The Massive Disaster in Japan and Performing in Poland (3)

The Director of the Manggha Museum and her staff decided to set up a donation box to raise funds for the victims of the great disasters in Japan. Approximately 300,000 yen (more than US$3,600) was collected. Most of the members of the audience were university students and young people, so it was especially meaningful that they gave so much. Can you imagine such warm kindness? It was heartwarming.

After our encore, speaking as a representative of Japan, I thanked the audience in Japanese. Holding their money in my hands, I promised that I would deliver their generous donation to the affected area or to a relief organization.

I also promised that, after Japan recovered from the disaster, I would go back to Krakow in order to give a performance as my way of thanking them. They gave me a big round of applause. I vowed in my heart that absolutely I would go back…

The previous evening, our group was invited to a reception at the residence of the American consul. The wife of the Consul was eager to have us Japanese for dinner, and we all went.

The Consul’s wife had originally planned to have only the eight of us who had come from Japan. But because important people in Krakow knew about the terrible disaster in Japan, more than fifty people gathered.

The American Consul spoke about the current situation in Japan as a result of the disaster, saying, “Let’s support the revival of Japan.” He also asked the guests to make donations.

To show our appreciation, we performed shinnai, and also Japanese traditional dance and shakuhachi music. I gave a brief speech, thanking them.

All the countries in the world have offered support, but especially many Poles love Japan, and were deeply concerned about the great disaster. While I was in Poland, I could feel their anxiety.

We’ll never forget these impressive experiences in Krakow.

After the rehearsal, we returned from the hall to our hotel. When we got to the hotel, we started to pay the taxi driver. The driver, who was probably in his forties, said to us, “Japan has had a big disaster. The fare isn’t much, but anyway you don’t have to pay me. Please make every effort to restore your country.”

I was speechless. I was astonished. I was moved. One of the women in our group cried. What a warm heart! This wasn’t an ordinary thing to do. I don’t know if I could do what he did if I were in his situation. I don’t know if I could express my feelings by giving a donation like that.

After we thanked the driver and got out of the cab, I was thinking about the driver’s warm heart. At the same time, I felt somewhat embarrassed.

A result of this experience was that my view of life changed a little. This beautiful experience remains alive in my heart.

(continued in the fourth installment)

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