在东京巧遇堂兄弟比利 / Meeting Cousin Billy in Tokyo

在东京巧遇堂兄弟比利

多年来,我曾去过东京好几次,尽管时间上不是很有规律。我喜欢这座城市的活力,还有它的美食与文化。

大约15年前某次去东京时,旅行社给我在六本木区预定了一家酒店,我之前从来没有在那里住过。酒店的条件很不错,就是离主干道有点远。

我是周日晚间抵达酒店的,初次预约定在周一早晨9点,地点是霞之关大厦。我早早起床,吃过早餐,来到大堂的服务台,请他们帮忙用日语写下大厦名称和地址,以便与出租车司机沟通。服务员还帮我叫了一辆车。

就在这时,我意外地听到,身边有位美国人也在打听同样的消息,他碰巧也要在9点钟去同一座大厦开会。这时,服务台已经叫好了车,我建议我俩共乘一车,他高兴地答应了。

我们坐出租车离开,在路上,两人礼节性地寒暄起来。

他说,这是他第一次来亚洲,他也是头一天晚上刚从纽约抵达日本。在纽约,他是一家大会计师事务所的合伙人。我们对此颇有感慨,在同一座大厦、同一时间开会,真是不一般的巧。我们还聊了一些有关日本、交通等闲话。

我告诉他自己住在香港,做出版业。此时,我们还没有做自我介绍。正好赶上周一早高峰,堵车十分严重,所以,我们幸运地有很多时间可以用来交谈。

过了几分钟,他问我是否认识一位从芝加哥去香港的美国人,那个人也是做出版的,然后他说出了我的名字。

我当时,像英国朋友可能会说的,是“目瞪口呆”(gobsmacked)。

经过短暂的发愣、震动和惊讶之后,我意识到这位同车的老兄不是别人,正是我的堂兄弟比利!我们在很小的时候就分开了,已经20多年没有见过面。

而此时此刻,我们同在日本东京,从皆为首次下榻的同一家酒店,乘坐同一辆出租车前往同一座大厦,参加同一天同一时间召开的会议。这种情况发生的概率能有多大啊?

“比利?!”我大声叫了出来,我们为此时此地如此巧遇而开怀大笑。两人的情绪由拘谨的陌生人变成了他乡重逢的亲戚。我俩一路聊个不停,然后分头去开会。晚上,我们再次见面,吃了一顿丰盛的日本料理,度过了一段美好的时光。

Meeting Cousin Billy in Tokyo

I have visited Tokyo quite a few times over the years, although not on a very regular basis. I enjoy the vibrancy of the city, its food and culture.

On one visit around 15 years ago, my travel agent had reserved a hotel in the Roppongi district which I had not previously stayed in. It was a very nice hotel, although set back a bit from the main road.

I arrived on Sunday evening. Monday morning, my first appointment was at 9 am in the Kasumagaseki Building. I rose early, had breakfast, and went to the concierge desk in the lobby to ask their assistance in writing the building name and address in Japanese for me, to ensure smooth communication with the taxi driver. They offered to hail a cab for me as well.

Surprisingly, at that moment, I heard another American chap standing next to me asking for the same information. It turned out that he too had a meeting, also at 9 a.m., in the same building. By this time the desk had arranged a taxi, and I suggested we share it. He gladly agreed.

Off we went in the taxi. As we set off in traffic we made polite chit chat.

It was, he said, his first trip to Asia. He had also arrived the previous evening, from New York, where he was a partner in a big accounting firm. We remarked on the unusual coincidence of having meetings at the same time in the same building. We talked a bit about Japan, traffic, and other small talk.

I told him I lived in Hong Kong and worked in publishing. We had not yet introduced ourselves. Monday morning rush-hour traffic was bad, so it’s fortunate we’d allowed plenty of time.

After a few minutes he asked me if I knew an American in Hong Kong who came from Chicago and also worked in publishing, mentioning my name.

I was, as my British friends might say, gobsmacked.

After a brief moment of double-take, shock and surprise, I realized that my taxi mate was none other than my cousin Billy, whom I hadn’t seen since we were both young kids, more than 20 years earlier.

And now we were sharing a taxi from a hotel where we were both staying for the first time en route to the same building for an appointment at the same hour on the same day in… Tokyo, Japan. What were the odds on that?

“Billy?!” I exclaimed, and we both laughed heartily at the highly unlikely coincidence of meeting there and then. Our mood changed from that of cautious strangers to relatives celebrating a chance reunion in a far-away place. We chatted away for the rest of the taxi ride, went to our respective meetings, and met later that evening for a great Japanese meal. We had a wonderful time catching up.


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