This was my first soapbox entry. At the time, I decided not to post it, but I saved it. I have decided to go ahead and post it as is, because it describes how I feel about the generosity that Japanese people so often show. It also expresses that shiny new feeling of those first few weeks of owning our own business. Some of the newness has worn off, but it’s been replaced with the confidence of knowing that we’re going to make it work! We still have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but we’re here and we’re making it!!! Here’s my original post…
I’m Carol McBride, the new coach at Kamishinjo, and I have to confess, I’m still feeling a little giddy about it! Everything is still new and exciting for me, even though I’ve been here for six weeks. I still wake up some mornings with a feeling of joy, and the realization that I don’t have a boss anymore. When I put out my sign, I still feel proud that it’s my own sign and my own business!! It’s a powerful feeling.
What is not new for me, however, is living in Japan. I’ve been here for six years, yet I can still be surprised and overwhelmed by the generosity of Japanese people!! During class last Saturday, my student was telling me about her hometown of Gifu and the festivals they have. When I told her the festivals sounded great and I would like to go sometime, she invited me to stay at her parents’ house. Her brother is a Buddhist Priest, so they live in a temple! This is far too cool for any foreigner I’ve ever met to resist. Even more amazing than the offer, was the fact that she really meant it!!!
After class, I thought about her kindness in providing a near stranger such a wonderful opportunity. I realized that this is the kind of generosity that I have experienced again and again from Japanese people on many different occasions. My first time taking the train from Umeda station, I was trying to figure out which train to take home. Before I had a chance to figure it out, two different people had approached me to help. On another occasion a man, who was dressed in a business suit and obviously in a hurry, stopped what he was doing and walked with me in the opposite direction to show me the way to my destination. These are just a few examples from my own personal experience. Every foreigner I know has their own examples of Japanese kindness and generosity.
Great article Carol. It is exactly this and many other such wonderful experiences that have kept me here in Japan for 19 years. I love the country and love the work. Well said on your sign board. It’s great feeling isn’t it.
I’ve been in Japan for 1 and a half years, and I agree with you 100%. Japanese generosity is a big factor in making me enjoy living in Japan and makes me want to stay in Japan for ever. I look forward to reading more of your posts, as we are in similar situations, having started our Smith’s lives at roughly the same time. Your input and ideas are very closely linked with mine! Great minds think alike- let’s share our ideas and our experiences.
Edward, SSE Ohtsu