Have you ever heard that Bible parable about the Good Samaritan? I remember my Mom reading it to me as a little boy. I was reminded of it after having a pretty cool experience in Tokyo:
“A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him ‘Take care of this man. If the bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.'”
Luke 10: 30-37; The New Living Translation (Just how many translation of the Bible are there? Geez!)
Okay, so maybe I wasn’t robbed and left for dead…not even close…but I was having the hardest time finding this place that was tucked away in the backstreets of Tokyo and needed help.
I had given myself extra time just in case I needed to find this place; I know map directions and I don’t get along so well. I was actually headed to get the details about my Sony audition*. I stopped at a couple of shops to see if someone could look at my map and help me get my bearing again. I knew I was close but it was a little tricky.
My fourth stop was a department store. I asked one of the workers for some help. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to help me. I thanked her for trying, and kept looking. As I was walking away I heard a voice behind me say “Do you need help?” I turned around to see a taller-than-average Japanese man, maybe mid twenties, carrying a plastic convenience store bag, smiling at me. “Yes.” I replied. He took out his smart phone and used the Google Maps feature to help pinpoint where we were and where we were supposed to go. “Please follow me.” I know the whole rule about talking to strangers, but I didn’t want to be late, and this being Japan and all (one of the safest countries you can be in)…I followed him.
As we walked, the man pulled out a can of espresso tea and handed it to me, saying “Here, I have two.” Walking and drinking espresso tea, we had some small talk in English. He asked some basic questions like where I was going, where I from, etcetera. I was really grateful he took the time to help me.
Even with Google Maps, we had a hard time finding the place, but honestly, I wasn’t upset…not even a little. I knew we were closer, but were having trouble finding this one landmark on the map. I saw this kind looking couple (also in their mid twenties) and asked them to help us. The man looked at the map, and then at his girlfriend and said he knew where the place was. The man, his girlfriend, the guy I met earlier, and I all walked together on the “Quest for Donald’s Audition.”
Have you ever played the Final Fantasy Games? In those games, which are Japanese by the way, you’re always traveling by yourself and you run into people along the way that join your party and help you fight to save the world from destruction*. It kinda felt like that, minus the swords, guns, and the whole fight to save the world from destruction part.
In the end we got lost again, and I decided to call the agency I was meeting with (probably should’ve done that in the first place). While the other three were looking at the map, I got directions from where we were standing. We were literally only about two minutes away. I figured I could handle it from here. I thanked the couple for walking with us, and the first man I met walked with me to make sure I got to my destination. We finally did make it there. “What’s your name?” I asked the man. He turned, smiled at me, and whispered “Jesus” as he dissipated into thin air.
HAHAHA! No…I’m joking, his name wasn’t Jesus. You don’t run into too many of those in Japan. It was a much more Japanese name: Yasuyuki. I made sure to exchange information with him. I’ve been in this situation before, where somebody will take time from what they’re doing just to help me, and I miss the chance to make a new friend out of it. But not this time.
Yasu, I really appreciate you helping me, bro. To the kind Japanese couple, I didn’t get your names, but thank you, too!