Well HEY there! I made it safe and sound to Nagoya and am currently in my home stay house - the next post I have will include many pictures of where I'm staying. (Get ready, because it's a super nice Japanese-style home!) But first I want to talk about a kind of important issue.
This is not by any means a happy post.
"But Haley! This isn't an important-issue blog, this is a Japan blog!" Well, mysterious voice that's arguing in my head, this has to do with Japan, and it's important, so I can do whatever I want. Also it's my blog. Also stop talking to me, I'm trying to concentrate.
Today I kind of had a...moment. A sad moment. Matt and I were trying to get to the right train so that I could get to the station where my shinkansen (bullet train) was waiting, but to get there it was like a 30-minute trip by local trains. However, the train we were going to take, on the chuo-line, was delayed. And the reason why is really disturbing.
See, in Japan, when someone wants to commit suicide (it happens), people usually do it quietly. Japan has such a respectful nature that even when someone is considering taking their own life, they want to do it in the most convenient way possible for everyone else. They want it to be quiet. They want it to be easy to arrange a funeral, which is hard to do when nobody knows you're going to commit suicide. But mostly, they just want to make sure the people they leave behind don't have a big mess to clean up.
Some people decide to throw away this respectful rules when they decide to take their own life, but that's not really the important part, I don't think. The fact that they're breaking the norm when they do a messy suicide isn't what's important.
Someone took their life by jumping in front of a train on the line I was supposed to take to get to Tokyo station, to get to my bullet train. Matt says it happens all the time, at least a few times a week if not every day.
When he mentioned so casually that someone must have jumped in front of a train ("again") and that's why it was delayed while we tried to rush to get to my bullet train on time, my heart leapt into my throat.
How sad, I think, for someone to believe it's the only way to deal with life, or rather, death. How sad that some people find no reason to live. While other people on the train moan and gripe about how the train will be delayed, how they might not make it to wherever it is they're going on time, I was fighting back tears.
How selfish of those people for thinking that's what's important. Making it to your job, meeting your friend, getting to your train on time. How selfish are we that when someone decides to jump in front of the train, we are more disturbed by their nature to inconvenience us rather than the depression they must have been feeling to do what they did. How sad, how lonely that person must have been. How terrible it must have been for the people to see it happen, sure, but how downright awful it must have been for that man to do as he did.
I feel so sad for him. It actually brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.
Most of you know that I'm atheist. I don't believe in God, don't believe in Hell or Heaven. But even so, to take one's own life seems like such a terrible waste to me. It's just so sad. If only there was a way I could have helped him, to let him know that everything was going to be all right.
I'm in Nagoya. I'm safe and sound and my host mother is talkative and energetic and fun and we're getting along great. I start school in 11 days.
How unimportant all of those things feel when I think about the sadness of the man that took his life today. Almost not making my train, almost being late coming into Nagoya. How unimportant all that seems to be when compared to the importance of a dead man, splattered on the train rails of Tokyo.
It's times like these that I wish I could believe in something so that I could pray for that lost soul. I only hope that my thoughts reach him, and that he doesn't feel he made a terrible mistake.
This is not, by any means, a happy post.