Embracing my Westernness…

30 Apr


Throwing yourself into another culture, another country, and even another way of thinking, doesn’t just allow you to learn new things and perhaps better ways of living – it can lead you to truly appreciate some of the things that you learned from your base culture, that when compared to alternatives, still seem to be the better option.


During dinner this evening I had an interesting conversation with my homestay family about listening to music while studying: I believe that it improved my concentration and allows me to focus on the task at hand whereas they think it is a bad habit that will only hinder my performance academically.

Ordinarily I would be inclined to have a go, but I have tried and tested this method since I was young and have always found it harder to study without music – it appears to be just how I work. Furthermore, I listen to classical music when I study – music with lyrics or heavy music DOES distract.

However, more importantly than any of that – listening to music while studying allows me to enjoy life.

To expand on this : If I have to study either way, I would much rather enjoy good music, relax and thus get more out of studying than sit in the quiet (which most of the time is never quiet anyway as sounds are being made all around us all the time.) and not enjoying anything.

I realized this thought process stems from my base culture – the idea that the enjoyment of life is paramount to all else. For example – We would much rather pick being poor yet happy over rich but with no time to enjoy life. Whereas here in Asia ‘success’ is first and foremost – enjoyment should not factor into the equation. Most people here would pick being rich and run off their feet than poor yet happy.

Thus, this is one of those times where I come to appreciate my base culture and what it has taught me in regards to life.

Don’t get me wrong – I want to be a success. However, to me, being a success is about more than just money and status. It is about looking back on life and knowing that I have lived it to the full and rarely having a regretful moment staining my past that I wish I could alter.

So I will listen to classical non-intrusive music while studying. I will chat with my friends when necessary to get things off my chest. I will have those nights out once in a while to let loose. I will balance my life between necessity and what is ‘just because I want to’.

If I get mediocre scores then so be it. But at least I can say that, if I died tomorrow, i’ve enjoyed my time so far, rather than looking back in misery at lost time.


2 Responses to “Embracing my Westernness…”

  1. helen May 1, 2011 at 12:05 AM #

    when i asked a japanese mad i like here “what is more important in marriage love or money” he said “both” i said “love” – he said – “you need both” then the next day i asked haruka-san whether she’d prefer to work alot and have money but no freetime or work less but have more free time she chose to work alot….
    they’re such a world apart from us,..

  2. ジョニー May 1, 2011 at 1:24 AM #

    totally agreeeeee

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