Japan DiaryOp-ed (ish)

Pickin Bones

By August 31, 2020No Comments

I debated as to whether or not to make this public. Part of my daily writing process is to do fifteen minutes of warm ups. Topics include anything and everything on my mind with no judgments. I simply put it out there. A lot of my best work and topics have come from this process. Sometimes the warm ups are not meant for public consumption. This post was initially one of those, but now edited for the public.

I have a problem with people who live in a country and choose not to learn to speak the language or understand the culture. And certainly those that do not abide by the rules of law.

This has to do with integrity, or in this case a lack of integrity. When someone says they are one way yet their actions communicate otherwise they simply lack integrity.

I bring this topic up as a reminder to myself and to others that while the old adage “Actions speak louder than words” there is so much more to it. A while back I was listening to a podcast by Sam Harris.

FYI – This is not the same podcast, but touches on the same topic.

It was simply Sam talking for the better part of two hours in which he covered the history of his life and how he had gotten to where he was. It was a riveting and fascinating podcast.

There is something about the way in which Sam speaks that is engaging and truthful. He speaks from the heart and only of his experiences. Even when giving an opinion he finds a way to weave in personal experience.

This is the first time I realized that many people give opinions only on how the feel and not experience. It was then and there that I made a pact with myself to only speak of and write about my own experiences. Everything else is simply conjecture and belief not based on fact or experience.

Sam went on to discuss a vow he made when he was young. That is to only tell the truth and never lie. Think about that, a personal vow to always tell the truth. The far reaching implications and benefits of this way of living are incredible.

https://www.npr.org/transcripts/257650084

Sam is married and told his then girlfriend that he will always tell her the truth. So if she were to ask,”Am I fat?” Sam would have to tell the truth if she were. She didn’t ask that, but Sam did use one example when his wife asked, “Does this outfit look good on me?” His reply, “No not really.” She can count on him to tell the truth.

In a time where even the president of the United States has made lying commonplace and to the detriment of society, someone like Sam living a life of truth is both refreshing and aspiring.

It was after listening to the podcast that I began reflecting on my own life and just how often I lied. And how much my actions did not match my words. It was a turning point.

The realization, I was a liar of both big and small lies. I decided to change my ways twofold. One to tell the truth. Two, match my words with actions. It took a while, being present and paying close attention. It was not easy at first, but over time it became normalized.

The benefits are many including not having any added stress, not having to hide my true feelings, increased self-esteem and confidence and not really caring what people think about me because what they see and hear is what they get.

Striving for perfection, I slip up often. But it is progress and I get to start over every day.

Now back to what I said earlier. Allow me to elaborate on what brought this topic on. As you know I live in Japan a country so culturally different it causes shock. The language is different, societal rules are different, everything is different. It took a very long time for me to learn the rules of the road so to speak.

Before moving here I vowed to learn the language. And no matter how difficult, adjust to the culture so I wouldn’t become one of those foreigners who do what they please, only hang around other foreigners and not follow the rules or learn the language.

As regulars of my blog, you know I am part of a bicycling community, both foreigners and Japanese. We are a rather large group of nearly 75 members. We have small and large group rides. What has become a problem over the last year or so is that during group rides a handful of members are breaking the law by riding through red lights. This is both illegal and dangerous to riders and drivers alike.

Because of my vow to tell the truth I brought this up to the offending members of the group in forceful language. I am passionate and care about the well-being of my fellow cyclists, and I wanted to get my point across that this is simply unacceptable behavior and not debatable.

In the end I was the catalyst for change bringing this to the forefront of our group. Nearly everyone is in agreement and yet there are a few hold outs not wanting to change. Ironically they are foreigners who don’t really speak the language nor make an effort to adjust to the culture. In essence, people I would rather not be a part of.

It’s too bad they have chosen this route and yet continue to live in Japan. By learning the language and adjusting to the culture they are missing out on the richness of experience in this country that has so much to offer.

In the end people choose their own path.

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