AN UMBRELLA FOR TWO, OR MAKING FRIENDS IN JAPAN
20 January, 2011
AN UMBRELLA FOR TWO, OR MAKING FRIENDS IN JAPAN

Kiev, the city of my childhood, was known for its exceptional courtesy to visitors. I myself would eagerly spend time showing my beloved city to strangers lost in its streets. When moving to Moscow I found by contrast mostly rudeness and indifference, and only in Georgia, years later, I discovered another world inhabited by miraculously hospitable people, open and kind to visitors. But now, in the times of economic crisis, lack of jobs and hardship, it is difficult to be generous

and open, and treat your guests as kings, as in Georgia. Traditional values are vanishing in all countries of the world, alas.
Japan is different. It still worships traditional values. It is a country of smiling people. No gloomy faceless crowds ignoring (or hating, like in Moscow nowadays) those who belongs to  ’other’ race, language and culture. Sure, sometimes it was difficult for me to communicate because not everybody could answer me in English but all people were showing willingness to help. Once, when I was risking to miss an important meeting with a colleague at the Foreign Press Club, a nice young woman whom I addressed at random spent half an hour helping me to communicate with a  house doorman, make several calls using her cellphone, and find a taxicab.
I arrived to Kamakura not knowing what to do on that rainy day, how to find a bank for withdrawing money and a  tourist bus for seeing this city’s wonders. In a heavy rain  I entered the first door on the central street, of some youth club, and approached the reception desk.
An elderly gentleman nearby asked  me: “Where are you from?” - “I’m from Boston.” - “Oh, Boston is my favorite American city, I spent years there, as a student of MIT!” He was delighted to help, even being busy on that day. He introduced me to his lady friend, they walked me to a bank then to a bus station. All tourist bus tickets had been sold out, but the lady said she was free and volunteered to show me Kamakura’s attractions.
We were walking in the rain, hiding ourselves under her large umbrella,  rushing from one place to another – sometimes by regular bus or tram, and she even took photos of me facing Big Buddha... A retiree, a performer on a traditional string instrument, she didn’t know much of English, but we were willing to learn more about each other. I persuaded to treat her to coffee and a fruit tort in a French cafe near the station, to complete that unforgettable rainy day spent together. My friend’s name is Sachiko Stukazaki.
And now on  the most exciting event that happened to me in Japan. When coming to Tokyo, I visited the Golden Lion Restaurant on Ginza.
Drinking beer, I started a conversation with a nice gentleman and his wife sitting at a nearby table. Our mutual sympathy was quickly born.
Ichiro Ishii, a business executive, with a good command of English, appreciated my interest in Japan — not just sightseeing but a strong desire to understand the country, and  approved my plans. We agreed to meet again to discuss my discoveries. On the very last day of my stay he drove me to his favorite small restaurant where we dined. He introduced me to Reiko and Mami, his very nice and amiable colleagues who brought souvenirs for me, and after dinner two of us shifted to a small bar where we had more drinks and  conversations.... feeling sadness when we parted. Good friends now, we communicate constantly, and he supplies me with invaluable information on Japan. I miss Ichiro Ishii.

 

Print
Other Stories
The two sides of Georgia
On my first few days in Tbilisi, I stumbled across these two contrasting slogans. One is a testimony of open-mindedness and tolerance,
Mentally Ill or Not?
“The brain is wider than the sky.” Emily Dickinson.
Shall We Dance?
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” Friedrich Nietzsche.
Are We the Same or Just Getting Better?
Georgian-born Mancho Busse has been working in hospitality business for many years by now. Her husband, Robin Busse, works for the State Department of The United States,
Eco-Friendly Habits: How to Clean Your Off-Roading Vehicle Responsibly
Irresponsible waste disposal practices continue to have drastic effects on the environment.
 5 Techniques for Finding Your Inner Creativity
Whether you’re a writer, artist, or even a marketing executive, you’ve probably had days where you felt completely uninspired.
A suitcase full of wine and a heart full of memories
I left Switzerland and arrived in Tbilisi on December 28.
Five Reasons to Visit Georgia in 2017
If you've been searching for a unique place to vacation in 2017, the beautiful country of Georgia holds some hidden treasures.
PROMISING FUTURE OF COLLABORATION
“All roads lead to Rome” – states one of the most famous medieval proverbs. It’s fascinating to think how much the narrow streets and glorious walls of this eternal city have seen.
It’s Not So Bad, Chaps- Just Look at the Yanks: Ogden on Comparable Politics
Electoral fever is dying down in Georgia as it ramps up in the United States.
 “Moral Inversion” - Pre-election period in Georgia
Georgian pre-election period can be classified as “Moral Inversion”, a notion first put forward by Michael Polanyi.
America’s Trump Card
Like it or not, the name of the 45th American President will most likely be Donald Trump.
Clock is not counting down, it is adding up!
On Saturday for the ceremony in Charleston, instead of wedding gifts, the Managing Editor of Georgian Journal, Will Cathcart
A Protectionist Perspective: Ensuring A Georgian Future
Unlike many of my compatriots, I view my country as a sentient creature, a single organism. The mountains
Back in BSSR
"I remember that when I was a schoolgirl, they told us we have to be ready to give our lives for the motherland.
Thank you, father, for saving me from USSR!
On the 11th of October, the population of Belarus has elected Alexander Lukashenko to serve his fifth term
The EU Getting Squeezed in Georgia
Recent polls have shown that the EU is less and less popular in Georgia. The reason is that they
What is Georgia’s Military For?
There are two possible uses for Georgia’s military. The first would be to fight a war with an external threat or by its existence, to deter
Protohack
Last weekend I went to a hackathon in San Francisco called Protohack. In the former Soviet Union, people tend to think of hacking
European Migrant Crisis: The good, the bad and the liar
“I call an animal, a species, an individual corrupt, when it loses its instincts, when it prefers what is injurious
Refugees in Georgia
The people of Syria see the Assad regime weakening, and considering who may take over and what they might
David and Goliath: A Realpolitik Rendition
A Conservative Contrarian View on Georgia’s Geopolitical Dilemma
The Bleeding of Rustavi 2 - Our New August Surprise
When the powerful have to make something happen that they want few people to notice, they issue the statement late in the afternoon
The Good Neighbor
In 2012, Georgia was promised to witness what ex-Prime Minister Ivanishvili called “a new age.” It would be achieved by “restarting”
Independence, Institutions and Corruption
People talk about Georgia choosing between Russia and the West as if Georgia ended up at a soccer game and, well, since we’re here we may
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
18.09.2018
19.09.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6156
2.6188
EUR
1
EUR
3.0498
3.0593
GBP
1
GBP
3.4259
3.4414
RUB
100
RUB
3.8379
3.8673
Other Stories
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6188
EUR
1
EUR
3.0593
GBP
1
GBP
3.4414
RUB
100
RUB
3.8673
September 2018
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30