The Kindness of Strangers

I am now in Kumamoto after a little over three months in Tokyo.  While my time in Tokyo was filled with adventure and wonder, I am finally “home”.  My time there was always meant to be short-lived; three months of getting used to being in Japan and trying desperately to get a grasp on the language.  The first part of that sentence was accomplished however I am still struggling with the language part. :0)  I have not given up, though and will continue taking lessons as long as it takes!  Kumamoto is my “forever home” for the next two years and three months.  This is where I will be teaching English at Luther Gakuin, a previously all girls school for junior and senior high school students but now co-ed.  There is also a kindergarten and college attached both of which I will have little if anything to do with – except for the goat belonging to the kindergarten.

I have been in Kumamoto for two and a half weeks now.  It is a beautiful city nowhere near the size of Tokyo (this is a good thing for me) nor anywhere near as crowded (again good).  There are picturesque mountains rising up to meet the eye everywhere you look.  The transportation is not as convenient as it was in Tokyo where there was always a train, subway, or bus within a 10 minute walk.  The walks here, though longer, are much more pleasant due to the scenery.  Most of my destinations require walks over rivers or canals always with mountains framing the background.

I have been met with kindness at every step of the way on my journey here in Japan both in Tokyo and Kumamoto from people making sure that I was not alone on Thanksgiving and Christmas to being given produce freshly picked from a farm.  Today I received the biggest Daikon radish I have ever seen and the sweetest spinach I have ever had!  I didn’t even know spinach could have a sweet taste to it but this definitely did!  Next week a woman, who found out that I needed to go to a city approximately two hours away, insisted that she drive me rather than me taking the bus.  There is a saying about any given person never meeting a stranger.  My time here has been filled with people who have never met any strangers and I am truly blessed to be among those they have met who are not strangers.