There are numerous ways to bid farewell to someone. For casual encounters, it can be as simple as a brief smile or firm handshake. As we go up the familiarity ladder, the intimacy becomes tighter: a strong bear hug, enlonged embrace, free flowing tears. However, here in the land of 6800 islands, there comes a time when the locals need to head to the mainland, for work, school, or marriage. When that occurs, something magical happens in a show of brilliance and emotion that leaves hardly a dry eye for the curious spectator. It all starts with a ribbon.
Affixed at one end to a spindle, the ribbons fan out like the feathers of a peacock, reaching the friends, relatives, and close acquaintances standing on the opposite pier.
The voyager grips the end of the colorful bundle tightly in both hands, waiting for the inevitable.
The ferry pushes seaward, away from the pier in parallel unison, stretching the paper trail as if to test its resilience.
Alas, the ribbons snap, drifting down to the waters in a fluid, artful motion.
As the boat pulls away from port, an enthusiastic group of high school students follows in close pursuit until reaching the end of the dock, when an utterly breathtaking display of unity unfolds, as a group of 5 of the most faithful companions dive off the end of the dock into the frigid mid-March waters.
Such actions truly make you rethink your way of bidding someone farewell. Are we doing enough here in the big urban centers to show our ties of loyalty?