A Sudanese Visitor helps a guide with “a-un no kokyu”

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Date & Time : Sunday, January 28, 2018 10:00 am –4:00 pm
Spots : Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Hasedera Temple, Kotoku-in Temple (The Great Buddha)
Visitors : 21 AOTS (TKC) participants (3 from India, 2 each from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, 1 each from Thailand, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan, Paraguay, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Chili)
Attendants : 17 KSGG members
Language : English

It is always a challenge to explain to foreigners what “a-un no kokyu” means. (“A-un no kokyu” is a phrase Japanese use to express a way two people communicate with each other without verbal or physical expression but by instantly understanding the other person’s mentality as if one reads the other’s mind.) But, fortunately, this time the visitors had watched a Sumo wrestling match the previous day. And they had learned that with Sumo, a referee does not give out a sign to start the match but the two wrestlers bring their minds together to find the right timing to make a start. So I could explain to them “this indeed is “a-un no kokyu”” by giving an example.

At Hasedera Temple, it seemed there were too many objects of interest. One Malaysian visitor got lost several times, but every time a Sudanese visitor would sense what was going on and go looking for the Malaysian. This was exactly “a-un no kokyu”, and I was surprised that the Sudanese who reads others’ mind just like a sumo wrestler.

While we were moving on to the next destination, we were asked questions such as “Are there still Samurai?” “What is the ratio between Shinto and Buddhist?” and “How much is the average salary in Japan?” Had it been an individual group, I would have taken time to answer them thoroughly as we walked along. However, when guiding a large group, it is necessary to constantly pay attention to every member in the group, and to my regret, I could only give brief answers to their questions.