I was born and raised in the countryside of Japan in 1970s. Of course, there was no internet back then and international knowledge from around the world was exceedingly limited. Despite the lack of understanding of the outside world, I was always fascinated about different civilizations, especially Western culture. I always imagined what kind of world lay beyond my small hometown and even the shores of Japan, an island nation which had been isolated from the rest of the world for so long.
One day, when I came back from school, my mother gave me special U.S stamps. They were omiyage (souvenirs) from her friend who had just gone to America for her business trip. When I saw the stamps, I determined that someday when I grew up, I would travel to many countries and meet many people and see interesting scenic landscapes.
When I was ten years old, my family went to Kyoto for a family vacation. I saw a man in front of a temple wearing a very unusual big hat. He did not look like a typical Japanese person, so I knew he was a gaijin-san. (foreigner) I wanted to take a picture with him, but I did not know how to communicate with him. I knew the word, “picture” and “please” so I asked him, “Picture please.” He understood me, and he said yes! He pointed to himself and said, “Mexico.” So I believe he was a tourist from Mexico. It was another eye-opening experience, making me become more curious about other cultures.
A job that required traveling overseas would enable me to be involved internationally, so I got a job as a travel tour conductor. This offered me many opportunities to travel to many places with my clients. I was always on the go even on my own time. Whenever I could save enough money and buy airplane tickets, I grabbed my passport and camera with my backpack, and enjoyed exploring new places.
When we travel, especially after visiting from one city to the next, every day or every other day, having to board trains, buses and airplanes while carrying luggage, eventually we need to be home again. For all of the excitement and adventure, there is the feeling of not belonging, but only passing through. At first there is the new and fascinating, but then homesickness often settles in. Although those cross-culture experiences made my life richer and I still enjoy traveling, after a while apart from my home, I need to come back to my own cozy home. I feel relaxed and comfortable in my own bed because my home is the place where I belong.
In the same way, I should live in this world as a stranger and traveler because my current home on the planet is only a temporary place. My real home is not of this world. Each one of us ought to remember that we are just passing through. I am a life traveler, coming and going, but not truly belonging here. My actual home is up above.
I have encountered a beautiful variety of people from all around the world, with all sorts of clothing and customs, food and languages and cultures. Even while our skin color and cultures are not the same, after all, we are all human beings, created in God’s own image. There is no culture or language barrier when we go back to our “home.”
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
Revelation 7:9-10 (ESV)
©2018 thenarrowbamboogate.com All rights reserved.