I have some travelling lined up for this year (but more about that at a later time)...
Anyway, I've been thinking about travelling and remembering good times in places
both familiar and strange to us. In particular, I've been remembering one day (10
years ago now!) when we decided to stop off in Tokyo on our way back from another
trip to have a quick look around. We had no travel book, no prior knowledge. We
thought we'd just walk around for the day then head back to the airport on our way
home. But we were totally unprepared for just how far out of our frame of reference
Tokyo would be and were totally lost in no time at all...
And then we were saved... A lovely gentleman approached us and asked
if we needed help. We had about three words in Japanese and he had even less
in English, but somehow we managed to communicate that we wanted to see
some local sights. And this is when the magic happened... the most extraordinary
kindness we've ever encountered in any of our travels. This gorgeous lovely man
decided to be our guide for the day.
He hailed a cab and took us to a temple... He took us to a carnival with rides and
street performers... He took us to places to eat and showed us beautiful local
architecture and sights... And for that entire day, he would not let us pay for a single
thing. (We tried several times but he wouldn't hear of it).
At the end of the day he wanted us to come back to his home and have dinner
with his family but we had a plane to catch, so he took us to the station for the
airport train and stood on that platform waving us goodbye as we glided out of the
station. Have you ever heard of such kindness?
Thankfully, I had the forethought at the time to get his name and address before
we parted and sent him a thank you letter (which I had translated into Japanese)
and some photos of our day together. I sent them all off but didn't hear from him
again. I'm ashamed to say I've totally forgotten his name now, but I'll never forget
him. I think of this lovely man often and his incredible kindness. He is such an
inspiration for me and has been the impetus for my own behaviour towards
travellers in our city.
Anyway, there's no particular point I want to make... I just wanted to share
this amazing day and wish us all beautiful times in the year ahead :)