Which is one country that you wish to visit in your life? And why?
I still remember writing an essay on the topic above when I was in my High School. It was 2000. My answer and my wish that I wrote in my essay was Japan. And I had one particular reason to visit this splendid country, also known to us as “The Land of the Rising Sun”, to see and understand its economic miracle.
So after 13 years, this boyhood wish of mine has been eventually fulfilled. I got an opportunity to visit Japan in 2013 and there I traveled and stayed in several cities and prefectures.
I found everything in Japan incredibly grand and advanced. With over 127 million of population, it is home to the world’s largest and technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronics, machine tools, ships and processed foods.
This country takes huge pride in acclaiming itself as the world leader in fundamental scientific research. Moreover, it is the world's third largest donor of official development assistance, of which Bhutan too is the beneficiary.
Everything in the country is perfectly organized and clean - from the streets to the planning and policymaking. The motor vehicles don’t honk, and people don’t spit on the floors and walls. They respect your time, the elderly, and seniority.
But what surprised me the most was to know how hugely popular “King Jigme” and Bhutan in Japan. You just can’t believe me. In fact, it’s the Japanese love for my King and Bhutan that got me writing this post. And I’m very proud to write and post it on 34th birth anniversary of our King.
One afternoon, I visited the Asakusa Kannon Temple in Tokyo with other Bhutanese fellows. I was wearing my gho and a badge (the picture of my King and Queen) attached on the gho. After sometime, at the temple, I knew that all people were staring at me and my Bhutanese fellows.
I was surprised, felt awkward too. For it’s the first time in my life that I was gaining so much of attention, that’s also in a foreign soil. Many just murmured amongst themselves, others kept staring at me. And some followed and approached me.
“You Bhuutaan…aah…happiness?” they inquired me. I nodded, nervously. And their face, instantaneously, glowed in all bright smiles.
After that they spotted the badge on my gho. They pointed at it and exclaimed, “Aah, King Jigme!” They recognized my King in the badge. There was so much joy in their voice, in their reaction.
Then, they called out their friends to have a look at the badge and to talk to me. As they looked at my badge, they jumped in sheer excitement and ecstasy, some even clapping their hands. And they kept uttering repeatedly, “King Jigme”.
In another occasion, we visited the Kasai Water Reclaimation Centre. There, I came across Mr. Abiko who followed me the entire day and he talked in incredible details about Bhutan which simply astounded me.
|With Mr. Abiko|
“I save money to go to Bhutan. Happiness country. And to meet King Jigme and Queen,” he told me in one moment, his eyes teary, and added, “It’s my last wish.” It touched me so much that even I wanted to cry.
Wherever you travel to Japan, any Bhutanese would receive different treatment. Even in the busyness of life, they come forward to talk to you. You are priority, you are respected. And you would walk your head held high.
In 2011, our King and Queen visited Japan. This is the time when our King and Queen touched their lives - the people of the world’s most developed country. This is something unbelievable. Their love and respect for our King and Queen is so huge that I can’t bring myself to put it into words. Moreover, it’s far beyond my understanding. But to know this, to feel this in Japan, my heart swelled with pride and I was moved to tears.
So on this joyous occasion, on 34th birth anniversary of my King, I pay all my reverence and love for what His Majesty had done for us - your citizens and country. I wish His Majesty a long life and keep inspiring people all around the world to become a good human being.