TOKYO — This year Japans Small Kindness Movement edited a book called Thank You For That Moment: Stories That Can Make You Cry. The volume was partially inspired by the phenomenal success of the paperback Random Acts of Kindness in the US. Here are two of the stories in the Japanese book:
* Yoko Kuwamoto, a young woman who lives in a city called Hamada, southwest of Tokyo, writes about the person who touched my cold heart.
Everything was so depressing and difficult. I couldnt keep a good balance between my work and studies. I didnt know how to deal with the loneliness in my heart....
I made a lot of mistakes at work too, which disappointed my bosses. My failure destroyed their trust in me. I couldnt relax at my dormitory either.
Everything was going wrong. People talked behind my back, saying that I couldnt even say hello in a way that showed respect for my elders.
One day, one of the patients [in the hospital where I worked] took my hand and said, Come to my house for dinner sometime. Im alone myself.
At that moment, I couldnt do anything but cry. Then she said, You have really experienced a lot, havent you? Something must have been very difficult and sad.
Somehow, the words of this patient lifted a burden from my shoulders. What if she hadnt spoken to me? Whenever I think of her, I simply cannot do anything but feel gratitude for her kindness.
* Akio Ito, who lives in a suburb of Tokyo, writes about a recent motorcycle trip he took across Canada. One day I was sitting by the side of the road, taking a short break from riding on the highway.
Compared with Japanese highways, very few vehicles go by on roads in Canada. I was basically surrounded by vast, empty fields. Suddenly, a truck drove up and stopped right in front of me.
I wondered why the driver had pulled over. Then he leaned out and asked, Are you OK? I imagined that he was worried about me sitting there all alone.
Are you OK? will remain in my heart.