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Monday, February 19

The Beauty of a Caring Gesture

The kindness of the Japanese has not been lost on me. Sunday morning, there came the ding-dong of our doorbell. At our front door stood our neighbor with a huge bouquet of spring flowers picked from her newly blossoming trees. The purpose of her visit, she stated, was to make sure that everything was okay with us and that her family had not offended us in any way. Huh?

It seems that our neighbors had noticed that we had closed the windows on the side of our house that they live on. You see, in Japan, there are these metal doors that pull closed over your windows. Their purpose is, of course, security but also in the case of bad weather and typhoon high winds, the metal doors will protect the glass. We have two large sliding glass doors on their side of our house both with these pull down doors.

As temperatures had plummeted, I had added to the list of usefulness for those doors the fact that they blocked out the persistent cold drafts. Our neighbor could not understand this reason at first and asked me if it was not indeed very dark in my house. I had completely forgotten that to live in a bright house with the whitest of walls, many windows and the sheerest of curtains is a blessing in Japan. Of course, I have taken every step possible to block out that brightness - particularly in the bedrooms. I explained that it was darker, yes, but I was more concerned with the fact that it now stays warmer downstairs. She looked mystified at this reasoning but seemed to warily accept it and held out her offering of blooms.

I find it amazing that our neighbor took the time to come to us and make sure that it all was copasetic between us. In fact, now I am the mystified one. It is a welcome change though from past neighbors who would only turn the music up louder when kindly asked to turn it down. My Japanese neighbor has reminded me just how wonderful and caring these people are. People who live in such closeness that they will go out of their way to make sure those around them are not put out in any way. Just another reminder of all that I can learn from the Japanese lifestyle.

And the beautiful new arrangement created thanks to the bounty of my neighbor’s garden was a nice little plus.


Mike S said...

Ah, to live again on the lower slopes of Fuji-san during February in the old 1500s farmhouse.

Lisa said...

I have to laugh at this because all that I could think of was how your nice little neighbor walked away from you that day, shaking her head and muttering, "strange Americans". (In japanese of course!)