One of the most uplifting news stories of recent weeks came out of Japan, from the northern island of Hokkaido. A local family were having a day out on the slopes of Mount Komagatake but seven year old Yamato Tanooka was being a pain in the neck. To teach him a lesson, his parents left him on his own for a short while but the punishment went wrong and the little boy became lost in the "bear infested" forest for six days.
Naturally, there were genuine fears for the boy's safety and the way things like this normally go, most of the world was expecting that it would all end with the discovery of a dead body. But it didn't. Instead searchers found little Yamato in an abandoned military camp. He wasn't upset and apparently he "wolfed down" rice balls and bread proffered by the soldiers who found him.
Later I read that Yamato had forgiven his father who was shown in the media spotlight, displaying his shame and stupidity like a medieval felon with his head in the stocks. The idea of a seven year old lad forgiving his father is itself rather amusing.
I love Yamato's cheeky little face and can vaguely remember when our own kids were occasionally hyperactive pains. Parents have a limited amount of patience and tolerance and like me, many will have some sympathy with Yamato's tearful father. What do you do when your kid is being what Americans call "a pain in the ass"? Yamato looks as if he is full of beans. It was so heartening when the news broke that he was safe and sound no doubt ready for more mischief.