Everyday, Everybody is your brother.

“Everyday everybody is your brother”, the humble words of my new bboy friend from Hong Kong as he explained to me how the Chinese people treat everyone, even strangers.

The more I thought about those simple words, the more meaning they began to take on. After being in Hong Kong I realize the HUGE differences across various Asian cultures and traditions.

In Korea my closest friends were actually originally from Toronto or other North American cities (Bernard, Kee, Diana, Dyzee and other travelling bboys/bgirls)! I felt it was harder to connect with locals in Korea, maybe I didn’t have enough time to explore…

In contrast, within 2 days in Hong Kong I had made tons of new friends through the tight knit bboy community. In Hong Kong I reached out to the bboy community just by showing up to public practice spots to meet new people and within 2 nights I was singing karaoke and battling in my hostel’s hallway at 3am.

I never go to other cities with expectations that anyone will drop their lives to take me out because I realize how hard this is as a crazy busy myself when I’m in my regular routine. In fact, I book hostels before I arrive on purpose so no one offers me a place to stay. I hate imposing. However, I travel with no concrete plans and when someone gives me a genuine offer to hang out, it is a true blessing. I love to experience someone else’s home and really learn things I never knew about how other’s live, party, work, and even dance. On this trip I’ve truly expanded my perspectives on bboying not only as a dance but as a culture with tiny differences all over the world but ultimately the family is still there no matter what language you speak.

The other day in Hong Kong I received a gift from a stranger. At an open bboy session spot in Poly university in Hong Kong I met a bboy who played a game from Japan called “Kendama”.

Kendama - the new puzzle of my life

He was incredibly skilled at this game. He told me he practices everyday to focus his mind even when he is tired. Take that tv!! I back that, I hate tv, in fact I don’t own one… but wouldn’t it be nice if none of us did? Anyways, that’s a whole other debate. Back to my point, I stood in amazement as I watched this bboy doing amazing tricks with this seemingly simple game. Like every random skill in my life, after seeing it I needed to learn how to flip this ball into the cup. I wanted to try so bad but I couldn’t interrupt as I watched him catch the ball effortlessly and with such precision. It almost seemed unreal.

Now some might say I’m easily amused, and you are correct, but I knew as soon as I saw this game that it was calling my name. Moreso then any other random talent I’ve pursued over the years (besides bboying).

I was blown away. He could see the excitement in my eyes and let me video tape a minute of him doing tricks with this crazy … thing.

Two days later he came out with us to eat after I battled Monkey J from Rhythm Attack at a local youth bboy battle. At the restaurant he pulled out the awesome stick game thing and I finally built up the courage to ask if I could try it. Without hesitation he began to show me some of the basic foundational tricks. Wow! This was sooo much better my hat tricks, I couldn’t blink, so much excitement and joy was running through my veins. (For those of you who don’t know I’m obsessed with flipping my hat onto my head in various ways because it makes me happy and same as this odd game it takes a crazy level of concentration and dedication, even though it is seemingly random).

Anyways, as I messed around with this toy my eyes lit up and finally as I gave it back and asked where I could find something like this he told me “keep it”. I couldn’t take this thing from him, it was his life!!! Finally after he insisted I humbly accepted under the agreement that I would practice like crazy until I came back to Hong Kong at which time we will have a no jokes battle!!! The rest is history, and now I sit in my hostel and practice with an uninterrupted focus.

After he gave me this gift he told me something his mother told him since he was a child, these words are still ringing in my head.

“Everyday, everybody is your brother”.

So simple but so powerful, just imagine how different life would be if
you treated everyone, including strangers, social outcasts, movie stars and even the homeless, like our brothers” with no exceptions to the rule.

Can’t wait to take this home with me…
(both the Japanese cup and ball game and a new way of living selflessly)

– Mikey
Humbled by Chinese culture


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