I still pinch myself whether this encounter actually happened, its unbelievable really and definitely reinforces the ideology that Japanese people are one or the kindness people on earth. Let me begin, I decided to go on a side trip to Bitchu-Takahashi north of Okayama which is known for its original castle high up in the mountain. Little did I know that my fortune that day was bad, it (sorry for my language) pissed down rain the moment I stepped out of the train station. There goes my hope of seeing the castle. Plan B, was just to try and roam around the area and still try and visit a few known temples and samurai districts here and there, the thing is the more I walked the more the rain got worst so I took refuge in what I thought was a temple. I walked in and the many people inside cleaning the place all glanced at me like “where did he come from?”, the place ended up being a house + headquarter kinda thing for the religion called Konkokyo. ^^
When I realized my mistake I quickly jotted outside and sat near the entrance in dismay. On the verge of running off somewhere else,there was suddenly a white cat there that started playing around with me and thats when the whole encounter started. One of the lady that was cleaning the shoe rack outside called a girl out (who ended up being the daughter of the priest) to talk to me (she’s a teacher and the only one that knows a bit of engrish), and keep me company. With a few words mix of english with japanese and sign language we manage to converse a bit, the lady and daughter asked questions like where I was from, age, occupation and what was my dream. When that was done, the folks inside prepared tea and invited me to join them, that was so surprising and awkward but they were curious about me and wanted to know more according to the daughter (I seriously must have been the only foreigner in the area). After that I thought okay I should leave but It seemed that they had assigned the daughter to like show me around the place and all. As time passed I decided to offer a hand in the cleaning, was the least I could do for they gratitude, ended up cleaning the Shouji (traditional sliding door) at the entrance. The head priest then showed me to his office where on his laptop was more about Konkokyo and what they do, he was very proud and happy to explain it to me and while he was explaining, the daughter and the rest of the ladies were cooking lunch! My goodness they even invited me for lunch and it was amazing, very traditional, we had to sit on our knees and had homemade hamburger and other assortment.
After all that, it was picture time, a memento of our encounter but also the daughter wanted to show it to her students in elementary school. Then I thought okay time to go given that some were leaving but guess what that wasnt the end, nope they even offered to bring me up to the castle which I told them about, we all took the car and drove up to the walking trail. The father, son and daughter led the way up while the wife stayed behind. Although it was raining they still insisted in bringing me. Because of them I was able to complete what I set aim for the day and that was to visit that castle sitting on that of that mountain. When the visit was over and time was near its end they brought me back to the station with a few stops along the way and we said farewell. Ive never met people as kind as them for the first encounter, Just thinking about it makes me happy. I promised them to visit again but with a better knowledge of japanese where we can properly converse. This encounter is very dear to me and I just wanted to let you know.