A few weeks ago as I was reflecting on my recent stay in Tokyo I started to write a blog post about how much I absolutely love the Japanese.
I have had the pleasure of living in Japan, learning her wonderful culture, eating her wonderful food, and becoming friends with her wonderful people. If there was one place on the earth outside of Utah where I would want to live, it would be Japan. Right in the middle of Tokyo in Ebisu or out in the beautiful inaka of Kyushu – I would have no misgiving whatsoever about living in Japan, dokodemo.
This recent earthquake and tsunami disaster hasn’t shaken that desire. There will be no looting and rioting in the afflicted areas. There will be no rapes in the shelters. The Japanese are better than that. They respect each other too much to do that.
It is surprising to me as I reflect on Japan who comes to mind…
I wonder how this old man I met just outside of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in December of 2007 is doing. I remember him well because I had just gotten a Nikon D40 from my wife as an early Christmas present specifically so I could take it with me on my business trip. It was my first “real” camera – and as I walked the streets documenting everything, I ran into him and asked him if I could take his picture.
II Desu Yo! Dozo! And then the smile you see here… I hope you are okay sir, and out of the cold.
I think about the fisherman I so intently watched last October on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Enoshima.
You could tell that, like many of the people in Japan, he relied on the ocean, and was at home on the sea. I wonder what his life looks like now.
I wonder about the many people over the years that I have bowed to, given a smile to, or stolen a smile from… I hope they are ok. I pray they are safe. I hope they continue to live their lives with the quiet dignity that makes Japan such a wonderful place.
I pray that whoever they look to for strength and safety will send it. And send it quickly.
And so it goes…