“Hotel. This hotel,” I said pointing to the paper in my hand.
The bus driver simply waved me off. He had a job to do.
I returned to my seat for the third time defeated.
I was on a full bus barreling down the Hiroshima streets in the darkness of night.
It was my first time traveling by myself. I was 19 and had zero Japanese skills.
I was scared.
And I was lost.
Finally after a good hour and change of driving in the opposite direction of my hotel, a passenger motioned for me to get off the bus with them.
They took a look at the paper, looked it up on their phone and walked me there.
For 2 hours.
In the middle of night.
When we got to the hotel, the man simply bowed and left.
A massive pressure dissolved from my chest. But I never got to share my gratitude with him
Now, I’ve lived in Japan for 6 years and know Japanese people in almost every niche you can imagine. But it didn’t come without work.
That stranger’s help was the start of a long list of lessons I continue to learn here.
I began my journey to Japan as a child taking karate in my home country, the US.
10 years of practicing discipline and focusing on building inner character encouraged me to visit Japan as a university student.
I traveled to all of the major regions in my early twenties. I met entrepreneurs, farmers and everyday Japanese people in the countryside that contributed to their community through their work.
Working alongside them through the volunteer program called WWOOF, I gained insight into my own mission.
To connect people.
We are here to connect.
Across borders, culture and ethnicity.
Now, I connect local Japanese people with a global audience. I do it through my novels and my online community, Raw Japan.
It’s my way of fulfilling my mission and contributing to the communities that grew me.
If you feel connected to Japanese language, art or culture, join the community on this page.
I look forward to diving in deep to Japan with you.