Love Letter to Japan

At Arashiyama in Kyoto.

Stumbling out of a train station in the wee early hours, you stare outside and it’s pouring rain. Buckets. Cats and dogs. The works. You slump and begin to lean against the wall to wait for it to ebb.

Suddenly a tap lands on your humidity-soaked shoulder. An old lady holds out an umbrella and, when you start spouting thanks, she waves her hand and disappears.

Totally happened to me in Japan.

You’re short on cash but still want to hang out with friends, so you go to a restaurant just to sit and chat. One of your acquaintances bustles up with a giant gift bag of vegetables, non-perishables, and chips. Words fail you.

Totally happened to me in Japan.

After arriving in a new city, you leave the bus station only to realize–too late–that you left your camera and all its lenses on the bus. You rush back inside, but the bus is already gone. In tears, you stumble through apologies and explanations, give phone numbers and collapse onto chairs. Then the station manager appears, offers a kind smile and says, “Come back in two hours.”

Two hours later, over $4000 of equipment is back in your hands, just as you’d left it.

Totally happened to me in Japan.

Taken the evening I left my camera on the bus. Hiroshima.

It’s easy to get caught up in the frustrating bits of living abroad. Things you can’t control like the humidity and crazy drivers. Things you don’t understand, like obscure culture and polite niceties. Differences in body language and gender/age expectations.

But the wonderful things are so effusive, so bright, that reminiscing is like stepping into the ocean on a sultry summer day. Or laughing with friends after a terrible fight.

Japan: I love you.

May I remember this moment the next time a giant mukade slithers into my house. ::knocks on wood::

I'm in the bottom left. Way back when I had long hair. In Nagasaki.