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Dec 05th
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Home Our Volunteers Stories I Found Tzu Chi Through My Wife - Visit to Hualien

I Found Tzu Chi Through My Wife - Visit to Hualien

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I Found Tzu Chi Through My Wife
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Visit to Hualien
Two years after Rumi joined Tzu Chi, she and Michio went together to Hualien, Taiwan, to visit the foundation's headquarters. Michio had a delightful trip to Hualien. He and Rumi felt greatly welcomed. As soon as they arrived at the airport, even though they were not in their volunteer uniforms, they were immediately greeted by Tzu Chi volunteers who had spotted a small Tzu Chi badge on their luggage. The volunteers enthusiastically helped them carry their luggage. A taxi driver even gave them a free ride when he learned that they were Tzu Chi volunteers visiting from Japan. "They treated me so nicely just because I was a Tzu Chi volunteer from Japan," Michio marveled.

They happened to have the chance to meet face-to-face with Master Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu Chi. Full of reverence for the Master, Rumi did not dare say a word. Michio, on the contrary, was poised and at ease. He told the Master, "My wife has changed a lot since she joined Tzu Chi."

During their visit to Hualien, Michio saw a lot of Tzu Chi volunteers at the headquarters. He said that the visit "polished his heart," and his own devotion to Tzu Chi deepened.

A "different" wife
Michio said that every time Tzu Chi volunteers took to the streets to raise money for charity, he always saw Rumi take money out of her own pocket and put it into the collection box before she began soliciting donations from others. He appreciated this little act of hers. "You must do it yourself to set an example before you can motivate others to do likewise." Apparently proud of his wife, he added, "This volunteer uniform really suits my wife."

Unlike most women, Rumi does not like buying beautiful clothes and she rarely wears makeup. Her wardrobe, which contains only a few of her own clothes, is chock-full of Michio's clothes and neckties. Michio collects watches and he also buys expensive watches for Rumi, but she never wears them.

"For her, inner beauty is more important. I, on the contrary, like to eat, play, and buy stuff. I spend a lot of money." Michio is still a child at heart. Every year, he makes a point of visiting the Tokyo Disneyland to try out new attractions. His greatest passion is collecting mandolins. One of the mandolins he owns, made in Italy in 1774, costs as much as a big house. He also formed a music group with some friends.

What is special about Michio is that he is not attached to his collection. One time, Rumi read in a magazine about the Chi Mei Museum in southern Taiwan. Established with the aim of promoting art and culture and enriching the spiritual life of the general public, the private museum is open to the public free of charge. Impressed, Rumi talked about it to Michio. After doing his own research and learning more about the museum, Michio wrote a letter to the museum expressing his wish to donate some of his collection.

"I have so many mandolins at home, it's impossible for me to play all of them," said Michio. "What's even more important is that instruments with historical value need to be maintained regularly to remain in good condition and retain their value." He believed that the museum would take good care of his mandolins. In the end, he donated 38 valuable mandolins to the museum.

"Actually, when we buy stuff, we only get to be its temporary owners. Michio admitted that although he takes pleasure in buying things, he often gets tired of them when the novelty wears off. So whenever Tzu Chi holds a charity bazaar, he generously lets volunteers come to his home and take away things to sell for philanthropic purposes.

As his knowledge of Tzu Chi deepened, Michio began to participate more enthusiastically in Tzu Chi activities. Now he translates articles for Tzu Chi, provides guided tours for visitors at the Japan branch office, arranges for his music group to perform at charity bazaars, and provides free medical counseling at Tzu Chi activities.

In the past, he would get angry at Rumi for returning home late from a Tzu Chi event. But today he often asks her, "Do you want to go to Tzu Chi today?" Not only that, when Rumi wants to visit care recipients, Michio helps her check the map, finds out the subway routes, and writes down where to transfer.

On holidays, Rumi and Michio sometimes go to the Shinjuku district in Tokyo together. When they get off at the stop, Rumi goes to the Tzu Chi office and Michio to nearby bookstores. "Rumi likes to go to the office to chat with the other Taiwanese volunteers," Michio teased his wife.

He fully understands how much Rumi enjoys her visits to the office, where she can talk to her heart's content in her mother tongue. He also knows how she loves helping others. He said with a hearty laugh, "Now I can't be happier when she volunteers at Tzu Chi, because it means that she won't be at home nagging me."

By Ye Wen-ying
Translated by Wu Hsiao-ting
Photographs by Yan Lin-zhao

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" If we can reduce our desires, there is nothing really worth getting upset about. "
Jing-Si Aphorism