Japan Tales: Random Acts of Kindness in Japan

January 28, 2016

Each time I travel, one of the many things I wonder is the safety of each place. To illustrate, I felt safer in Singapore than in Malaysia for example. It's not because there are more axe murderers in Malaysia than Singapore but it's a feeling inside me that I will forever have trouble explaining about.

But to date, Japan has beaten all countries I visited. Many times, I came home to my hotel super late in the cold winter night and never felt safer. There are no men drinking beers outside to harass you. Not even construction workers to catcall you. There may not be too many people outside when it's late but it is still safe. How cool that can be?

Today, I am going to write about my (mis) adventures in Japan and how the people I met has given me hope that faith in humanity can be restored. I entered them as a note in my Iphone as I travel so I won't forget them. I also have shared them in my Instagram posts.

Random Act of Kindness# 1:

I witnessed how Japanese people put so much pride on honesty. On the day I arrived in #Fukouka from #Tokyo I took the train and got off at Hakata Station. I didn't take a cab as taxis are way expensive in Japan. Not knowing where to go from there as my hotel didn't respond on telling me directions, I had to take a good look on a map just outside the JR Hakata station with all my things with me (winter jackets, passport, luggage, etc).

Then suddenly, a middle aged man approached me and said "Hello". I gave him a shy smile as perhaps maybe he just wants to say hello but I wasn't in the mood for a chat as I have a more important mission to find -- my hotel! He then reached out to give me my brown body bag shown in this photo containing my wallet, passports and all the good things in my life! I was so embarrassed and elated at the same time. All I said was a simple "Arigato" to thank this man.

I could probably end up in the streets after that incident if not for that man. I will forever be grateful. Arigato, Japan. You are truly an exceptional country for everyone to learn something out of the ordinary and extraordinary.

Random Act of Kindness# 2:
I continued to search for my hotel in Fukouka through the huge map at JR Hakata Station with no luck. After I recovered my body bag containing my passport, wallet and everything else you can imagine, I got so confused and frustrated as it appears to have two hotels with the same name in Fukouka. Then as I continue my journey, I saw a sign: Police Station.

I headed to the station and asked this policeman who tried his best to tell me my hotel's exact location. He even took out a map, draw the direction I should go to and gave it to me with a big smile. And you should know after that I found my hotel. I never felt safe anywhere during my travels except in Japan, IMHO.

Random Act of Kindness# 3:

As I struggle to find my accommodation during my first night in Japan, I ended up asking this guy who happened to be standing near the road. Twas 9pm and very cold night. My landmark is a hospital called Sakura Hospital but I walked and walked till I find myself at the very end of the road and he was there just standing.

He barely spoke English but he did something unexpectedly as he knew I already walked a distance and would be impossible for me to find it. He took his bicycle and signaled we can walk together till the we find the hospital. And we did! I realized in Japan, everyone wants to help though there is a challenge in communication.

Have you ever felt so helpless then a stranger saved your from the rut you were in? I love stories like this. One act of kindness can surely change the world!


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