Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Small Acts of Kindness

Tonight, despite having a great day overall, I felt angry once I arrived at the train station. It was one of those times where I just felt mad. Mad at myself, mad at Japan, mad at the weather, mad at the world. I wanted to hit the next passerby and cry all at once. 

Things only went downhill for me emotionally when I arrived at my bike to find that a large wind gust had blown it down along with the bikes beside it. I knew that the logical way to get it upright from underneath the neighboring bike under which it was now pinned was to treat it like a tangled necklace. But, like most of us when we see a tangled necklace, patience was the furthest thing from my mind. Screw logic. 

I began tugging angrily at the bike, which was hopelessly tangled up with its neighbor in what seemed like a penthouse-worthy tryst of bike lovin'. As I began to make strange noises expressing my frustration, a Japanese man ran over to me and asked me if I was okay, and began helping me with the bike. His act of kindness quickly jolted me back to reality. I felt like an idiot for my public display of impatient lunacy. Not only did he lift up my bike for me, but he lovingly untangled the three bikes beside mine which had fallen over. His caring gesture was infectious, and I instantly began to help him. He started speaking to me in Japanese, and I felt pretty awesome for understanding some of it.

Quick side note: in the past two days alone, three Japanese people have told me that my Japanese is amazing. Doing so has just instilled in me what I believe is a completely false sense of confidence, but at least now I try to use what little of the language I know. 

So after the man who helped me hopped on his bike and wished me good luck, a massive gust of wind blew over the three bikes we worked so hard to straighten up. They of course took out my bike, knocking it hard on the ground. If I hadn't been cheered up to such a high level, I would have been fuming. But another amazing thing happened. An elderly little Japanese man rushed over to help me with my bike. It was such a seemingly simple act of kindness, but it made me so cheerful! He and I worked to pick up my bike and those which had fallen over. Such a simple way to bond with your fellow human being!

So, I want to thank those two men for their acts of kindness today which taught me how much of a difference such seemingly small things can make. 

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