I always had plans on returning to Japan and after about four months of being here, I remember exactly why I love this place. The life style and culture is totally different and there is a lot that can be learned from the way of life here.
I recently saw a video on Facebook talking about life in Japan. The video was speaking about how the culture of Japan is based upon living with respect for others. The video was one hundred percent correct in its assessment of life here. The small things, the things that could easily be taken for granted are picked up on here and in my opinion it increases the value of life.
If you follow me on social media (@WORLDWAD on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat), you have seen me post videos about me moving solo through Tokyo trying to figure out how to get from point A to B using the train system and me riding my bike. If you haven’t seen the bike I ride around town it’s pretty cool. It has a basket on the front, a bell and a light. It’s safe to my bike is a pretty big deal. On another note, one thing I immediately noticed when I entered the train station, was that on the escalator everyone stood on the left side and for those who may be in rush, had a clear path to pass on the right. You’re probably wonder, “so what’s the big deal about that?” The big deal is it plays into the respect for others. How many times have you been in a rush and find yourself bobbing and weaving through people who are in no rush, and they ultimately slow you down even more? The clear path could save you a few minutes that will keep you from missing your train to your destination.
Some of my other encounters have been with me being lost and confused trying to figure out what train and what line I should get on. I don’t speak Japanese and I definitely can’t read Japanese, so I had to bite the bullet and ask random strangers for help. Asking for help on the train has been so far so good. The people I have encountered have an understanding that I am a foreigner, and have been very helpful. I don’t show the instances on my social media accounts, because I find it pretty rude to shove my phone into someone’s face and record them. One woman, who didn’t speak great English, went completely out of her way to show me what platform and what train I need to get on. She said, “you need to… never mind, I will show you”. This woman left her stop and walked me five minutes away to where I needed to be. Again, a small gesture, but yet a very helpful gesture nonetheless.
This time around in Japan I am actually driving. It’s awkward because here the drive and the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. I practiced driving with someone for a couple weeks till I got the hang of things, now I’m good to drive alone. Another small, but big thing is that it seems like no one speeds here. I don’t know if it’s because of the traffic cameras or their respect for others culture.
Japan might be the cleanest place that I have ever been. Walking into public areas such as gyms, people take their shoes off. Outside shoes are usually not used to walk around in buildings. Even with that, I always see people cleaning. I love it especially since clean well-organized things are appealing to me.
I’m magical with chopsticks… nah not really, but I don’t need a fork. The food looks different at times, but I eat the same things I would eat at home, so that adjustment has been fairly easy. I just have to make sure I avoid ALL SEAFOOD. I’m going to give you all some free game about how to survive when abroad. The key is to fully embrace the culture you are in and stop comparing what you are used to. Trust me it will lead to less stress and lead you to fully enjoying where you are.
As far as basketball goes, the league has really grown and basketball has been adopted as a favorite pass time for many. During my first stint here in Japan ten years ago, basketball was split between two leagues, the JBL and the BJ League. Just last year the leagues combined to form the B League. This has led to an increase in the popularity game, and raised the competitive nature of the entire league. As the years go on this league will continue to grow and be just as big here as anywhere else in the world.
Basketball has taken me all around the world and taught me a lot of lessons. One of the best lessons I have learned is that, the little things actually have the biggest impacts in all that we do. With that being said, never get tired of doing what’s right, it will payoff big time down the line.
Till next time… “Strive To Excel”