My research in the southern Japanese isles has been full of inspiring encounters. Mr. Nishihara is one of these rare humans whose presence makes other people's lives better.
Born in 1945 right at the end of the horrific battle of Okinawa that saw one-third of the island's population killed, he lost his father in the war and his family home taken by the US army base. That, however, did not stop him for devoting his life to be at service to others: a Red Cross peace educator; a high school teacher; a cultural enabler and active contributor to his island culture with his folk songwriting, Sanchin playing and radio, TV and cultural events hosting, all in Uchinaguchi (Okinawa's distinctive language); prisoners music teacher, and above all a "heart" connector between Okinawa and its big Brazilian diaspora that has made him honorary consul of Brazil in Naha.
My colleague Junko Konishi and I loved listening to his stories and above all, we loved his bright attitude. I am getting addicted to meeting inspiring people.