Thursday, October 16, 2008

A few of my favorite things

While driving in to work this morning, I was thinking about all the people who get fatigued from being on this island too long. I started making a mental list of the small things I really appreciate about being out here which make the Japanese experience one worth... well... experiencing.

Epilleptastic - I think my brother coined this term.. He used it in reference to the shoes kids wear which have blinkie lights in them that go off when the kids run around. Out here, there aren't that many street lights. Little need for them as there is really very little crime to mention (I can't remember the last time I locked my house when leaving or my car for that matter.) Instead, the Okianwan people like to use road markers which flash at a seizure inducing rate alongside the road. I just think it's funny and remember my brother's comment everytime I drive in the dark.

Construction - I like the construction here for two reasons. #1, they actually FINISH it promptly. #2, they hide the disorder of the site with these cute little banners depicting cartoon farm animals, or happy sunshines.

Service - When in the states do the fast food people come out to your car profusely apologizing for the delay, thank you wholeheartedly, invite you back, and bow as they back away from your car? Here, all the time. I've actually taken advantage of this for my own entertainment as I go to McDonalds and ask for a combo meal without a coke, and a milkshake in its place. They REALLY want to help you, they do. They just don't have a button for it. You can see the look, much like when a puppy doesn't understand what command you've given it. They love you... they just don't know how to give you what you want.

Traffic - I'm in it a lot here. I don't care. I have gotten up to 60MPH here less than a dozen times. People just aren't in a rush. When the light turns yellow... and even just the slightest bit red, you might have a couple people try to slide through, but the people waiting to go let them and aren't impatient. When the light turns green, there's not the honk of a bunch of speed demons behind you to get you going. They let you go at your pace. If someone behind you wants to go faster, you pull over and let them. If you are leaving a gas station, the attendant will block traffic for you... the traffic doesn't mind.

Noise - what noise? I think we've got the noisiest kids in the neighborhood. I'm not saying that as a slight against our kids... they're well behaved and a small reminder will put them back in check, but there's just not a lot of noise here.

Sunrise or Sunset? - Do you like the sunrise over the ocean from the east cost? Do you like the sunset over the Pacific? We've got spectacular views morning and night within a couple of minutes drive from anywhere.

City or rural? - it's got both.

Safety - 3-4 year olds walking home unsupervised from school or the park? Sure. Why not? Nothing's going to happen.

Just a brief list. I'll toss on the tenpack of eggs as well. I'll add on more as I think of it.

Have a great day. Focus on those small joys.

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