When I was walking, I bumped into Junko and her Vietnamese friend that I had met last night. They were resting at a stall. When our eyes met, they waved hands and let me come close to them. He had a coffee and it made me remember what my co-worker said; she told me to try Vietnamese coffee. When I talked about it, Junko told me to try his coffee. I sucked it a little bit. Mmm, it was thick and sweet. So I got one for me and kept chatting with them. I had already heard about their friendship last night, and it's like below.
Junko met him when she came to Vietnam last time. She was spoken to by a guy and it was him. She was told that it was the 3rd time they met the day but she didn't remember. They went to eat together and spent some time during her stay. However, she was not sure if he was a good person or not. But a coincidence happened when she was leaving Vietnam. She found that she had left her jacket at hotel. She gave him about 20$ in VND and asked him to mail it if he finds it. However, she actually didn't expect that she would get it back.
Let's think about it. 20$ is a lot of money for general Vietnamese. If he was a normal guy, he would receive the money and won't do anything. She wouldn't even know if he searched for the jacket. They just met there by chance and spent some time. That was it. However, he was not a normal guy. After a while, she received her jacket from Vietnam, and noticed that it cost more than she gave. Who spends own money to do that? He even might never meet her again. Especially, he is a shoe-shiner, so it's obvious that he isn't rich. Through this event, she got to trust him.
Talking to him, I was surprised at his modesty sometimes. I asked him how many people's shoes he cleans in a day. He said it depends on the day and he feels like working harder when he feels sad. I didn't know how much it costs to clean shoes there, so asked him. He told me he usually receives 10,000-20,000VND per one person, but he never tells them the how much he wants when they ask. "It's up to you." That's what he always says. Sometimes they give him only 1,000VND, sometimes, 20,000VND. When he receives just 1,000VND, he gets sad a bit but never asks more. He also told me that sometimes tourists like old Japanese guys gave him 100,000. In such cases, he receives just 50,000VND and gives the other 50,000VND back to them because he thinks it's too much for him. I was impressed to hear that. Junko said he doesn't receive such a big money from old people because they don't earn so much but it's obvious who has more money.
Through these conversation, I found him a really nice modest Vietnamese guy. Being with them, I felt they were close and sometimes even looked like a couple. I had heard that they kept in touch almost everyday via e-mails, and he even told her that he loved her. She told me that she had told him she wouldn't be in a relationship with a guy who couldn't speak Japanese (he speaks Vietnamese and broken English a little) when it happened. And he started going to school to learn Japanese. She told him not to do such a thing but actually he keeps going...I have no idea how serious he is. Love makes a lot of energy to do something. I envied Junko a bit. But at the same time, I didn't want her to do something that would make him expected if she didn't have the will...However, I knew it was not my business.
Web album: A Trip to Vietnam