(Please note when I say "a group of people" I mean just that. People. Not Japanese people, or fill-in-the-blank people, but just people. Based on what I've seen, I believe most people in a crisis tend to band together to help each other out. It's in the nature of our herd animal beast. I also think all the folks who say the lack of looting shows the Japanese culture is "more evolved" are whack jobs who need more faith in humanity, and need to spend more time in rural communities where of course you help each other out because that's just what people do. And now I exit that soap box.)
On the other side of unbelievable things, someone at work yesterday said to me he was shocked that Japan would be so devastated by this tsunami. Don't they build breakwaters and protect the coastline? I pointed out that they do build breakwaters, but what exactly are they supposed to do -- build a 50 foot high breakwater down the entire length of the country? That's like building a breakwater down the entire West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego. (I wanna see the Environmental Impact Report on that idea...) His point was they should build more breakwaters in susceptible areas. I failed to get across my point that the entire coastline of Japan is prone to earthquakes and resulting tsunamis.
It'll be interesting to see in the coming weeks (until something else distracts the news cycle) as statements are issued by Japanese officials and are interpreted inappropriately by US news media. The one I saw today was a statmente that the breakwaters around the nuclear facility were too short. From the US perspective, that's an admission of negligence. From the Japanese perspective, it's a statement of fact to be used in analysis and rectification of the problem. One statement, two viewpoints.