Japanese silks | The duty

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“It’s a silk,” my grandmother used to say, a gentle, kind and considerate person.

It was past midnight. Her working day had long been over and yet the Japanese representative of the airline remained there, by our side, as we had waited desperately for hours for someone, somewhere, to confirm that we were not a health threat to the world. Japan. Our Guardian Angel could do nothing to speed things up. A stupid rule apparently even forbade him to sit. Yet she stood there, saying words of encouragement to us and giving us smiles behind her face covering, when we, in her place, would have been home hours ago.


After three days in strict quarantine in our hotel with no restaurant, I had had enough of the take-out meals that I was allowed to go shopping in a hurry at a small local grocery store. Five minutes after I asked reception for help ordering food for delivery, four of them were handing over my cell phone to try and order a dish I had randomly pointed at. Among them was one of the many Africans serving as security guards in the hotel lobby, a man who arrived from Nigeria 19 years ago, the father of two Japanese-Nigerian teenagers and often had to act as interpreter.


The young volunteer was trying so hard to fit as many people as possible into the shuttle which was far from full, but whose passengers already on board had no desire to cooperate. Caught with a plug in the bus door and the Japanese woman apparently not knowing how to shout: “Go backwards!” », She finally resolved to ask the journalists who continued to arrive to line up for five minutes, the time for the next shuttle to show up. Just before the doors closed, a colleague, probably very important and in a great hurry, appeared out of nowhere, ignored the line and the girl, and shoved his way on the bus. Anyone of normal constitution, even of very Zen, would have gone to seek the goujat by the hair or would have, at the very least, showered him with insults. Instead, our young volunteer remained unfazed and gently waved a hand to us as the bus left.

Goodbye Tokyo. And thanks for everything.

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This report was partly funded with support from the Transat International Journalism Fund –The duty.

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