Last night I had dinner at an unassuming sushi joint not far from my hotel. A grizzled, elderly man sat next to me and within a few minutes, with no English in his arsenal, he eagerly communicated his compliments on my chopstick technique. What followed was an endearing exchange between two people without common culture or language: I learned he is 83 and is from Nagasaki. I learned he comes to Kyoto to hike to a temple to pray for his diseased wife (he carries a small framed picture of her in his briefcase; she has been dead for 12 years). I learned he has never been to the US, but Europe a few times. His earnest efforts to overcome our boundaries and his excitement to know me touched my heart, and despite having 4 days left here, this man may be my most treasured memory of Japan.