Tuesday, 9 December 2008


Though I do consider myself to be quite easily led in many ways, I have come to the conclusion that this is a good thing. Having moved city or even country at least once a year since starting university, I have had various friends over the years, very few of which have been like me. Each of these people have shaped my behavior and values to some degree. I have also noticed that my lifestyle is quite different depending upon whom I am surrounded by. There is some value in consistency, however this is definitely overrated.

Though my first year in Japan was not significantly different to my student life in the UK, due to being surrounded by Brits, it altered me in subtle ways which have helped me subsequently. My ability to eat almost any food without a second thought, along with the confidence to bathe in a communal environment, are both thanks to living in Japan.

Discussing moral standards is an interesting exercise in any environment, but particularly with those from other countries. Being somewhat of an extrovert, I am usually the first to tell some mildly self-depreciating tale of excess, resulting in a questionable outcome. However, my upbringing has installed a comprehensive editing system to ensure all details are carefully disguised by euphemism so as to almost render the story indecipherable to those not sharing my values. I envy those who can discuss intimate details about their personal lives in plain language, without flinching and worrying about being judged.

True friends will not judge, or at least if they do, they will try to alter their world view in order to accommodate new ideas. However, this concept relies on forming friendships with those values are already fairly close to your own. Meeting new people requires a lot of subtle testing of the water, but would it be better simply to go all out from the beginning? This would ensure that anyone you are likely to offend would be eliminated in one foul swoop, however it would also potentially alienate unnecessarily and reinforce stereotypes.