[Caption: ALWAYS listen to the ALPACA]
Let’s start from the basics. Generally, I love Japanese lifestyle. I love how everything is carefully scheduled at least one month prior. I love how everything has a starting and a finishing time, which is meticulously respected. I love how every action is based on a clear motive, and the fact that reaching a goal is celebrated wholeheartedly.
However, what I don’t like is blindly focusing on schedules and goals only. Sometimes there is not enough room to sit and take a breath, or no time for divergence or adaptation. People running around with straight -though either tomato red or dead white- faces, trying to manage everything on time, trying to avoid the disgrace of being incompetent.
Don’t get me wrong, my hobby is scheduling and I don’t consider myself lazy. Nevertheless, I know that you cannot be fast-paced all the time, else it’s certain that a breaking point will be reached. Yours, your colleague’s; someone’s in the vicinity. And that’s has been happening the past few days in my everyday life.
As I said, I love scheduling. Because of that passion, I save myself a lot of time and effort. I set my goals, and plan a tactic to achieve them early on, including emergency breaks or procrastination prognosis. This style has proven effective throughout my years in school and university. It still works now in my postgrad course. Apart from one small thing; Now I’m anxious. Even though I know my plan, I know that I am moving steadily towards my goal, I feel uneasy. I never felt that before. The only time I get frustrated is just before receiving the answer sheets of a written exam; as soon as the exam starts, I’m light as a bird.
But here EVERYONE is anxious about EVERYTHING. And they transfer that feeling to you, even if you violently fight against it. I’ll present you two simple examples from yesterday. Recently my neighbor casually fainted on the cashier table – she didn’t eat much the past few days and 4 days after that she is still feeling weak. According to her words, it is a combination of the hot and humid Japanese summer (蒸し暑い mushiatsui – what a lovely, on-point adjective) and her anxiety about the exam. What will happen if she fails? She has to go back to her country, she has to rearrange her life; the unexpected turn of events scares her immensely. As for the second example, I was planning a meeting with a Japanese friend. We were thinking about visiting some waterfalls and one of the famous suicide forests, after I finish my exam. His reply was “I hope you do well to your exam, else I will be afraid to take you there”. In my mind, that was absurd. I would never have thought like that! I would never associate my failure with suicidal thoughts!
My point is, I care about failures, I want to be perfect always, but I know that it’s not always possible. I strive for the best, I gather any and every experience that a get the chance to live, and carefully treasure it in the back of my head, in case it’s needed in the future. Not the expected results? What’s done is done – Shikata ga nai. I’ll stand up, switch my thinking mode, come up with another plan, and at some point I’ll eventually get to do what I want. If you scatter your thoughts and loose your chill, though, nothing is guaranteed. There is a reason why people always advice ‘Calm down’ and ‘Don’t worry’. There is only one thing to do: Start over with a fresh mindset. Plus, remember what my Ghanian friend says ‘Bibia Be Ye Ye’ (=all will be well).