|Shot using a Pentax K1000 Fujifilm 400 iso. Taken at Kawaba Village|
The holidays are upon us in reds and yellows. The skies are thin and shy, spread across a vast expanse of blueness. It’s still officially autumn in Japan and yet you can see Christmas decor going up all around you, if you’re in Japan. When I officially post this, it will be November 25th, the day Mishima Yukio committed ritual suicide atop the Japan Self Defense building. But of course, no one remembers him. We rarely remember the symbolism of such an act in our day and age. On this day I try to reflect on Japanese people and what they have meant to me. I try to post some nice experiences to share.
Random Acts of Kindness
So I'm at my favorite watering hole. I ask the bartender for his recommendation. He brings out three bottles of the good stuff. You know, the seasonal stuff that’s fresh from the sake brewer and is usually in limited quantity... I order all of them at once. So I'm sitting there and imbibing with the locals when this 80 year old Japanese man walks up. He starts ordering shochu, you know, the distilled stuff made from sweet potato. So we strike up a conversation. From the way he was dressed he looked like a CEO. On my second round I order up another three sake from the bartender. This time the old guy pays for my drinks. This continues on for about two more rounds, so in total I drank 10 drinks. He shook my hand and left and I didn't even have a chance to say thank you. Not even a name.
For those of you who do follow my blog, you know I worship the Jukujo, and there's no shortage of Jukujo candy in Japan. The whole time I was enjoying the free alcohol at the bar I made friends with two other people sitting next to me. To my right was a lovely and delectable Jukujo who was about 42, and to her right was a transient guy from Osaka. He was sipping on some of that wine juice from France called Beaujuolai Neavues ( and I spelled it wrong smart ass). The whole atmosphere was convivial and warm. I have always said that alcohol lubricates the wheels of social interaction. It adds color and spice to our life. We finish up and me and the Jukujo head off to have a light dinner nearby at another place.
Acts of Kindness
So I miss the last bus to Ojiya Station. From the bullfight arena to the station is about a 10km taxi ride. The fare would've easily set me back 4000 yen! A random stranger, a Japanese lady, greeted me and had asked me where I was from. She knew I had missed the bus, so she offered me a ride back to the station for free! Again, I have never met her before.
Acts of Kindness
Fell asleep on the train last night and woke up in Yachiyodai. 65.5km from home! It was well passed midnight and there was no way for me to get back home. A stranger invited me into his home and offered me a hot shower and bed for free. Next morning he prepared coffee and maps for me then escorted me to the station! I made it home safely.