My first job out of college was working for a company that sold Japanese machinery. My days were filled with typing letters to men with names like Mr. Yoshikawa, Mr. Miyake, Mr. Nishijima & Mr. Tanaka.
I made many travel arrangements for my bosses to travel to Japan.
During the time I worked for this company, we had numerous Japanese visitors including a young man who came for a month for training purposes. He brought with him several different types of Japanese food and shared them with us. I remember my boss wanted to send him home with a gift from America and his choice was a pair of cowboy boots :).
At this job I became friends with a co-worker.
He travelled to Japan often.
Our friendship turned to dating.
Not long after we began to date he went to Japan for a month.
It seemed like a loong month back then, but he returned bearing beautiful gifts from Japan and lots of pictures to share.
Seven months later he popped the question and we were married the following year.
When we were married we received beautiful gifts from many of the Japanese people we were associated with through work.
The Japanese people have a "gift" for gift giving.
Throughout the years of our marriage my husband has travelled to Japan several times. He was able to experience many different aspects of the Japanese culture.
Like the rest of the world we have been watching the devastating news from Japan with such heaviness in our hearts. We are reminded of the people from that country who have crossed our paths and send up prayers for their safety.
One final thought:
My old boss is now my father-in-law. Now in his early 80s he still keeps in touch with Mr. Nishijima. I recently got an e-mail from my father-in-law who told me that he & Mr. Nishijima spoke to each other on Skype and that while he felt the earthquake, he and his family are safe.
The vision of these two elderly business associates making contact this way somehow warms my heart.
The pictures on this post were taken in my yard and neighborhood. I found gardening and walking to be a good diversion from the heaviness of the news this weekend.