Jeb had just arrived in Tokyo last week. He had grown up in a small village with a population of 300 people. The large town a few kilometres away from his home had a population of 4000. Jeb used to think 4000 was a lot of people. In Tokyo, the tower he now lived in had over 4000 people in it. There were 37 million people living in this city. He couldn't even imagine that many people until a week ago.
There were people everywhere. When he caught the train, he was squished so tight in it he could barely breathe.
He missed his home. But he knew he needed to learn to deal with the crowd. He had a special mission, and he couldn't go home until he had completed it.
He was searching for someone. His brother.
He had never met his brother. His parents were very poor, and when they had Jeb's brother, Ky, they had no way of caring for him. Their only choice at that time was to give Ky up for adoption. An unknown wealthy family from Tokyo adopted Ky.
Years later, Jeb's parents had managed to get a place to live, some food, and they had another child, Jeb.
Now that Jeb was 20, he had decided to leave home to find the brother he never had met.
But he didn't know the name of the family Ky was adopted by. He only knew that something deep inside him told him he needed to find his brother. And he hoped his brother lived in Tokyo still. He wasn't even sure if the family that had adopted him had kept his name as Ky, or had changed it.
Jeb looked for a job that involved looking at as many faces as possible. He found work as a security guard for a night club. He stood out the front of it each night, looking at the crowds of faces of the people that passed by.
He reasoned that his brother must look a lot like himself, so that's what he looked for.
He did this night after night, for two years. He looked at so many faces, hoping to see one that looked a little like his own. But he never saw it. He began to grow despondent. He was so tired of the crowds and was desperate to get away from them all.
He went back to his apartment one morning after working all night, depressed and sad that he had had no luck. He went to sleep thinking that he needed to come up with a new strategy.
And when he awoke, an idea had popped into his head. He knew what he needed to do.
He rushed out and went to the bank, and withdrew all the money he had from his savings for the last two years.
He went to the local newspaper, and purchased the biggest ad he could afford. He posted a photo of himself, and the following words: "Are you tired of the crowds in Tokyo? Need a break? Win a special experience, and find out what it's like to live in a small rural village with only 300 people. This is not a regular tourist destination. This is the real thing! And it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. There will only be one ticket for this holiday. The winner is the person who looks the most like the person in this photo. To enter send your photos to this address along with your contact phone number:"
He paid the newspaper, then he waited.
A couple of days later, some envelopes arrived in the mail, about 500 of them. They were all people entering his competition. Jeb was excited. He sat down to open them, to see if any of them were his brother. While he was opening them, he saw a story come on the television. It was a story about his ad. The news reporter was talking about his photo and competition.
He finished opening all the envelopes, but none of them looked like him, so he doubted any of them were his brother.
The next day, more envelopes arrived full of photos. Over 3000 this time. Jeb opened them all, but did not find any that looked right.
The following day, something crazy happened. He didn't get any more envelopes. Instead, he got a card on his door asking him to go to the post office.
He arrived at the post office, and an old man took him to a warehouse area out the back. This was where they piled all the mail up to be delivered. It was an amazing sight. There were millions and millions of letters there.
The old man said to Jeb, "We have all your mail out here."
"Thanks," said Jeb. "Which pile is mine?"
"All of them," said the old man. He looked at Jeb. Jeb looked back at him with his eyes wide open.
"There must be a million letters there!" said Jeb.
"There's actually about 5 million," said the old man.
"How am I going to sort through all them?!" said Jeb. He felt like this idea was going to fail.
"I don't know," said the old man. "But we need this gone by the end of the week."
Jeb went outside to think. There was no room for him to store all the letters at his apartment. He had no idea what to do. He was about to cry because of all the frustration.
All of a sudden he saw about a dozen reporters and cameramen coming towards him. "Are you the man running the competition?" one of them asked.
"Yes," said Jeb. They all crowded around him, trying to film him and ask him questions.
"The competition has gone viral. It's all anyone is talking about. How did you know it would be so popular?" one reported said.
"Er... I guess I just thought there might be people who want a break from the crowd. I know I do," said Jeb.
"Where did you get the idea for the look-alike competition?" another reporter asked.
"Well, the truth is, I'm looking for someone special. I think they will look like me. So that's why I used my photo in the competition. I'm looking for a brother that I've never met. He was adopted out before I was born."
All the news reporters were blown away by the story. They all interviewed Jeb, and he was on every television station in the country. His story went viral all over social media, and a businessman offered his warehouse to store all the letters. Hundreds of people even volunteered their time to open the letters for Jeb, and to help him find his brother.
Weeks passed, and the pile of letters gradually began to get smaller. Jeb spent every moment he was awake opening the letters.
Then finally, one day, he opened a photo that was special. The young man in the photo had a very recognisable face. It looked a lot like Jeb's dad, but a younger version.
Jeb was so excited, his hands began to tremble.
Jeb called the phone number on back of the photo.
The phone rang.
Someone answered it. "Hello, this is Ky."