Before coming to Korea to teach I lived and taught in Japan for a year and half.
One day, in the rather small city I lived in, I was walking on the sidewalk when I saw a policeman bend over and throw a metal bucket of water onto the street's curb.
Curious, I changed my path and looked down.
It seemed that he was washing blood from the street.
A few days later I was walking on a sidewalk in a different part of the same town when I saw a motorist arguing with another policeman. They were both standing in front of a car, a car which seemed to have dried blood on the front bumper.
I told both of these things to a Japanese friend, and she seemed full of anguish. She told me that things "always happen in threes".
I thought nothing of it.
However, 2 days later I was walking up a side street, narrow, with a blind intersection.
The corners of the buildings at the intersection meant that you couldn't see any oncoming cars, so there were those rounded mirrors placed strategically.
A boy on a bicycle, wearing a high school uniform, passed me.
I was looking straight at him as he rode into the intersection.
He didn't look at the mirrors.
A car from the right side, traveling too fast, suddenly appeared and crashed into the boy's bike.
He flew off the bike, crushed the car's windshield, and was thrown off next to a wall.
This all happened in a split second.
I ran ahead to see if I could help the boy, but he lay broken on the ground, and I was afraid to touch him.
The sound of an ambulance was already in the air. (There was a fire station just two blocks away.)
The police also came quickly, and though there was an obvious language barrier, I tried to tell them that both parties were at fault.
They seemed more interested in taking tape measurements than in talking to me.
I had nightmares and/or didn't sleep for a week.
Sometime during that awful period I remembered what my friend had said: "Things happen in three's".