Irasshai, myself and N.Y.K. ...

September 26, 2016

This year Japan and Belgium are celebrating 150 years of diplomatic relations between both countries. It was in december of the year 1866 that the first Belgian diplomat arrived in Japan (Auguste 't Kint de Roodenbeek). Eight months later a treaty between Belgium and Japan was signed which meant the official establishment of the diplomatic relations between both countries. That document means a lot to me because it is my reason of existance. With "me" I really mean myself as a person, but also myself as "Irasshai"! With this blog I want to show you how Japan, it's culture, it's relationship with Belgium crossed and still crosses my life permanently...


With Irasshai I want to express a kind of gratitude to the relationship between both of the countries. With Irasshai I want to contribute my part to the cooperation between Japan and Belgium by welcoming Japanese people in Belgium. But why is my gratitude so big? Let's start at the beginning. At the link between Irasshai, myself and N.Y.K. ...


On August (remark that the first Belgian diplomat in Japan has the same name as this month...)15th of the year 1941, a boy was born in Fukuoka, Japan. As a baby he had to flee with his family to Imari because of the cruelties of WorldWar II. Living in Imari (Hakata) meant living by the sea, so when he grew up, applying with a shipping company was an obvious choice. He assigned to the N.Y.K. (now N.Y.K. Line), the Nippon Yusen Kaisha. At that moment one of the biggest shipping companies in the world. At the age of 25, he took the chance to make his first worldtrip to Europe on an oiltanker called "Mizushima Maru".

What had to be a first great adventure on a vessel, became a nightmare for this man. On the 14th of June 1966, the Mizushima Maru docked at Zeebrugge, Belgium at 10 a.m.

While docking, a bunch conductor broke and tore his right arm off. The man had to be hospitalized in Knokke. It meant the end of being a seaman, but fortunately the nightmare became a dream after several months. One of the nurses took care of him in a very dedicated way... The nurse and the seaman fell in love. A few years later this love resulted in a marriage. That marriage gave birth to two beautifull sons...


Since I'm one of those sons, I'm very greatfull to Japan and particulary to the N.Y.K. Without the existance of the N.Y.K., I would not be born, I would not exist! But I'm not only greatfull to the N.Y.K. because of my existance, but even more because of the way N.Y.K. kept taking care of my father and my family after the accident. Every time we went to Japan, we were invited by the President of N.Y.K. We also had a lot of support of expats from the N.Y.K., settled in the UK.

50 years ago, my father came to Belgium, thanks to the N.Y.K. That's not 150 years yet but it's also worth celebrating!


With "Irasshai" it would mean a lot to me, to support, guide and help Japanese expats from the N.Y.K. in setteling in Belgium. I hope this ever happens...



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