So, what now?

Our “extended Sabbath” in Japan, as Colin put it, allowed us to step back and evaluate our lives.

What were we doing wrong?

What needs to change…permanently.

What do we want our lives to look like?

So, what WERE we doing wrong? We seemed to be on the right track with our cute little nuclear family with the boy and the girl, mom at home intentionally to be with the kids, and dad not at all, cuz he was busy “providing”. We had a nice new little house and a brand new car that took us everywhere we wanted to go, including church on Sundays. How could anything be wrong? If Hammy (from Over the Hedge ) had licked us, he would’ve exclaimed, “Mmmmmmmmm! Tastes Shiny!”

But, something was wrong. The suburbs were slowly killing us. "Keeping up with the Jones’" didn’t seem to be such a great idea...not that we ever thought it was, yet somehow that's what we ended up doing.

So we left.


We thought relocating to a different country would be a good experience…at least, that is what we always heard. Turns out its true! Not any easy experience, but good. We got to step outside our lives and re-evaluate.

After we arrived in Japan and as I slowed down, I realized that there was an extreme lack of movement in my life. Sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it? But, I am not talking about busy-ness. I had been plenty busy with lots of little part-time jobs to help make ends meet: teaching piano, sitting at my computer as an administrative assistant, selling Pampered Chef, being “at home” with my kids who were pre-school age etc. You know, “life”. You have it, too. When I did go places, I walked from my house to the car and then from my car to my destination where I sat down again or walked at a snail’s pace (shopping with kids for example). My dedicated workout routine was raising a white flag of surrender to the utter lack of movement usurping the rest of my existence. How do I know? My pant size.

Another realization was how much we ate. Often times I felt like a giant ogre in Japan. Granted, Japanese people are generally small and thin…but they are that way for a reason! I was shocked at how little they generally ate. The portion sizes are WAY smaller than in the West. Some people may argue that the Japanese have a healthy diet of fish and rice and soybean-everything (ever tried Natto?), so that is why they are smaller. But I have seen how they LOVE fatty meat and greasy sauces and they have aisles and aisles of junk food in their stores. What gives? One reason may be their portion sizes. BUT, this is not a thesis on Japanese nutrition. This is about ME! (Isn’t it always?)

Okham`s Razor states that the simplest answer to a problem is probably the correct one.

I am bigger than the average Japanese person. When I eat, my portions are bigger than the average Japanese person’s portions. Hmmmmmm.

As we adapted to life in another country, we made a lot of changes. For example, before we left Canada, we sold our cute little home with all our nice new appliances. One of those was a huge refrigerator. I mean, we could fit six 4-litre jugs of milk on the middle shelf and the shelf still wasn’t full! It was a beauty! We could stock up. I only had to go shopping once every 2 weeks. And then I would bring home the mother-load.

When the 4 of us got to Japan, this strange foreign land where we were instantly illiterate and everything seemed turned around (culture shock), our fridge was the same height as our counter, and the only vehicle we had was a little mama bike with a basket on the front!

Now, obviously, that wasn’t sustainable, and eventually we upgraded the fridge and got a car. But the “new-to-us” fridge was still only a third of the size of the one back home (and a lovely avocado, 1970’s kind of green, I might add!).

The point is, we were forced to pare down in Japan; eat less, shop more often, and go shopping on foot or by bike. At first this was torture and seemingly Bohemian! But over time, we came to realize these were actually good things! We felt great, we were eating way more fresh food (but less over all) and we were spending time together.

A new idea also started to dawn on us:

The car had kept us from living the lives we wanted to live.

1 comment:

Evan said...

Natto, ewww.