The rainy day when I experienced Saikeirei
When was the last time you were ever touched by someone’s kindness, that you had no words to describe how grateful you were to them?
It was early morning when I checked out of the hostel I was staying in to explore the unfamiliar place. While walking in the random streets of Hakone, I could see the clouds covering the sky and slight drizzle fall on me. Enjoying the drizzle, I continued walking on the road by the river, with a very beautiful view.
As I walked I saw a tiny waterfall at a distance, and that’s when I knew where I wanted to go. After walking for a few minutes, when I could no longer see the waterfall, I found myself in front of a huge hotel. I went up to the security guard of the hotel and asked him about the waterfall, in my broken Japanese. He smiled and showed me the way to the waterfall, which was on the hotel’s premises.
The waterfall looked just like the human nervous system- forming from all directions- the water accumulating into a tiny pond with many colorful fishes, the ducks and their quacking, and the small temple right next to the fall; it was indeed a view. I took my own time to absorb this peaceful sight and didn’t realize the drizzle turning into a heavy downpour.
I rushed out of the place looking for shelter from the rain when the security guard stopped me and in his limited English vocabulary asked me if I had an umbrella. Covering myself with my hoodie, I smiled and said no. He asked me to wait and went to the parking area. After a minute, I saw him rushing towards me with something in his hand. Something I needed at that moment. Not in very good shape, but the umbrella he handed me was more priceless than any other I could have got from a store. He smiled and offered me the umbrella and said “Please take it. It will rain even more heavily later.”
Touched by his kindness, I grabbed it and bowed to him, but I knew this was not enough. I wanted him to know how grateful I felt and remembered the gift I had got for my friends back in Kyoto. I took out the box of Hakone eggs and offered it to him. He hesitated, while I insisted on him taking it. He took my gift and placed his hands on the side, and bowed at 45 degrees, which in Japanese culture is called Saikeirei. I had always read about this, but when I actually experienced it, my heart couldn’t stop smiling :)