a zen buddhist monk's blog about things almost zen and telling it the way it is - zen or not (yet)

March 20, 2010

pass me my sunglasses please

I just read the most incredible blog/rant against Japan! What's incredible about it is the length and the depth of negativity - even I can't rant that well.

What it made me aware of was that old sales pitch about so many people can't be wrong, you know; "20 billion people can't be wrong - eat red meat!" or this one about bowling.

So, this guy has been living in Japan for years and now hates so many things about it that he felt the necessity to vent his frustration and dislike (well done for doing it in writing and not any other way) - but what about the other 120+ million people who live there? The majority, I imagine, love it with the same fervour - just take a moment to check out my favourite Japanese bloggers Muza-chan - asia images - Gaijin Life

I understand him though, I really do; I had fantasized for 20 years about living in Italy; I loved everything Italian - the food, the language; the clothes; streetside cafés - you get the picture. Anyway, a few years ago my wife and I made the dream come true and for the first six months I thought I was in heaven on earth. The following six months; a hell I couldn't wait to leave!

What happened?

My mind came back from vacation, that's what happened!

Dreams and fantasies are just that; dreams and fantasies - the mind's way of going on vacation - taking a break from all the "real" stuff. Vacations/breaks are very important as anyone who never gets the chance to have one will tell you. It's that time when you can leave the stresses of your job behind; eat whatever you fancy; sleep as late as you want; forget about that neighbour who's always nagging at you. But for many, this only happens in their minds. For many, when they physically go on vacation their mind is on vacation somewhere else!

The reality of what's actually happening around us is sometimes less exotic than the place our mind can take us to. The sunglasses our mind packed are so dark that we don't see what's really happening around us. We don't notice that the people living in our vacation spot DO have to cope with the stresses of their jobs, CANNOT sleep late and DO have nagging neighbours! We don't mind so much that the line in the post office is so slow we could have done the grocery shopping in the time it takes to get to the window. We've got time and our sunglasses are so cool! How many vacations have you been on when you've thought how wonderful it would be to live there all the time?

Well, all the time is a different story if your not a native and have generations of built in sun-block! I love Japan and each time I've been there I've wanted to stay forever - but whilst I think the article I read was rather harsh, I understand where the emotions came from (I've seen the ticket stubs). That's not to say that we can't ever adapt to our new environment because some of us can, in some environments; we've just got to find the one we really feel at home in. Remember the story of the monk who searched everywhere for the truth of zen only to return, after years of searching, to the place where he started!

- seiun hosei joza

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