By Bruce Lonardo
During the time I was stationed aboard the USS Midway, I had two very good and close friends and the three of us were the best of friends. One of these two best friends of mine, who was really more like a close brother to me, was Kevin Watson.
One day when we were in Yokosuka, Kevin and I jumped on the blue kanji train and rode a couple stops down the tracks to visit Kamakura. When we got there we were amazed at all of the incredible history and actual historical structures dating back to feudal Japan of the 15th century and even earlier. They were still standing in pristine condition, including the great Buddha, which was constructed in 1493 and still stands remarkably preserved in the same spot of it's original construction to the present day.
That day, Kevin and I had the privilege and opportunity to observe up close, this very historical place which is extremely sacred to the Japanese. What amazed me was the several people saying prayers and giving homage before the massive copper statue of Buddha. They concluded their prayers with a traditional bow and as they turned to take their leave from this site, many of them also turned toward us and rendered a traditional bow of respect to us. Perhaps they did this because we were foreigners and were observing this ritual very solemnly and respectfully. Following our tour the shrine, Kevin and I traveled on foot throughout the city of Kamakura and were amazed by how friendly and respectful the Japanese were and the warm way in which they received us.
On another occasion, Kevin and I had gone to Tokyo and visited Harajuku Park. There is a heavily traveled roadway cutting through the park and we were running across a cement foot bridge which crossed over the roadway. Unfortunately and very accidentally, Kevin slipped on some sand on the footbridge and took a rather nasty tumble upon the concrete and scraped up his arm pretty badly. Without hesitation, two Japanese women that we did not even know, total strangers to us, rushed over and brought Kevin to a water fountain to clean and bandage his arm like they were Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton. Both Kevin and I were simply amazed by their extreme kindness and concern.