One night, Bianca and I were walking down the street to find a place to eat. On the way, we crossed a van with the back open, and low hanging cloth flowing from the open van trunk door covering the entrance a bit. It was a food van. I observed a few people go in and out, and I had to know what it was. I bent over to look in and see what it was from a distance, so I didn’t cause a fuss. When I looked in I saw a big man sitting behind a grill. He immediately saw me, and motioned for us to come over. When we entered he smiled a great big smile and held out his hand. I extended mine to receive whatever he was giving us, and when he opened his hand two small cylindrical bread pieces fell into my hand.
He told us to try them, and that they were おいしい. We both tried them there and exclaimed that they were indeed おいしい！ He laughed and asked us where we were from, and told us that he was from Japan. Unfortunately neither Bianca or I are very good at Japanese yet, but what little conversation we shared was filled with genuine joy at the sharing of cultures that had just occurred.
This man, who seemed a bit intimidating from a distance, gave us a gift of delicious food. Much like the old woman who gave us the tangerines, this gift was clearly given in the spirit of welcome someone who is clearly new to the Japanese culture. With a big smile on his face, the once intimidating figure transformed into a kind teddy-bear like man who was truly happy to have us in his country. This kindness reverberates through me still, and I hope that I will do right by these people during my time here. I have to repay their kindness somehow, and if the best I can do right now is learn as much as I can, I will.
When we had finished dinner, we came back and bought a big bag of his sweets. I hope to go back and get more. They are quite delicious! Thank you so much, ベンダさん.