Today, a new sensei joined our ranks for our kids' judo classes. On hearing that our new colleague was from Switzerland, I asked him from which of the cantons of the Confoederatio Helvetica he hailed, he told me that he was from Zürich. I mentioned that my brother Sweetums and his family lived in the town of _____, a lovely suburb of Zürich, whereupon my new Swiss friend said that he grew up in that town, and gave Zürich as his origin in order not to confuse people... much like I tell people who from out of the area that I am from "New York", even though I live three blocks north of the Bronx border- if pressed, I can tell them I live in the Greater Woodlawn neighborhood, on the Yonkers side of the border.
Of course, finding out that he was from the town in which my brother is living, I mentioned that I had visited his home dojo so I could watch my nephews' classes. Of course, the boys' sensei is a good friend of his. When I was in Switzerland, I had a great conversation with their sensei, in which we discussed the international nature of the sport, the shared experiences and vocabulary of the community, and the importance of ethics and empathy in a sport in which we engage in potentially dangerous activity. I was elated to meet another friend from this beautiful judo club.
It's funny how you can travel far away from home and have experiences which "echo" in your home life. It just goes to show you that, no matter where you are, you have to comport yourself in a decent fashion, because you never know when you'll run into someone who knows someone you've run into.