“We Eat From The Same Bowl”

I can’t help but go a bit off-topic today.

On the Yahoo news feeds this afternoon, between the headlines yammering on about Kirstie Alley falling on Dancing With the Stars and pictures of Reese Witherspoon’s wedding dress, I learned a new Japanese saying. It was introduced to me by a 44-year-old nuclear plant worker named Hiroyuki Kohno, who has agreed to sacrifice his life so that others may live. “There’s a Japanese expression”, he said, ” ‘We eat from the same bowl.’ These {co-workers} are friends I shared pain and laughter with. That’s why I’m going.”  That’s it. The only reason.  He is single with no dependents and there is a desperate  need to control  and clean up the unthinkable devastation in the aftermath of the recent earthquake/tsunami-so he is stepping up to the task of reporting to a deadly leaking power plant.

I have been thinking about Mr. Hiroyuki a lot today,  and I wonder if I had met him before this disaster what I would have thought of him (and he of me). We probably have very different viewpoints on politics, religion, and manners. If I were to take him on a tour of my home state, what would he say? Would he enjoy the BBQ along Route 40 or savor my grandma’s Sunday gravy recipe? If I were to be his guest in his hometown, would I share a love for his favorite food? Will he ask for it as his last meal before he goes in to do the job he has chosen to do?

Yet when I think about this person halfway around the world from me, who until today I never even knew existed , I realize I don’t have to know a single thing more. I know him. He is the sum total of all of the people-stranger or friend- who ever lent me a helping hand, who ever cooked a meal for me in love, who ever said a kind word to me, who ever once went out of their way for me just to make my life a little bit better. He is my teacher…showing me that everything we do matters, because everything we do affects us as a whole, no matter who or where we are.  I thank him  for showing me that there are still many people on this earth who are, by their actions, transforming the darkest of circumstances into light and hope.

We eat from the same bowl. Namaste, Mr. Hiroyuki, namaste.




3 thoughts on ““We Eat From The Same Bowl”

  1. Was searching for this saying “We eat from the same bowl” after reading the Yahoo article (it’s how I found your blog as I don’t eat in NJ). I was looking to see if anybody else had written about this beautiful saying and this beautiful man.

    Namaste indeed.

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