That was a fun and joyful read.

I live in Japan, more precisely Okinawa Island. The culture here is different. Most neighbors just sneak by to get to or from work. You rarely see another face around our apartment complex.

Occasional meetings are dictated by the usual politeness, bowing slightly and greeting each other with a “good morning”, “good day” or “good evening”, before each goes their merry way.

Except for one family.

I think the father of the household — a man in his forties, just a decade older than me — has taken a liking to me, probably because I’m a foreigner.

But from that bloomed an unexpected friendship. We can hardly pass each other without indulging in small-talk. My wife and I recently became parents to a baby girl. And this man, who himself is father to two already grown girls, related to the fear and joy we felt.

One day, he was outside, trying to fix a scooter. I just came back from a quick shopping trip and wanted to greet him for no reason other than doing it.

I intended to ask him about the reason for his mechanical adventure, but this quick chat turned into a three hour conversation about fatherhood, the joy and fear it brings and a ton of useful advice from a man who has already seen it all.

It was delightful. We both completely forgot the time. It’s gotten dark already and my wife called me, worried, something serious had happened for me to not come back home.

He also took photos of our little family of three the other day, later coming knocking at our door, handing us a whole bunch of printed copy. Not simple paper print, no. Fully laminated and high quality photos he took. For free.

We returned that kind gesture the following week by dropping by with a mixed bag of sweet bakery from Mr. Donuts. They didn’t expect it. And they were really happy about it.

What I want to express with this short story, I’d like to quote Dave Grohl, the singer of the Foo Fighters for. Dave has taken part in an episode about friendship on Sesame Street:

Dave Grohl: You know, I was just thinking. There are friends everywhere. Even ones that you don’t know.
Big Bird: How can you have friends that you don’t know?
Dave Grohl: I just mean there’s lots of people all across America we could be friends with; we just haven’t met ‘em yet.

If you have kids (or are curious), here’s the link to the video:

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