The Ordinary Badass…

I was thinking about Badassery.  Who’s the biggest bad ass I can think of?  Bruce Lee?  Obi Wan Kenobi?  Everyone in KISS?  The list can get pretty long and I guess the reason I was even thinking about it was out of pure fascination with people who live in Full Awesome all the time.  And then I found this article about a Japanese man who IS the most ridiculously super-bad-ass ever…and he’s an ordinary guy.  Hideaki Akaiwa.  The Ordinary Badass.

When the Tsunami off the coast of Japan exploded in 2011 Hideaki was at work.  Learning that his wife of 20 years was missing he switched in to Badass mode:  rather than running or crying or hoping for the best he found a wetsuit and a fanny pack and ran toward the disaster and to find his wife.

By then his home was 10 feet under water.  He swam through a tsunami of debris, people, cars, rubble, glass, metal, garbage.  He swam until he found his home.  His wife was in the home, somehow, breathing whatever scant air was left.  He saved her.  His wife of 20 years.  His true home.  He saved her.  And when she was safe he went back in to the darkness and saved more people: his mother-in-law, strangers, whomever he could find in that nightmare.  His city, Ishinomaki, was gone forever but his badassery helped a few actually live and not be dead.

“I’ve got deadlines”.  “My boss is a jerk.”  “There aren’t enough leads.” “There aren’t enough good leads.”  “Sales are slow.”  “It’s not hot enough.”  “It’s not cold enough.”  “It’s all about PRICE PRICE PRICE!!!”  I hear this crap all the time…  

Suck it up.  That’s right.  Suck it up.  When you’re ready to swim through pitch black water in a borrowed wetsuit to find your home ten feet under water in order to hopefully find your wife alive and breathing air instead of post-tsunami trash and then somehow drag her out of that hellhole and in to the light and pure air and safety and then go back and save more innocent souls because it’s the right thing to do and then accept no praise and no reward and no money and no press and then go back to your life working in a factory…just…suck…it…up.

Hideaki Akaiwa you ARE the super bad ass.  Ordinary men and women in the worst possible situations.  Becoming, at that moment, exceptional.  I aspire to that type of selflessness and admire your humility.  We all should.    

2 responses

  1. Hideaki is the Biggest badass ever. I just listened to the Moth podcast today about an American engineer that was caught in the tsunami. He went back to find ‘the chicken lady’–a restaurant owner that (spoke no English) he treasured as a surrogate mom…..funny we both recently heard inspiring stories from that tragedy

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