This is an informative article from a blog I really like: “Keeping Japan Going, Part 2“. It’s all about the response of konbinis (chain convenience stores like 7-11) to the earthquake up north.
Konbinis are a dime a dozen, ubiquitous, open at all hours, and pretty much what you’d expect to be super-capitalist, heartless profit-mongers. Instead, they are Japanese. Aside from contributions made by the major corporations that own them, individual konbinis really did their part to help the recovery.
They quickly reopened to provide needed supplies, cut back on their energy use, and more. As the writer of this article puts it, “the clean, brightly lit konbini stores were like little safe havens on a dark night.”
On a side note: this blogger has a separate blog, www.justbento.com, which is all about assembling Japanese lunchboxes (it’s an art form).