November 19th, 2010 by John
What were you doing on Respect for Elders Day (09/20)? Well, I was out walking in my neighborhood. At one point, I saw an older Japanese man, I thought in his 80s, who was being followed by a man with a large video camera, a man carrying a tripod, and one man carrying one of those sound boom microphones. I figured it was Japan, land of the Sony video camera, so I simply greeted him. I greet nearly everyone I meet walking through the neighborhood, as it is better for a giant to be friendly, so I figured why not greet him. Greetings like in most cultures are just exchanging pleasantries, “Hello, nice weather today” or something like that.
After we exchanged a few comments, he mentioned to me that he was 100 years old and he was going to a party for him at our community center on this Respect for Elders Day holiday. I congratulated him so achieving such a wonderful milestone and wished him a good time during his celebration. Just then, one of the video entourage jumped into the conversation and requested if I might greet him this centenarian again, this time in English. “The director” explained that the man was very skilled in English. I agreed, turned around to my starting point, and like in high school drama class proceeded to do the scene again, this time in English. The conversation went as well and he did have a good command of English. All this time as well the camera was rolling.
I thought it was providential that I would have met this man at this corner at that moment with the video crew in tow. It helped me understand more deeply the importance of the Respect of Elders Day holiday. Japan has the world’s largest percentage of people over 100 years old.
Well it is now weeks later and someone just told me that I was on TV the other day, just briefly as I walked across the screen. I guess people who know me would recognize me as I tend to stand out. But I thought this was odd that I was on TV. It pays to know people over 100, and it pays to Respect them, and it also is important to greet those around us. I am sure Jesus would have.
Respect for Elders Day is the fourth Monday of September and is a Japanese national holiday.