Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Wisdom of Elders

Some fellow teachers and I were on our lunch break yesterday when we met an interesting old man. We had been standing under the cherry blossoms along the river when the man approached us.

I had noticed him staring intently from afar but didn't think much of it since older Japanese occasionally stare.

So when he actually came and started talking, I was both surprised and intrigued. I'm glad to say it was a pleasant experience.

He studied Law in the US over 40 years ago at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. That was very impressive. Studying abroad was significantly less frequent back then. Not only that, he also started going at a time there were still ill-feelings from Americans towards the Japanese since Pearl Harbor had occurred just 15 years earlier.

Anyway, he inquired into us, where we were from and where we were going (to be teaching). He was impressed by the fact that we were there, period. He went on to tell us that he was an advocate for studying, teaching and otherwise traveling abroad as a means to better understand the world and all of it's patrons. Not only did he believe it, he lives this. He recently took a Director position at the Fulbright Institute, an organization that promotes peace and understanding through education exchange. He even quoted Fulbright saying:
The Fulbright Commission aims to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs and thereby increase the chance that nations will learn at last to live in peace and friendship
He had such a passion for it and you could feel the energy in his voice. We were all captivated by his wisdom and vigor Overall, he talked to us for about 20 minutes making us almost late for work. Even if he had, it would've been worth it.


  1. he teaches at Fulbright! wow, that got my attention! Give him my nr :)! sounds like you are meeting cool people already!

  2. This is awesome. I love meeting people like this.

  3. It was great! I'm also meeting interesting people doing the program I am. Good times :)