As an aside to my daily blog, I really wanted to highlight a specific part of studying abroad in Japan: the Japanese people. During my short time here I have already met some truly wonderful individuals. Even small acts have a great impact on me, someone who is very foreign to this country. These off-chute entries will highlight a specific individual and the event they are involved in.
On my second day in Japan I had just moved into me and Bianca’s temporary housing solution: an AirBnB near the center of Osaka. After we had unpacked, we decided to look around the neighborhood. I was immediately impressed with the area. It was quiet, but still commercial and fun. It was a city and a suburb all at once. Children played in the park surrounded by tall buildings filled with homes and various restaurants.
Walking down the road me and Bianca were speaking to each other in English when were interrupted by someone who was wheeling a bike behind us. It was a little old woman we had never met before. She had a bike with a basket on the front, filled to the brim with tangerines.
She walked next to us and said “すみません、どうぞ” or “excuse me, here” and handed each of us a tangerine. She then hopped on her bike a rode around the corner and out of sight. She knew we were foreign, and she could hear us speaking English and decided to extend the branch of peace through a small fruit.
It was perhaps a small gesture but to me it symbolized a country that was willing to have me, and was not afraid of me or angry at me for being naive to so much of their culture. It was a gesture of kindness that I will carry with me forever.