What I Will Miss


I sit on my balcony enjoying the fresh morning air and a cup of coffee. The tide is moving in and the river filling up. I watch people head to school and work. Scratch, scratch, scratch. The sound of Japanese brooms sweeping the sidewalk. The taxi company’s employees do this every weekday around seven. One of my neighbors, in an expensive business suit, scurries across our busy road and hops onto the sidewalk right in the middle of the sweepers. As they make eye contact they give a nod of the head. A bow.

The gesture of bowing has many forms. I recognize that my understanding is superficial at best. I just know how it feels to give one and to receive one. As a foreigner bumbling around this elegant culture it is comforting to have a gesture that smooths the ripples I cause. Or communicates the gratitude I feel for their hospitality. Since I don’t have the words to express the myriad of feelings, the bow does the trick in every situation.


I attended the 60th Anniversary of the Teshikaga Rotary. As you can see, we are bowing and shaking hands. I am showing him a photo of us taken thirty five years ago.

4 thoughts on “What I Will Miss

  1. You will miss so many things. I love your expression in the photo. When you were an exchange student, did you ever think you’d be meeting this man again so far in the future?


  2. Believe me Angela, its not the bow that is the “trick” in every situation, its your genuine smile that does it.
    You may miss the bow, but for sure, they will miss your smile ;~)


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