Japanese student expresses thanks to Taiwan

Hiroshi Kawano

Firstly, please allow me to say “Thank you” to Taiwan and Taiwanese people who helped my country, Japan, as my countrymen have been experiencing a difficult time after the earthquake and tsunami. I cannot even find the words to express my feelings for what Taiwan and Taiwanese people did for us, especially by donating the largest amount in the world, and always encouraging us with their kind words to help us face the difficulties ahead of us. I came to wonder, how did this happen? How could a country of 23 million people donate the biggest amount in the world? I wanted to know the reasons. I have lived and worked in four different countries for almost seven years. As most of you may agree, living in an overseas country is a continuous challenge for foreigners who do not speak the local language and who do share the same culture. Little did I know that I would be able to disprove that ideology when I moved to Taiwan. As soon as I stepped on Taiwan soil, I immediately felt comfortable, safe and welcomed, which I never felt in other countries. I could feel that Taiwanese people respected Japan, among other countries in many ways: toward culture, products and more importantly — Japanese people. I wondered why there was such respect for my countrymen. Didn’t Japan colonize Taiwan before? Later on, my Taiwanese friend told me that the Japanese government was the very first one to send a large rescue team, when the 921 earthquake happened in Taiwan in 1999. I was indeed surprised that Taiwanese people do remember this assistance and were willing to do the same for us. We are all living in such a diplomatic, bureaucratic, complicated world. However, Japanese people and Taiwanese people already have a special and close relationship. The disaster that happened in Japan made our relationship stronger and even more unforgettable. Again, thank you Taiwan! We will never forget your support and we will be “pengyou” forever.