Glimpses of Japan

We just returned from 18 days in Japan. My last blog was a highlight (or should I say lowlight) of our last visit there in 2010. Blessedly this trip was full of good health, plus outstanding food, beautiful scenery and the world’s most gracious people.  It was one of those experiences that is so packed with sensory overload that it is hard to know what to say when someone asks “How was your trip?” Fabulous, of course, but so much more. A flood of sights, sounds, smells washes over me. A host of faces smile at me.

So, here are some glimpses.

kimura bedroom 2015
Where we slept in Hiroshima

BELONGING:  Our daughter-in-law is Japanese. She grew up in Hiroshima, and her family (four generations) live there in a new two-story house in a neighborhood not far from the train station and the new baseball stadium. Hiromi’s grandma, Riuko Takazawa, a teacher and well-known painter, lived in a traditional, tile-roofed, soji-screened house, and when it was scheduled for destruction in the path of urban renewal, she put her (tiny) foot down and refused to sign the city’s permission paper. They begged and cajoled, and (more…)

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Compassion Priceless

In my August post I reflected on the kindness of strangers with a couple of stories. And because the subject is so worthy, here is a dramatic example from 2010.

In 2010 my husband and I joined a group of high school students going to Bali to study art. After a month of music, painting, puppet making and dance –as well as sweating profusely and slapping mosquitoes –we headed for home, stopping in Japan for a few days. Our first morning there my husband woke with a fever of 103 and a full body rash. The hotel had a thermometer but no doctor. As the fever neared 104 we hailed a cab for the Hiroshima City Hospital. I had frantically pieced together shujinwa byoki des — my husband is sick from my pocket dictionary and blurted it out to the cab driver, who took one look at us and stepped on the gas.

Roberto’s name, lower right quadrant, on the door to his room at Hiroshima City Hospital.

In the large, orderly waiting room, we were the only Caucasians. Roberto was a sight, lobster-red and wild-eyed. Staff and patients politely averted their eyes. A nurse led us to the lab for blood work, and after filling several tubes, she withdrew the needle and pressed a gauze pad on the site. Roberto bent his arm and held the gauze in place until she motioned that he could take it off. But when he straightened his arm the gauze pad, red and soggy, fell onto the floor, and a fountain of blood squirted in the air. I was going to laugh until I looked at the nurse. Her eyes were wide with fear. She applied new gauze and whisked us upstairs where a bed and IV waited in room 575. (more…)

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