Japan was my first time. I mean, it was my first travel for work/workshop away from my family. Try to imagine being in the shoes of someone poor in geography. Of course, the excitement was there, as with the anxious feeling of being lost.
You are right, I really got lost – just like when I was in my younger years and even in my own country. So – maybe, I haven’t mastered my weakness for places. But then, when you’re at the brim of the drink, you will see all that’s inside.
Japan is adorable. The first time I stepped on its soil, I felt there was something sacred and peaceful in Japan. Air was fragrant and fresh, as its nature. Weather was cool and my body approved of its coldness. Parks were nurtured with budding flowers and flying birds to and fro. Around was so clean, as if Japanese wind sweeps dirt everyday.
Japanese children were so cute, smart, and full of energy. If you dance with them, they’ll dance with you, and jump with you, and play hard. They don’t approve of boring moments, therefore the ESL teacher must be quick and creative. The class came so lively with the interaction of everyone and letting each student share what he/she has worked with (drawing, puzzle, seatwork).
Professional adults liked to learn more about culture, fashion, food, and even God. Discussions /conversations were helpful for both student and teacher learning together: the student learning English and the teacher knowing about Japanese culture.
When I got lost, Japanese people were so kind to help me. They kept me safe and made sure I got the right rides going to places (because I couldn’t speak Japanese). I toured places riding on a train and sharing rides with generous Japanese mothers and students, not knowing where I was headed (dawn till dusk). What I could remember was the caring Japanese librarian who even brought me to the train station. I wasn’t able to give her anything in return for her kindness, but in the differences of our culture and religion – I shared to her a ticket book of St. Jude. She embraced it with a radiant smile.
Japan gave me a blast of a train ride, no time would ever surpass. I keep secrets with the Japanese mountains, wind, and parks. And forever, moments in that land of the rising sun are etched in the center of my being.
“Banzai!” May you live a thousand years.
Rose Flores – Martinez