It is my intention to soon be launching an English language-instruction website, where I will be providing English-language learning opportunities to non-English-speaking lawyers and other professionals, via Skype. I love teaching - I've always been a teacher! This initiative will allow me to incorporate both my love of the law along with my love of teaching.
It appears that throughout Japan (and the Far East, for that matter), there is a palpable recognition and acceptance of the importance of learning and knowing the English language. English is truly everywhere! Most business people whom I met, were able to maintain with me, at the least, a very basic conversation in English.
|With Maître Akihide Nagira of Akasak-Aoi Law Office, Tokyo|
|A get-anything vending machine!|
|My 'Japanese-style' yarmulke - Loved by everyone!|
Notwithstanding, to the credit of everyone there, I was never ever made to feel uncomfortable or not accepted. No staring, no impolite words and never any rude behaviour. On the contrary, when possible and appropriate, people were curious to find out more about me and my life.
|With a memorable shopkeeper in Hakone|
And the graceful manner of greeting one another! How poised and respectful it is to bow politely to each other upon meeting! Took me a while to get used to it, but by the time that I was ready to return home to Canada, I was bending my head just as well as I got it!
|Mr Hisanobu Higuchi, CEO of Ishou Keikaku Inc|
|My sorry meal...and his feast!|
Usually, he would be partaking of a delectable, artistically prepared and visually-enticing bento, while I unpacked my kosher whole-wheat and mozzarella cheese sandwich, packaged in aluminium foil! A different person might have been easily put-off by my refusal to share in the same (national and ethnic) foods as his host, but not only was Mr Higuchi not offended, he was sympathetic and cooperative. He even arranged kosher foods and meals for me, as much as is possible in Japan. [No surprise here, but not much of a demand for kosher food in Japan!]
Of course we both live and partake in the same Western culture, but as I learned, 'Western culture' can be very huge with many differences between different regions.
Tokyo - close your eyes for a moment and you can imagine that you are in Manhattan! The public infrastructure, the transit system, the commercial and business life, the cosmopolitan people - I won't enumerate every incredible development and great aspect, but suffice it to say that for a country that was severely crushed during the last great war, they have really risen to incredible heights now.
|At the site where the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima|
Thus, as a child of survivors, I feel a special closeness and empathy towards Japan and her people. I saw with my own eyes how Japan has been rebuilt after it's own destruction and desolation of WWll.
I travelled with my Japanese host and friend to Hiroshima, to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the Children's Peace Monument and the Peace Memorial Museum, in order to learn about and share the pain and burden of the Hiroshima and Japanese people. And while there, I was also reminded and felt the pain of my own Jewish people, who was sadly ravaged and lost six million innocent lives on the other front.