It’s Wednesday October 22nd 2014 and I’ve been in Japan for ten months. I have had great times, not so great times, and everything in between. Here are ten thoughts on life, Japan and otherwise that I’ve come across over these ten months. These really are random and not cohesive so just enjoy the show.
1. I can be happy anywhere: I used to think that I needed to live in Southern California to maximize my happiness. Don’t get me wrong, the sunshine and sandy beaches help a lot. But I’ve learned that I can be just as happy on a rainy day as any other day. Happiness is a practice that begins on the inside.
2. Positive thoughts matter: Having a positive attitude goes a long way to creating success no matter where you are in the world. There were times here when I felt stuck in my thoughts and got way too down on myself about my career, or lack thereof. Those thoughts were preventing me from taking the right actions that I needed to take. My life has gotten better now that I am consciously focusing on positive thoughts, not complaining, and making the best of every day.
3. I have no choice but to eat vegan food: I have to eat vegan food for health reasons. I have not been diagnosed with anything, but I have some kind of digestive system disorder that makes it hard for me to eat meat, dairy, processed food and wheat. That’s about half of all Japanese food. If I had my way, and I could pull it off, I would choose to be raw vegan eating only organic fruits and vegetables. That diet is super impractical and limited in Japan for mostly trade barrier reasons. I won’t get into it because I am not into complaining these days. There’s a hashtag called #rawtil4. Check it out. I think I’m going to try this diet of eating all raw food until 4 o’clock. After 4 I’ll eat a nice warm vegan meal. I’ve been high carb low fat vegan for over a week now, and I already feel great. Vegan power!
4. Globalization is not just for fortune 500 companies: I’ve met people from all over the world and I can honestly say that the world is changing faster than any of us can comprehend. There’s really not much difference between us. We are all interconnected and continue to share stories, ideas and innovate in small and large ways. Everyone has something to offer the world and no two people are just a like. The future is really unpredictable, but I can tell you that it’s awesome!
5. I Believe in miracles: No one can do it on their own. We all get help from unseen forces. Just believe and let go.
6. Japan is a miracle: 127 million people on a series of islands that is 70% mountains with little arable land. And they all cooperate magnificently with little to no violence. There’s high speed rail from the snowy North to the volcanic South. One of the largest middle classes in the world so that everyone can enjoy the wealth. A very high standard of living and not much to complain about.
7. Where are the overworked Japanese workers?: Sure, I see plenty of salary men in suits on Saturdays, but I often see lots of people in casual clothes walking around during normal business hours. I see families enjoying the weekends. There are more national holidays here than in the US, almost 2 per month. And Japanese workers get more vacation time than American workers. Not to mention a lot of Japanese stay-at-home mothers have it super easy it seems. I often see them shopping or hanging out in groups with fashionable kid gear.
8. Mount Fuji is the protector of Tokyo: Three major typhoons came this way and none of them lived up to the hype. Mount Fuji is huge. Any storm that passes by it will get smashed to smithereens. No wonder it gets so much respect in Japan.
9. How we treat each other matters: Politeness is woven deeply into Japanese culture starting with language. Language is made from words that are made from sound. Sound is vibration, something that we feel with every part of us. The language that we use and how we treat each other creates a huge emotional ocean that we all swim in. In Japan, the waters are pretty calm.
10. I’m grateful to be here.