Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

I had heard many times that Japanese people were incredibly friendly and polite. Honestly, I had my doubts, having met my fair share of arrogant and rude Japanese when I worked at Coma HQ. Then again, as Kitty put it, "those civil servants are not really representative, you'll see." She was right. I'm not talking about the obsequiousness and bows of shop assistants here, but unexpectedly nice behaviour by "normal" citizens.

Such as the old man Chiquita and I met in Himeji. The famous castle is at the far end of a street that starts at the railway station. We had just arrived from Kyoto and were walking towards the castle at a leasurely pace, me taking pictures of the pretty manhole covers with crane (the bird, not the machinery) motifs, when an old man dressed in rather sporty attire appeared by our side. "Where you from?" he asked. We told him we were from Austria and as usual had to pronounce it again the Japanese way for him to understand it wasn't the country with the cangaroos, but the one famous for its composers that we were from. "I'm old boy," he said. "I take this walk every day. I have presento for you". We could not even thank him properly for the envelope he gave to each of us, before briskly walking away. Right then, we only took a brief peek and both assumed it was postcards he had put in. Even so, we found it extremely sweet of him to hand them out to complete strangers and wondered if on his daily walk he always took a stash of cards.

It wasn't until I was rummaging through my rucksack on the way back to Kyoto that I found the pale green envelope and took a proper look inside. It was photographs, presumably taken by the Japanese granddad himself, showing the castle at various times of the year:

photos of Himeji castle (onemorehandbag)


Anonymous Lara said...

oh, so nice!

11/05/2009 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh please stop, you are shattering my illusions, I shall be liking them as well soon!

11/06/2009 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger onemorehandbag said...


I know - shocking, eh?

11/06/2009 03:41:00 PM  

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