Friday afternoon. It’s been a rainy, rainy week in NYC. And, to top it off, I left our very nice, large umbrella in a taxi on Wednesday — how frustrating! I often get a receipt from the taxi driver, just in case…. but I did not get a receipt from that taxi, so needless to say, there is no chance that umbrella will ever make its way back to us. After all, we are no longer in Tokyo….
In Tokyo, more often than not, if you leave something in a taxi, in the subway station, etc., the chances of your getting that something back are astonishingly high. If you could retrace your steps, you could usually retrieve your lost item. The Japanese culture is just that way. If you dropped a glove, for example, a passerby might see your item, realize it’s dropped from someone’s pocket, and therefore place it safely somewhere nearby so you could then find it upon your return. We had a friend who left an envelope full of money in a taxi. The taxi driver found it, found her, and returned the envelope. And, it happened to us: Jack was visiting soon after we moved to Tokyo. We took a taxi from our apartment building to the train station because we were leaving town for a weekend trip. As it so happened, the small camera that Jack had put in his pocket fell out in the taxi, and we had hurriedly gotten out, running into the train station in order to make the train. (Heading out of town on a train trip, it never seemed to vary from this: we were usually later than we should have been leaving the apartment for the train station, and invariably we would hit traffic on the way there. Upon arrival we would bolt out of the taxi, run into the train station like the crazed gaijins (foreigners) that we were, and more often than not, we’d make the train with one second to spare. Not always, mind you, but that’s another story!) It wasn’t until we were well on our way to Kyoto that Jack realized that his camera was nowhere to be found, and he hoped he had just left it at the apartment. So, we were gone for about three days, returned by train to Tokyo, entered our apartment, and Jack searched right away for his camera. When he couldn’t find it, he realized he had possibly dropped it in the taxi. About that time, our doorbell rang. It was the doorman of our apartment building, standing there with the camera. The taxi driver had discovered the left-behind-camera in his taxi and, knowing he’d never be able to find us in the train station, he then drove back to our apartment from whence we’d come, returning the camera to our doorman, who was now standing there with the “lost” camera! Let me just say, there are many aspects to living in Tokyo that we do miss!
Sometimes it helps to regroup, to take stock of your situation. I do not intend to demean New York at all by stating the obvious: if you leave something in a taxi, or if you drop something in the subway or on the sidewalk, you will undoubtedly never see that item again. If you do the same thing in Tokyo, you’d probably be treated royally and have that item hand-delivered to you by a gloved doorman. That said, I am so thankful to be in New York at this point in time. New York has been very good to us, as the saying goes. Is there a saying? If not, there should be. We’ve been treated very well by many folks, and by those who know why we are here, we receive even more TLC. We feel much more at-home here than we ever would have thought possible.
Last Saturday while Jack was here, we all went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art — it was a great way to spend the day, ending with an excellent meal at a nearby favorite Indian restaurant, Amma. Then on Sunday afternoon we went to the musical, “Catch Me If You Can” — the same story of the movie by that title, but it turned out to be a very entertaining musical. Just goes to show you, like Les Miserables, a musical can be created from unexpected sources.
In case you are unaware of this fact, there are apparently some people out there who believe the predictions that tomorrow is the end of the world. I suppose if it is then that’s okay, because we can’t do one darn thing about it (but make sure that you are right with God, of course!). But, if it’s not (and I tend to belong to that line of thinking), I’m hoping for the return of sunny weather and that we’ll be able to work out a clear and uncomplicated plan of action for returning to our former lives. Rob is quite anxious to get back to “normal” — rightly so! He’s been on a wild ride.
I Peter 4: 7-8 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].
Same passage from The Message (verses 7-11): Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time.