In June, I had an interview with a Japanese newspaper in Mongolia.
The main focus was to capture what I am doing in Mongolia as well as my journey up until now.
Having read the previous interviews of this newspaper (a Nobel prize winner, the CEO of the biggest bank in Mongolia, etc.), I was not sure if I was the right fit, but the chief editor said as long as it can deliver something worth sharing, it would be fine. After the publication, I received some positive feedback from people I know as well as strangers, so I hope it was ok.
The interview took more than 3 hours, and it was a fluid conversation rather than serious Q&A. It was an enjoyable experience for me.
Last week, I was invited to present in an international education conference in Mongolia (albeit small scale).
The theme of the conference was “issue and solution of pre/primary education.”
I thought that would be a great chance to present the current project I am in charge of (project to support 1st grader’s school transition). But I was asked to talk something about Japan, mainly because I would be presenting as a Guest from Japan (although I am based in Mongolia!). ←Probably the conference did not have enough budget to invite many people from Japan (there was one college professorーREAL guest from Japan).
While I was back in Japan, I was surprised by how much shower toilet has been used in many parts, be it airport, hotel, office or restaurant, and this matter made me think about two things: (1) What’s normal and (2) What’s impossible.
Recently, I had a great encounter. I didn’t expect to meet this person in Mongolia, the person who I would say is well-known to the majority of Japanese: Mr. Hirotada Ototake, the author of “No one’s perfect” (in Japanese, Gotai Humanzoku which literally means without limbs). He came to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to an event for opening new bookstore branch and introduce his book translated into Mongolian.
Furthermore, at this event, Mongolian national iconic person, Asa Shoryu (previous sumo wrestling Champion in Japan) was also present, so it was double unexpected encounter for me.
Have you purchased something through Duty free? The one you come across in an airplane or airport when you travel.
Actually, I had never done that in my life, until just one month ago, because for me, the less stuff you have, the easier to move around. So compared to the extra burden that you would carry in you journey, the discount rate was not that attractive to me.
But this time, the evolution of Duty free blew my mind, since I saw a lot of stores which adapted Duty free system not in “air XXX” but in my home townーOsaka, Japanーand I could save around 20,000 jPY (around 160 USD) just with Duty Free.
Honestly, I didn’t think I was eligible for Duty Free in Japan, and I assume that I am not the only one. Therefore, I hope this can be of any help not only for foreigners who travel to Japan (maybe other countries, too), but also for Japanese who live abroad and return temporarily.
Opportunity opens up your antenna, which enables you to find something attractive.
To take an example of shopping, when you have no idea of what you want, it’s hard to find something attractive, whereas when you know what you want, it’s easier to find it in a store.
It’s because your antenna is wide open for finding that specific thing.
For me, it was Japan toward which I opened my antenna. When I was in Japan, I had little interest in touristic places in my country. But since I started living abroad, I became aware of being Japanese, which opened my mind to my own country. And every time I return, I decided to visit specific places I’d never been. And the more I travel, the more I realize that there are such a many great places that I never get bored of traveling.
But of course, traveling in Japan is not cheap, and I usually don’t have so much time when I return. This time, I spent only 1 week in Japan as a transit from Chile to Mongolia, but I could visit quite many places. And that was JR pass which made my journey possible.
By closing eyes, you can see what you normally don’t see with your own eyes. These days, I have more chances to close eyes, whether through meditation, yoga, active nap etc. And I had different kind of eye closing moment at my work, the moment of silence to commemorate the victims of the natural disaster (earthquake, tsunami y nuclear plant) happened 4 years ago in Japan (2011.03.11).
As time passes, we tend to forget about the past, which in many ways works for us to move on. But some things are worth remembering and I would like to introduce one way of remembering the past.