Many of us may have experienced getting lost in a foreign land and needing assistance from a local person. In most cases, we thank the kind soul who lent us a helping hand, but have you ever received thanks from the person who helped you instead?
A Taiwanese tourist recently shared that during his visit to Osaka, he sought help from a Japanese man, who not only spent over 30 minutes making sure the foreign visitors made it safely to their destination, he even thanked the tourists for their help instead. Find out why after the break!
▼ The Taiwanese traveler made a Facebook post about his experience getting lost, helped, and thanked.
It was already past 10 when we arrived at Osaka last night. Just as we were trying to figure out our way out of the station, we encountered a Japanese salaryman who reeked of alcohol. Initially, we thought that we were standing in his way, as we were standing side by side on the escalator (in Osaka it’s the norm to stand on the right side of the escalator) having a discussion with our travel guidebook in hand.
The man spoke to us in fluent English and guided us out of the station even though we couldn’t speak English very well and weren’t sure if we were explaining ourselves well enough. He was worried that we were too late to check-in at our hotel, so he contacted the hotel on our behalf, and then patiently told us how to get to the hotel, but he saw that we had some difficulty understanding him, so he kindly took us all the way to the hotel (near Nagahoribashi Station).
The hotel wasn’t very far away, but it wasn’t a short distance either. We had taken up about half an hour of his time, and when we were about to part ways, we deeply thanked the man for his help, but instead he said, “Thank you, Taiwan, for helping Japan! You guys are great!” When I heard his words…tears welled up in my eyes, and it wasn’t because I was having an eye infection. I was truly moved. It never occurred to me that people could help others so selflessly. It’s an example we really ought to learn from!
Japan and Taiwan (Republic of China) have shared strong ties for many years despite their ongoing dispute over fishing territories and the less friendly relations Japan has with mainland China. When the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, Taiwan generously contributed a combined monetary aid totaling over US$252 million from the government and various private organizations, and also sent rescue teams and essential supplies such as blankets, foods, clothes, and sleeping bags to the affected areas.
Although four years have passed since the devastating disaster, many Japanese have kept the incident close to their hearts, and have been expressing their appreciation and gratitude for the help Japan had received. In response to the Facebook post, many Taiwanese left comments detailing the heartwarming encounters they experienced when they visited Japan.
“In March, when we were having our photograph taken at Asakusa, a middle-aged Japanese man came over to express his thanks. He also gave his best wishes to Kaohsiung. That was a really touching moment.” – Shu-Hsin Ke
“A group of eight of us entered a small restaurant in Kumamoto, and when the owner realized that we were from Taiwan, he treated us to generous servings of kushiyaki and sake. At the end of the night, the owner and all his staff took off their head-cloths and aprons and gifted them to us.” – Jessie Chang
“When a friend and I visited Shizuoka Prefecture, we arrived at the station at past 9 p.m. and couldn’t find our hotel. We encountered a middle-aged Japanese man who drove us all the way to the hotel even though it was a 20-minute drive and his home was in the opposite direction. He even carried our suitcases for us. We were extremely moved by his kindness.” – Hakuna Matata
▼ Mita Chen shared a photo of a message from Enoden Kamakura Station’s station master, welcoming Taiwanese visitors to Kamakura, and thanking Taiwan for their tremendous help.
▼ An-an shared a photo of a long letter from Yoshika, a guesthouse and restaurant located in Okinawa, expressing heartfelt gratitude and calling Taiwan a “friend” and “brother of Asia”.
In times of disaster, many of us aren’t hesitant to lend a little help in whatever way we can, whether in the form of monetary aid or donations of food or clothing. We don’t usually expect the disaster victims to give anything in return, but when these acts of kindness come full circle at a personal level, it’s especially heartwarming, even if we weren’t the ones who experienced it.