I want to tell you a story. A story about a dear friend of mine who saw potential and possibility when even I did not see it in myself. He had a face like a turtle. His eyes were kind and when he laughed… when he laughed, the stars were jealous of the way he shined. He would sit with me for hours and hours talking about life and all that there was yet to discover. I laid upon him my fears, and he gave me encouragement. I told him of my dreams, and he helped me to build the possibilities of them. When I told him I wanted to write music, he opened up his studio to me. He would listen for hours from dinner time until sometimes 3 in the morning, until we got a song just right. He would sing songs from his childhood and laugh when I could not spin the words.
He would call me up sometimes, checking in and making sure I was ok. He would sing, when I first answered, in his best Elvis impression, “Are you lonesome to night?”
I would say “yes”
He would then continue,. “Do you miss me tonight?”
I would laugh and say “no!”
We would both end up laughing for a good minute before starting our conversation.
His name was Takeshi Sato. By any measure, he was old enough to be my father – and in many ways he made sure to look after me as I traversed the world of Japan on my own, always reassuring me I had a place and a home if I needed it. Never once did a disparaging word come from his mouth. Never once did a moment of anger entreat upon the doorstep of our friendship. He was one of the kindest souls I have ever had the possiblity to know. For some reason I wanted to tell you this. I wanted to share with you this story – how brief it is and gives no justice to the light he was and in many way still is. Here. Here in these pages, in these words, in these poems and words of encouragement – lay the seeds of his first kindness.
I wish tonight he would call me. So that I could answer him, with a yes and a yes. As I embark on new journeys and put my words on paper, I would wish for him sit with me until the sun rose again. Telling me It was going to be ok, and that I was on the right track. Instead, I stare at a keyboard gathering dust, wishing I could hear the notes of his soul one more time.
Instead, now I write the notes and hope I carry on your legacy by doing for others, some I will never have the chance to meet, what you did for me and in your memory… still do.
Take-san, zootou zootou wasuraenai. zootou.