year-old lady who had been lying buried under rubble for 2 days. When the rescue team approached her she apologized for troubling them and asked them to help someone more in need. If only we could bottle that.

And second, my agency’s Tokyo branch planning director: he sent out a note to the network asking for ideas on how best they could help their clients get back on their feet at this time. “No charity or commiseration”, the note said” just ideas.”

Hope I can be that calm if something happens here in California.

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