With all the changes in the ways we follow news these days, I have to confess I find it heartening to see people reading paper newspapers. Some battle the bulky size in the shuttle bus, folding the pages over and down. Others wait for their desk and morning coffee, laying the front page out flat for a skim of the headlines. Two unusual things happened with my papers yesterday, one typical of the serendipity of life, the other somber, and worthy of reflection.
The first was my random acceptance of a “sample” issue of a paper local to a nearby town. Three very cold volunteers were on the train platform at 7:30am, handing out papers to anyone who wasn’t already plugged in or looking dazed. Since I had my Wall Street Journal in hand, I tucked the local paper into the backpack for a later read. By 9:30pm, when I reached for that paper as the cookies finished baking (from a mix, but there it is), why should I have been surprised to see my husband quoted in a front page story? Strange things happen to me like this all the time.
But what I found myself deep in thought about this morning was the phrase above: “We must behave bravely.” Yesterday’s WSJ ran a story about the Japanese company Kureha, near Iwaki City, 37 miles from Fukishima’s reactors. Kureha makes a polymer needed for lithium-ion batteries, the kind used in iPods. And it doesn’t just make it—the company has a 70% share of the global market. While the factory and employees escaped severe harm, the nearby port of Onahama has been damaged extensively. Major adjustments are underway in the shadow of so much more devastation just up the coast.
Takao Iwasaki, the chief executive, was meeting with others in Iwaki when the quake struck. He made sure his employees were safe and according to the paper, is now monitoring the disaster as best he can, hoping his people will stay in the area. “We cannot run away. We have to behave bravely.”
If bravery is not something we feel or possess, are we able to behave as though we had it?
 Sanchanta, Mariko. “Chemical Reaction: iPod is Short Key Material. Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2011.