Personally, only after saying yes to the world, I opened up a lot. It did had many positive impacts on me.
Being the only son and the last in the list of 7 member family, I had many special privileges in my childhood. As with any Indian family back then, I will not even pick up my plate after eating, for those are considered to be my sister’s work.
I opened up only after I started my traveling outside India.
Back in those days, even when I was in college, forget salads, I hate even eating veggies.
I opened up once I started my traveling, and today I eat frogs, Snails, Sushi, Basashi (raw horse meat) etc.
What’s more. – Let’s Say Yes To The World
My first trip outside Chennai was in the beginning of 2001. And I still remember landing on the land of opportunities on the New Year, 2001. And two of my travel was on memorable dates, if the 01-01-2001 was to California, the Silicon Valley, 01-01-2010 was to Milan, the fashion city. But, little did I knew that one day I will settle in one of this Place!
From then on have been traveling extensively around the Globe, thanks to my job. But until today, the credit for most of my positive transformation, goes to my favorite place Japan, Land of The Rising Sun.
My first visit to Japan itself was very interesting.
Since I had the habit of keeping the Sacred ash [white power] on the forehead, I had it in a small pack in my baggage. While checking in airport, the customs officer saw it, and I was trying all circus to explain it to him. He was not convinced, finally, I took some and put it in my mouth to show him it does no harm. Even though they were checking me, the down to earth character of those officers really impressed me. They treat you with so much dignity. The overall checking went with lots of smile, talks & laughter.
That’s my baggage, a bit dark in color. Yes, its always a problem if you have one of those Samsonite back in those days! All look identical, which is yours?
When I visited Tokyo back in the early 2000s, we were given a color print out of the directions, stations including the color of the metro you are supposed to take. So much was their details that it is hard to make mistake, but who are we? We prove them wrong every time!!
I opened up to the fact that Japanese are the best in the world when it comes to helping others, even though the language is a big barrier.
It’s not just common people, but even the police and other public service staffs in there are very friendly. If you read this below incident you will also agree with me on what I just said.
Since it was my first experience with the Shinkansen trains [Japanese famous Bullet trains] I was trying to take a picture in front of it. Some habits seldom change, right?
And, its common to see Japanese in suits, and hence I tried to be a local – at least with the attire. While I was being clicked, I see the driver of the Shinkansen running towards me. I was actually taken back thinking if I had did something wrong, or have exceeded my allowed limits to be near the train. But, the reason he ran towards me was to place his cap on me with a beautiful smile which I can never forget in my life.
And the result was, yours truly became the first Indian Ticket collector in Japan station. Lol.
It’s not only the driver who was very friendly, but also the fellow passengers. Although it was difficult to interact due to the language, the hands & signs did help. Me a person who cannot keep silent, always use to pick up talks with the co-passengers. Who cares about the language as long as we have hands and signs. One such casual talk revealed that the Japanese girls loved the nail decoration.
While these were just the common people, I even had a very positive encounter with the Japanese Police. One night me and my friend have been escorted by the police, to our apartment. Reason? After a late dinner, we were having a casual walk around the Oimachi station near Tokyo where we have been staying. It was 12 midnight. And believe me, Japan is young even at midnight.
Since we did not have our passports handy – (who carries it to dinner?), the police came along with us to the apartment. While walking with us, they very talking very friendly. We were able to talk with our broken Japanese! Once reached, surprisingly they never entered our premises. They waited outside patiently until we got the passport out and showed to them. Once they are satisfied, I still remember the “Arigato Guzaimastha” gestures they were making. Yes, it’s their culture and habit to say thanks. But you do not expect it from police people, do you? But hey you are in Japan.
Young or Old, makes no difference when it comes to HELPING.
Japan subway stations are a maze. It has exits in not all 4 directions, but much more than that. In my first visit to Yokkaichi, a remote village in the south of Japan near Nagoya, I missed to take the correct exit and followed the color map for direction from that wrong exit. Only to find myself lost in the remote village on a late afternoon.
After walking around like 15 mins, I decided to ask someone. But since it was late afternoon, there was literally no one in that village. I noticed an old lady, must be in her late sixties. She was about to close her shop. And was cleaning in front of the shop. Being first time in the land, I had zero knowledge of their language. So just showed the paper in my hand to her.
Seeing it she immediately realized that I was in wrong place. She tried to explain me the situation and direction. But since I could not understand, I can clearly see the disappointment in her eyes. It said she was feeling bad that she can’t help. It was like, she was more worried than me.
Without any hesitation, she dropped the broom down, left the shop half-open, and walked in front of me. She turned and showed signs for me to follow her, literally guiding me next 10 mins only to make me reach in front of my hotel. She was very satisfied that she was able to help me out. In the end, she bowed saying thanks to me!!
As I was wondering about the hospitality, tears came out of my eyes. That is when I opened up myself to make sure that I help anyone who needs it.
Swach Bharat teaching from Japan!
Not just that, Japan had been the reason for many of my positive changes. It was also the reason why I started to keep the wrappers and litters in my pocket and not through it out just like that.
Japanese are not just friendly, they are also very good at making fun. One day, when we friends were walking to a shopping complex, we noticed an old lady on the road. Should be in the fifties, I think, was smoking in the street. One of my friend, with his broken Japanese, said “Sumimaasein [Excuse Me], smoking is bad.” making signs of smoking from the mouth to the air using his hand.
The lady immediately responded “Mondai naai [No problem], my mother…. [is] 80 years old….. Stilllll smoking, noooo problem!…”. The highlight was the way she showed signs of smoking making fun of my friend’s gesture he made a few moments ago. You should have to see the laughing session we had on that day.
There are plenty of memorable things that comes back to my mind when I start thinking of Japan. Even now, I am unable to control the excitement when thinking of Japan. Sharing all those excitement may need a couple of more post to share. 🙂
Definitely, I would have missed all these memories, had I not said Yes To The World!!
I wish to end this post with such happy mood but then they are also more important facts in our lives.
Realization of Life.
One of such is the visit to a place called Pompei, in Italy. Even though I have visited almost all the tourist’s spots in Italy, I think I will write about this place from Italy.
Not because it is a beautiful place. But it carries a beautiful life lesson – no matter what you do, NATURE is the master. You live on the earth as long as mother nature wants you to be. You never knew when is your last breathe!
When I first saw about this place in the documentary I could not digest the amount of pain these people should have gone through when the Volcanoes erupted. You can clearly see that they died almost instantly during their normal routine.
I always remember this place whenever I get into some troubles. The pain these people went through, makes me think that there is nothing painful in what I feel today. So, I try to relax myself.
As everything has two sides, this volcano and lava also have. If the Pompei showed the sorrow feelings, then Mount Etna in Catania recorded a different memory. While it was sad to see such sad incidents, on the other hand, the visit to Mount Etna, one of the active volcano in Italy, gave a different perspective of Lava. Yes, I had a chance to visit inside one of the lava cave.
The formation of the Lava cave is a very interesting fact.
The lava that flows from the mountain when passing through the obstacles, or valley, keep thrown away and slowly due to temperature difference it solidifies. This process continues and slowly a layer is formed from both side, and subsequent lava flows keep adding to this layer and finally completes the formation.
Inside the cave, it is cold rather than hot or warm climate. The reason is, the morning mist is captured in the lava, and since it is porous, it retains these mist and result is the inside of the cave is always very cold.
Since the lava provided excellent protection from heat, olden days these caves were used as storage for ice. Once Shepards visited such caves with ice storage and used the orange they had in hand, squeezed it over the snow/ice and just found the famous Gelato icecream.
Never ever thought that a cave formed by Lava will be so interesting.
All these were possible ONLY because I said Yes To The World.
So, never ever worry if you land in a new place. Never worry if you do not know the local language. Be yourself. All the circus you do with your hands and sign language will make the trip more memorable. After all, if everything went as planned and organized, then what’s fun? You do need a surprise element in life.
As someone rightly said, life is not a Museum, to have everything in order. Its life, it cannot be in order.
In my opinion, a travel around the world should never be so so organized. It should bring in surprise!
So always Say Yes To The World! Travel.