Saturday, November 28, 2009

An “accidental” encounter

I arrived to Miyazaki city late at night and my host met me near the station. She was a 33 year old psychiatrist originally from India and recently living in California. She received a grant to do research in Miyazaki International College and so she came to Japan to teach and research. It was an immense pleasure to stay with Prerna. She is an intellectual with strong opinions on subjects and I felt challenged to talk to her (which is a very good thing).

The weather has been on and off recently but we got lucky that weekend with bright sunshine and warm rays. And so we decided to visit Aoshima town which is popular for its shrine located on a beach. Little did I know that morning that Destiny, in its mysterious and wondrous ways, has already started to arrange a consequential meeting.

The shrine was a completely new encounter for me. I got quiet used to seeing shrines against the background of tall mountains, green forests and busy cities. But the pervasive red Tori looked extraordinary against the backdrop of vast blue sea.

Surfers next to the shrine

Naturally, Prerna and I wanted to take a picture of ourselves and so I asked a guy standing nearby whom I noticed a little while before. He persistently followed us at some distance. I figured he was a Japanese man interested in practicing his English with us (I encounter such people every so often). Since he did not pursued to start a conversation due to his shyness, I decided to take action.

Sumimasen (excuse me) I said to him wanting to ask to take a picture of Prera and me. Oh, I don’t speak Japanese he immediately replied in good English. And this is how I met Keyu.

Keyu is a 26 year old journalist from Beijing. He was in Miyazaki on a conference and since it finished earlier that morning he had two days to explore the area. Somewhat shy, the three of us asked questions and learned about each other. Keyu ended up spending the whole afternoon with us.

The following day Prerna had to go to the university and she gave me a few suggestions what to see while she’s out. Keyu didn’t know anything about the area so he asked to join me. I met with him at 10:30am at the main station and we set off on a two hour bus journey to Nichinan. Learning about each other, our lives, our worlds, travels, likes and dislikes, political and religious views, dreams and aspirations, and much more, we found ourselves bonding tightly with each passing second. Nichinan was beautiful: a magnificent Udo Shrine built in a cave on a cliff of the sea and Easter Island Moai replicas were a site to see. But even more so our friendship was growing. We laughed at each other jokes, told sad stories, spoke of our families and friends, took silly pictures, climbed forbidden forest paths, shared delicious lunch, taught each other our languages, found out the significant meanings of our names, slept on each other shoulders on the way back to Miyazaki, played taiko drums in arcade, ran around the city looking for ramen shops, made plans to meet again, drank beer and cocktails in sad anticipation of departure, held each other in tight embrace at the station late at night because we just couldn’t let go.

That day, I have met a wonderful person who has become a close friend within a few short hours.

1 comment:

  1. this is one of those moments, me sitting in my office having no real purpose. A good time to visit Khayas blog, which I must admit, havent visited before :) Its good to see your doing fine and found your way out of Nagasaki :) enjoy yourself for the time being and don't forget to buy a jacket in thailand ;)

    ill tell you my short trip to okinawa this weekend after i come back