When I reflect on my relaxing but all-too-short visit to Kansas City, the sister city of Kurashiki, I am instantly transported to the backyard of one of my host families. The background was so spacious that it seemed like a forest to me. While sitting in the shade of the trees every morning, I contently watched squirrels scurrying about the trees and hummingbirds hovering from one flower to another. The host parents, Jun and Clint, were knowledgeable about birds and flowers and told me a lot about them. One fine morning as I was gazing upward into a huge sugar maple that towered above me, the following famous quotation by Warren Buffett sprang to mind: “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
If you have shade, it is because some kind soul planted a tree long before you got there. The person who planted the tree probably did not know that you were coming. Nor did this person expect to spend any time under its shade. It was planted for anyone and everyone to enjoy. This simple act exemplifies selflessness.
The warm welcome we received from the members of the Heart of America Japan-America Society during our stay in Kansas City was another example of selflessness. I was delighted to learn from the society members that they had also received the warmest possible welcome during their previous visits to Kurashiki. I am deeply impressed that the sister city relationship between Kansas City and Kurashiki has continued to develop for over forty years on the basis of mutual friendship and through countless acts of kindness. In this sense, all the people who have devoted themselves to developing this relationship are great “tree planters.”
This summer, another seven high school students visited Kansas City (eight in all if I am counted among them ^o^;). Symbolically speaking, the students are just saplings now; in time, they will grow into large trees with spreading branches and give shade to people who come from far and wide. I believe they will help maintain the wonderful relationship between Kansas City and Kurashiki and continue to build upon it.
引率者 安達 励人