I firmly believe in the notion of six degrees of separation, I have seen it in action too many times to not believe in it. For reference:
Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy and popularized by a play written by John Guare.
And how about this for an illustration:
- Sitting on the patio at the Marriott in Grand Cayman and talking about American schools and our time in England. A woman overhears and says “We lived in England too”. We start to chat and mention that we are considering a move to Japan, and researching what it would be like. Turns out, a good friend of hers lives in Japan – they send an email and introduce.
- The American friend in Japan is very kind, sending a lengthy email on where to live and a ton of details on life in Japan. Very kind. Including the name of a building that is fantastic and a note that a friend happens to be moving out of that building in June.
- I spend this week in Tokyo – my first week – and take an afternoon to house hunt, coming across a building which I really like. However, I am not able to see the apartment coming up in a couple days as I am getting on a plane and the family is busy packing. No showings please.
- Friday night, Narda and I are discussing the building and she says “Isn’t that the building in the email from Linda?” Quick search it is. Could it be that family? I send an email asking Linda if it is her friend and if there is any chance I could see it before I get on the plane (I am in the airport in Narita – 4:15PM Saturday).
- Email back at 7AM Saturday from resident – it is her home and if I get there between 9am and 10am I can see it before she jumps on a plane.
- I arrive, see the place and she is wonderful enough to explain a ton about the area from a family perspective, offering to connect and introduce us to a ton of people in the area.
The real estate agent was floored when I said “Please come pick me up, I have an appointment in that apartment for 9am”.
Six degrees of separation in action and a little good fortune.
Updated: Through Facebook Narda found out that a friend of hers from our time in London had also moved to Tokyo, and is living in the apartment that we will hopefully be living in. Wow.