Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Relying on the Kindness of Strangers ... and the power of Google!

I love Google. There, I wrote it - I normally just say it to anyone who will listen.  Now it's not that Larry Page holds any particular allure for me, and I'm certainly not on the Google payroll.

I love Google specifically because it/they are making our life here in Japan easier, better and helping us to experience much more of Japan than our limited language skills currently support.

The ever evolving features of Google Translate means that we're comfortable with reaching out to others, most of whom have little or no English skills (understandable!), to try and communicate on their terms, and show them respect in the process.

Case in point (one of a hundred I could share).  Having leveraged all that is Google search / translate etc. in the planning of one of our many weekend adventures, I managed to get us to a little town called Motegi, 3 hours by train(s) outside of Tokyo.

The final leg to our destination (the Twin Ring Motegi and The Honda Collection Hall - cool if you're a rev head) required that we hire a taxi.  None were to be found at the very small railway station, so we set off to the 'main' street to see if we could hail one.  We quickly surmised that this wasn't going to be an option as Motegi is that small and that quiet.

We happened upon a local car dealer/mechanic and that's when all the courage that having Google at my back provides me came to the rescue.  I didn't hesitate to go into the office, offer up my limited Japanese, leverage the translate app on my pocket parrot (iPhone), and combine the two to ask the nice lady in the office to call us a taxi.  Being delightfully Japanese, and thus incredibly polite, she did so without any hesitation, even offering us a cup of tea while we waited.  A generous gift that we will not forget.

What's the phrase?  "There are no strangers in this world, only friends we haven't met."

Thanks Google, for helping us make new friends and truly experience this very cool country.

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