Our neighborhood is very interesting. It is hilly and has winding roads. There are lots of forks in the road. Every day I check the weather app and look out the window. If the weather and ash are ok, I go for a thirty minute brisk walk. I usually stick with familiar neighborhood streets. Today I decided to venture further on roads I had not seen before. At first there was a steady climb up, then a dip down, then a hill, a curve, and many forks in the road. As I walked these unfamiliar roads I tried to look back from time to time and remember what the direction home looked like. I really enjoyed the new view, and the roads I chose were a little less busy with cars. There were a few people out walking their dogs, or taking their garbage to the “gomi” spot. I greeted each one, “Ohaiyo gozaimasu” (Good morning). I walked a little further than I had planned. I looked at my watch and it was past time to retrace my steps. Oh, now there’s the challenge. For some reason the roads looked totally different to me in each direction. Even down in the town. Maybe it’s the lighting or something. It always looks different to me. That was true this morning. If my walk was straight up the hill, then I would return straight down the hill. But here, the road goes up and down. When I came back to the forks in the road they didn’t look familiar, even though I had walked by them minutes earlier. So, I was faced with choices, do I turn left (hidari), or right (migi), or go straight (masugu)? Is this the place I have to go up the hill a little, or is it where I go down the hill a little bit? So many choices. It is always wonderful to have choices, but not when you’re feeling a little lost. I said a quick prayer, “Heavenly Father, help me to use good judgement in making choices, knowing which way to go, who to talk to, and what to say.” In my inadequate baby Japanese I asked a lady at a stop sign, who luckily had her car window down, “Where is the big taxi office?” (Oki takushi ofuisu) and pointed this way or that way? She answered “Wakarimasen, sumimasen,” (I don’t know. I’m sorry). So, on my own, I took more wrong turns, hoping they were right. After a couple of more streets I asked directions from a man who was outside for his morning smoke. He didn’t speak English, so he ran into his house to grab a pen, paper, and a cell phone. Again in my baby Japanese I said “Oki Takushi Ofuisu . . . watakshi no uchi→nishisakamoto-cho.” I pantomimed “Taxi office, my home.” After looking at his cell phone map he motioned me to follow him. I apologized for inconveniencing him “Ojama shimasu, sumimasen.” We briskly walked several blocks with a couple of twists and turns. At an intersection, he pointed the direction. I thanked him, “Domo arigato gozaimasu” and we both went our ways. I could probably never find his home again to take him a “thank you fruit bag” but wish I could. So, I followed the road, which now seemed familiar at times, and finally came to the big taxi office and parking lot full of taxis. I had a moment of panic because from this particular corner it didn’t look the same. When I turned the corner and saw the other part of the taxi parking lot I felt relief at finally seeing the part I actually recognized. At this point I was a few blocks from home, back into familiar territory. In the future I need to carry our little flip phone and a paper with my address on it.
At home I thanked Heavenly Father for the help and guidance to know what to do, and for the kind man who helped me find my way home.
In life there are many twists and turns, ups and downs, and choices. It is important to turn to people who have our spiritual well-being in mind, such as Heavenly Father, our church leaders, our parents, our teachers. It is important to be open and in tune with their guidance, and to take appropriate action on their counsel. We are so lucky to have so many that care about our temporal and spiritual well-being.
P.S. Another small miracle occurred. I asked Glenn to walk back with me to find the man’s house. I wanted to give him a thankyou note and bag of nuts and crackers. Somehow I was able to retrace my steps and find him. We found his home! He was very surprised to see us. What a nice family. A happy ending to my morning adventure.
A fork in the road. Do I go left or right?
Three forks in the road.
Choice: do I go left up the hill, or right, down the hill?
This is a less busy road, new to me. You can see how the neighbor hoods are built on hills.
Another fork in the road. Left, uphill, or right, downhill.
This is the unfamiliar view of the large taxi office.
This is the more familiar view of the taxi office (opposite corners) on our street.
This building had multiple apartments. The blue car on the end doesn't have room to park so they tore off the front door, and back the car into the entry genkan.
Another view of the torn front door.
The kind man who helped me find my way home. We covered part of his face for privacy reasons.
Another view of our wonderful volcano, Sakurajima.