Day 21, Mar 20, Otsuchi-Yamada 大槌-山田

As I was leaving the guest house in Otsuchi, I saw a book written by a Taiwanese Dharma Master Chen Yen at the door. Tzu Chi Foundation, the organization she founded, is the largest non-governmental-organization in the Chinese-speaking world. It was very active in providing humanitarian relief during the 2011 disaster in Japan. Their influence is sometimes met by cynicism and envy. A senior teacher I respected once said “There are so many people in need in Taiwan, why go all the way out to spend money in Africa?”



“Why not?”, I thought. I could use the same answer for people who asked me why come to Japan. I grew up in an era when text book was heavily censored. The bitter conflict with Japan during WWII was a stage for nationalist propaganda. Later I realized the world is too complicated to fit in a book. Any one-sided story is not only a burden, it can also be dangerous. The war is raging in Syria. Crimea crisis is a ticking time bomb. The border dispute between Taiwan, Japan, and China does not seem will end. The international politics has its own logic. Everyone has a reason. And yet, a gesture of good will is hard to explain.

What I do know is that the friends from Tzu Chi were with us when we were in dire need for spiritual support. They came to Vivian’s dying bed. They help performed a respectable funeral. We were far away from home. They were like family. They never asked for anything in return. I never wonder why they helped us.

Just keep walking, I told myself.





The pace on the second half of this trip was partly determined by the availability of lodging. Today’s walk was short, which turned out to be a good thing. It was very wet in the morning. The rain turned into slushy snow in the afternoon, and full blown snow storm by night. I am taking shelter at the hotel, getting ready for the treacherous road tomorrow.



Japanese translation by Michiko Owaki    日本語訳:大脇美智子

Day 21, March 20th, GPS Track on Google Map, 9 kilometers

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