Yesterday, Chelsea and I hungout with two new Japanese friends. They showed us all around the city of Kyoto, including a visit to a zen garden and traditional tea house. It is here where I began to understand “wabi-sabi,” an important part of Zen and Japanese culture.
When Chelsea and I were in Tokyo, we had too much fun laughing at all of the ridiculous English phrases that Japanese people sport on their clothing, backpacks, pencil pounches…. everywhere! The phrases almost never make sense, but the language itself seems to be a novelty here. It’s “cool” to have something written in English, even if you obviously have no idea what it says. “Eyerashes” (Instead of eyelashes), “Me Boss You Not,” and “The Whispered My Heart” are all phrases we’ve found.
For being the most populated city in the world, I strangely haven’t gotten the “chaotic” vibe from Tokyo that I expected. It is definitely busy, but somehow everything seems to just flow here.
How often do you ask "How are you?" and expect to receive a genuine response? Think about it.
Some European friends pointed out this American cultural norm to me awhile back, and I became aware of its absurdity. I use “How are you?” or a similar variation as a greeting, but without any expectation for initiating a real conversation. In fact, I often ask the question in passing, and am long gone before the person would even have had the opportunity to respond. I realize that every country and culture has its little quirks and uses language differently. But it’s made me reflect about how this idea translates to my relationship with God and other people.
In my experience living out of a backpack for months at a time, packing light and packing smart are two necessary parts of travel preparation. Packing cubes have been a miracle travel tool for me while abroad.
Disclosure: I received compensation for writing this review of Bagail's packing cubes. However, all opinions expressed in this article are strictly my own.
I believe in God's grace through Jesus. I love to learn, in a variety of contexts - reading God's Word, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds around the world, and as a student of Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Western Washington University. Pages of My Passport is dedicated to sharing this journey of learning through written and visual content.