I went to Japan last night.
It was an adventure to Tokyo and Kyoto, Hiroshima and the Japanese Alps, tastes and textures and cultures and even the rejuvenating Japanese baths. I ventured thousands of miles away travelling through the prism of a dear friend’s eyes in her comfortable, suburban livingroom.
Marilyn, a gracious host and always a teacher, had just returned from her latest worldly adventures, which included an extended trip to Japan with schoolyard friends and new acquaintances from her childhood home of Hawaii. Always enriching the lives of others, she entertained several of us last night and once again expanded my view of the world.
We nibbled on appetizers and drinks as she shared pictures of friends and places both commonplace and exotic on the island of Japan as we browsed books of Japanese woodcuts, artwork and even pages from her traveling journal, each of us learning something new in our own way, and collectively enjoying Marilyn’s experiences – and each other’s presence.
We delighted in gifts of bookmarks, each as beautiful and graceful as the culture they represented, and reverted to schoolgirl glee in making our choices. I knew Marilyn was enjoying the gifting as much as were enjoying the gift.
A Japanese dinner followed at her serenely appointed table, where we were first instructed in the graceful art of not only using chopsticks, but, in making a “boat” out of the paper wrappers on which to rest the implements when not in use. We all made it through the salad course, chopsticks in hand, and I was inordinately pleased at my simple success.
Dessert was a continuation of tasty delights as our hostess took us back to Hawaii and Father Damian’s canonization to sainthood. Marilyn spoke with reverence about this priest, the “Apostle of Lepers” with a servant’s heart , her experience of visiting Kalaupapa on the island of Moloka’i, and her ancestral history there. I am certain that as she goes forth to speak to classes about Father Damian and his ministry in the late 1800′s that children will be awakened to yet another of all of our collective history and if even one heart is touched it will move our world to be a better place.