Life in Japan

   Yesterday on the way into Tokyo I hit a dog.  One of those tiny handheld cute ones doted on with red ribbons by the ears.  The grandma was beside herself, the grandpa kept reassuring me that everything was fine, and me, I kept bowing low, really low, over and over and over. 

That evening on the way home I went back to check on grandma and grandpa and the dog. I took Mark along for moral support, and of course a box of properly gift wrapped rice-crackers.  All day I had been wondering about the three. 

   Well, Grandpa was sitting drinking his sake and the grandma had her apron on cooking supper.  I saw a cat, but no sign of the dog.  My heart sank.

But they smiled and told me the dog was completely  fine and not to worry and they’d even taken the dog on a walk and there was no problem at all and they were sorry for causing us so much worry. Leaving the door open like that—how careless!  They bowed and bowed and refused to take the rice-cracker gift.  I bowed and bowed and apologized and placed the gift box on the counter so they didn’t have to officially receive it but I had duly given it. They bowed and said no, it had been their fault in not watching the door more closely and preventing the dog from running out into the street. 

   A few more bows, walking backwards out the door, closing it behind us, bowing at the closed door just for good measure, and we were done.  Mark said the dog was probably fine. Or dead. The people didn’t yell at us, they were very kind.  They didn’t look like they’d spent the day crying.  So maybe the dog was okay after all!  Then again, it would have been nice if they’d brought poochie out to show us as proof, but they didn’t.  So maybe it really was dead. 

    I guess we’ll never ever know.  Unless next time I drive down that narrow street with the houses not even three feet from the road, that white dog dashes out in front of my car again. 


About Mark and Mary Esther Penner

Mark works as an adviser and resource to a Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project that plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement. Mary Esther founded a non-profit organization that partners with local communities and organizations to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs throughout Asia.
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