Understanding Japan (2): Structured mentality

January 15, 2017

By Eddy Montilla.

DRUM

An old axiom says: “We do what we think”. But if you are not entirely convinced of it, you can confirm it by watching some enormous Japan’s steel structures: They are safe, hermetic and framed like… the way people think in that country.

     The common use and selection of a word over others in a region is not something done at random or on a whim, but this selection represents the way of being and thinking of the people who live there. If you travel to Japan, frequent words that you will hear are “omou” (think), “yotei” (plan), “shinpai” (worried) y “anzen” (safe). These words can give us a clue about the basis on which Japanese personality is forged and established: Japanese people can only find peace of mind when all things are under control (I mean, everything is well planned and safe). Therefore, if possible, their activities should leave no room for improvisation. Let’s see an example:

     In Japan, the beginning of a new year is not in January, but in spring, when the fiscal and schools year really begin and new employees will make their “debut”. During this time, you can go to any ceremony and the person in charge of delivering the introductory speech will make quickly reference to the end of the winter, and above all, the arrival of the spring and well known Japanese cherry blossoms. In that regard, everything, every word is planned throughout to a point that you will find books to write speeches for all occasions: funerals, weddings, etc.

CHERRY-BLOSSOMS-2

     This kind of fixed and schematic mentality is instilled into Japanese people at early age until it becomes a feature of their personality and something very common. As a result of this, things should be inside a foreseeable frame. If something is out of it, anxiety and some kind of sense of unease will be haunting them, sometimes with terrible consequences. So, they will be working, as many hours as necessary until the unexpected and new situation turns into an old one, that is, something that can be handle according to the “handbook” they have for each case.

     Compared to other ways of thinking, the Japanese mentality provides one of the best chances for success thanks to its constant emphasis on planning, security and logical answers for problems. In fact, it has been the key that has kept Japan for so many years with a solid economic growth despite its situation after the Second World War.

     The other side of the coin, however, does not seem to be so good. Trying to keep everything under absolute “control”, trying to find perfection everywhere has created “uncontrollable” levels of stress that have pushed more than 30000 people every year to commit suicide for decades. If Tanaka, to cite an example, forgets the keys to open the place where a party will be held and Kawauchi forgets the drinking glasses, because of the delay that this situation creates, even though it has not started yet, the party will be considered a failure. And the most important thing: Since Japanese people do not forgive as quickly as they say “gomennasai” (ごめんなさい=I am sorry), Tanaka and Kawauchi will face tough times. Without any intention of falling into stereotypes, in the same situation, but with different people in a Latin American country, the party had probably started right there: in front of the closed door. Someone who, by the way, was not the person in charge of the drinking glasses would have gone to the house of a supposed friend near the place to get them and… at the end, everybody would have gone home joking about the problems they had to start the party, laughing and saying that they enjoyed the party a lot. This story can teach us that flexibility during contingencies is as important as planning.

     Japanese mentality shies away from uncertain situations. However, uncertainty might also be a “friend” when it comes to inventions. Note that most of greatest inventions that have changed the world have not come from Japan, but from USA, England, France, Italy and other European countries. Japan has improved them, as it has done with cars, bullet trains, etc.

     Finally, we can conclude that if some aspects that characterized the way of thinking and acting in other cultures, like a good dose of humor, flexibility and certain amount of drive in the face of the unknown is added to the Japanese mentality, we could have found an incredible method of thinking that can solve not only many of your personal problems, but can help to have a better world too.

Copyright 2017 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.

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A good laugh: The smart student

December 17, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

CHICKEN

“This is my drawing, Miss Beetle.” A boy said to his teacher.

“A blank page?”

No! It is a fast chicken eating corn grains, but it ate all of them already.”

“And, where is the chicken?”

“It ran away!”

Copyright 2016 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Curiosities: Why does your body shiver when you are cold?

December 5, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

cold

I could not use my bicycle last night because of the rain, so I decided to go home by bus. While waiting at the bus stop, I noticed two things about the girl who was in front of me: One, she was wearing a miniskirt and boots despite a temperature between three and four degrees. Second, she was shivering.

     “Social conventions and male chauvinism dictate cruel rules sometimes” I thought. “If you are a young girl, people expect you to show your legs even in winter and extend the length of your skirt some centimeters annually as you are getting old until the day comes when you cannot even see your feet.” Then my thoughts went back to the second observation: Why does your body shiver when we are cold?

     On very cold moments, your body temperature drops from its normal parameters (from 36°C to 37°C) to lower values that can lead to hypothermia, a dangerous condition because of a long exposure to cold. After moving or running for a while, you take your coat off as soon as you feel hot, right? And you do that because friction and movements produce heat. Sometimes, we do not remember this fact, but our body does, and that’s why it shivers: As an attempt to protect you by raising the body temperature.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Thought of the day: Planning

November 27, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

PLAN

To plan your life and work will not solve all your problems, but it will lighten your burden because a lack of planning leads to the beginning of chaos.


Thought of the day: Happiness and pain

September 1, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

LOVE-PAIN

Happy and sad moments share something in common: They always come to an end and they always revive. The biggest difference is that when your happy moments die, not always sad moments are born as result of it, but when your sad moments die, as a reward, your happy moments are reborn to bring you consolation, peace and, above all, to make you feel happier. If you are sad because you lost your job, someone very important to you passed away or for any other reason, remember that happy moments die, but so does pain. Be patient, hold on tight, hang in there. Sooner or later, your pain will die and your good moments will be reborn to be at your side.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Last Love Poems: She went away…

July 18, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

IMAGE: Eddy Montilla

Image: Eddy Montilla

She went away…

Don’t ask me why.

Don’t the waves do the same after kissing the shore?

Does the moon stay with us every day at dawn?

Birds leave their nests when time has come,

petals say goodbye to flowers full of hope,

passion dies when love has gone

like happiness does without little things inside.

Water escapes if the soil is dry

and clouds, clouds are blown away by the wind.

Even our friends go away and

the remembrance of them will not stay.

She went away…

Don’t ask me with whom,

because love and freedom take the same path,

but it is always freedom that should go first.

I never think about names, people or places.

If someone exists, he will be there.

It doesn’t make sense to think about him:

It would take up my time,

the time I need to think about her.

I don’t want to imagine how he could be,

I don’t want to destroy all she did.

She just went away…

Don’t ask me where:

Any place is perfect when tranquility is found.

Distance grows over time, but much more over pain.

Who cares about places when there is no love.

Her presence was my compass, the west where the sun sets.

I don’t know where I am. I know where I’m from.

I don’t know where she is, but she will not come.

She went away…

Don’t ask me when.

Any time is good to leave,

to start from the beginning when we reached the end,

to say no when it hurts us to say yes

and to say yes when we don’t have a no.

Yes, she went away…

And I also have to do the same,

but with my best smile, without haste,

holding my head high

and ignoring what people were saying.

I cannot walk the same path.

I will not run after her,

after oasis of calm I cannot see,

a cruel mirage that makes me bleed.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


Thought of the day: What is life?

July 15, 2016

By Eddy Montilla.

LIFE

Life is a succession of good things and misfortunes that are alternated enigmatically to bring to your eyes a couple of tears from time to time and bring to your face a broad smile many times.

Copyright 2016 littlethingsforall.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.