3.21.2011

for japan...guest post.

Especially touched by the tragedy in Japan and the efforts being made to help the Japanese, my guy Gabriel asked if he could write a guest post this week, sharing a very sweet memory of Japan. Of course I said no. I tease. I said yes, absolutely...100%. Gabriel's also doing a little donation piggy-backing: like me, this week he'll donate a quarter for every comment left on my little blog to ShelterBox


All told, each comment left this week is worth a 50 cent donation from us. Hooray! Giving is even more exciting when you're not sure the amount you've committed to, and when you've got a partner...so we're looking forward to this week! 


Later today I'll be back with a giveaway. In the meantime...take it away, G...

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When I read Bethany's last post, explaining how she'd be contributing to relief efforts in Japan, I was so proud of her. And I felt lucky to be with someone so kind and giving. (Bethany interruption: I didn't tell him to say that. Cross. My. Heart.) But it was deeper than that, because Japan was the place I called home for four years while in the military. And it's a place that is full of exceptionally kind people.

Just an example:  While in the Navy, I was stationed in Sasebo, a tiny town south of the main island of Japan. Being raised in the big city, I decided to spend a weekend in much larger Fukuoka.  A friend traveled with me to Fukuoka, but I would have to return alone to Sasebo. At the end of the exciting weekend, I packed my bags, consulted my pal for directions and headed off to the train station...the bustling multi-level train station. I found myself staring blankly at the train route map, wracking my brain to recall the directions I'd received just hours earlier...but nothing came

And then a miracle. A sweet, older Japanese woman approached me. She could speak as little English as I could Japanese, but had deduced that I was in the Navy...and from the look on my face, that I was extremely confused. In broken English she asked if I was returning to the base in Sasebo, I nodded and she fed my cash into the ticket machine, selected the correct ticket, handed it to me and followed me onto the train. After riding in silence for some time, I brokenly asked her which stop was hers.

"We passed it," she said. "I'm just getting you safely to Sasebo."

I was amazed. This woman had ridden 45 minutes past her stop and spent several dollars out of her pocket to make sure that a complete stranger made it safely to his destination. I thanked her profusely and offered to pay for her return ticket, but of course she refused. In time, the train pulled into Sasebo, I offered her my best "Domo arigato", a smile and we parted ways.

Had this been the only stunning act of kindness I witnessed in Japan, I'd chalk it up to luck and my good timing. But the people of Japan never ceased to amaze me with their kindness. If ever I was lost, a friendly local was willing to walk with me. If blocked by language, they waited patiently until we understood each other. Always, always there to help...even complete strangers. And throughout this recent tragedy, it has been so good to see others step forward to show kindness to the people of Japan.

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Back to me (Bethany, that is)...and I so have to agree with Gabriel. Although I've never been to Japan and have no ties to that country, the kindness of others is so touching. I read a quote over at Alivia's blog that went something like this:

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."

How lovely and true. While my first reaction to disaster is engrossing myself in TV coverage, crying for days as I put myself in the shoes of mothers, daughters and friends whose world has been torn apart...but, I should also cry tears of joy over the stories of hope, help and kindness. And I should allow these stories to inspire me to give. Not just in tragedy...but always, to anyone in need.

So, come on back later today and help me help Japan in the littlest way....and possibly win some gorgeous jewelry. 

It's really win-win, my friends. :)


15 comments:

  1. Let me the first to comment. :D I am so grateful to have a cousin like you. I have never met anyone more giving and caring.

    Two are better then one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up again.
    Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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  2. what a touching story. so glad he got to contribute here! :) i really feel like so much of the world's hate and struggle would disappear if we all were given a chance like that to see the humanity and love shown by every culture, in every country. so lovely to read it.

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  3. Bethany, I am so grateful for you, and your blog of course. I smile instantly when I see that you've posted something new. I'm so looking forward to what else you have in store for this week.
    Also, this is my favorite quote from my list--Mister Rodgers always knew exactly what to say.

    Love & peace & happy thoughts all around, Lovely xoxo

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  4. What a wonderful post! Gabriel's story had me tearing up, and that quote from Alivia was awesome. I'm not surprised Mr Rogers said that. He was a great man!

    I love your heart, Bethany, and your desire to give. You inspire me.
    xo

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  5. What a wonderful post! I'm with Alivia...I smile each time I see you've posted something new (even before I read it!) Thanks for always making my day :-)

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  6. That story Gabriel wrote was so touching.
    I think it's a wonderful thing that you're both doing, and I'd like to thank you for it.
    <3 Kiersten

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  7. Gabriel is such a sweet guy. You are such a lucky girl(:

    I personally am grateful for this post. I, myself, am Japanese. I have several family members overseas and the kindness and help of others is what is helping them keep strong.

    Thanks Bethany. For being a great example of kindness. Gabriel is very lucky to have you also.

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  8. What a beautiful post. Thanks Gabriel for sharing!

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  9. I'm so impacted by this tragedy, for some reason it feel so personal for me. Maybe because the very first stamp I got on my passport was in Japan. I grew up in a town of 900, so when I landed in Tokyo - my first truly BIG city I was amazed. It was huge, crowded - and yet polite and somehow orderly. People were kind to us - even though we were a big group of students trying to ride the subway with our suitcases at rush hour. They were charmed by one of my travel companions who was 6'3" with blonde hair and blue eyes - they couldn't stop bashfully staring at him (so sweet.)

    It is such a beautiful country and I'm in awe of the way the people there have reacted to the tragedy. I haven't seen a single story of looting, instead you see stories of people helping each other out and working together.

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  10. It's amazing the joy, hope and love that can be found in the midst of tradegy. Thank you both for helping.

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  11. Here are thoughts of hope to Japan and high comment counts for you! You are such a giving soul. Its humbling *smile*

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  12. Japan, you are in our hearts and prayers!

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. the cold Pacific
    crashes into a country
    rends lives; opens hearts

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  15. this is an amazing and touching post... thank you both for sharing.

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Every time you comment, a unicorn gets his wings. Also, my phone beeps and your words bring me joy. :)

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