Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I took a picture of this sign the other day with my cell phone while standing in the train on the way to work and it says, "shiawase?"... which means literally in Nihongo (Japanese):


Not a very wordy question, but what made me think the sign was interesting is that the top half of the sign is a mirror. In many Japanese trains, in the womens' train car, there are advertisements that are half mirrors, half sign. Before netizens of Bloglandia start to shout, "What was Garrett doing in the womens' train car?!?! SICKBASTARD!"... relax.

The train car is only reserved for women during rush hour, so any other time, everybody rides it, OK?

Anyways, it was an interesting thing to think about in the morning... it's a statement of a stupidly obviously fact that happiness remains an elusive thing for humanity. Part of (my) life as a person of faith means that I'm cursed blessed? with the knowledge that the typical human answers to the question of happiness are temporary and unfulfilling, which can be summarized easily in categories I call:

  • stuff, AKA cars mansions real estates iPods PS2s cellphones brandname purses
  • cash, AKA money millions diamonds gold platinum stocks bonds
  • power/fame AKA king queen rockstar president Nobel Prize Pulitzer Prize Academy Award
  • beauty, AKA hoes manhoes plastic surgery groupies designer threads perfume cologne
  • drugs AKA alcohol tobacco caffeine weed coke

Not a comprehensive list, but you get the idea.

Reality is much more than the mere realm of our physical senses, and once we know "the truth", it isn't always easy to accept or like, even if it is the truth (think of the dichotomy of Neo's / Cypher's reactions in "The Matrix"). I know that life is more important than those things, and yet knowing what can't make me happy, doesn't translate directly into knowing what I know will make me happy: living a meaningful life that is according to whatever purpose God has for me.

Vague, right?

To quote the direct and insightful words of a guy I know on the subject of happiness / money / life...

People think about making money all the time in this world, I think about how the world might be if money is not needed.
I don't want to be a drone, a worker, a peon. I don't want clients, bosses, a dress code, a name tag, or business card. I don't want people to catagorize me by my job title, I want people to recognize me by my name.
Everyone does things one way, get a diploma, find a job, work till they die. Stack up money and buy stuff.
What does a diploma tell someone? It tells people that you were a great drone for 4 years of your life because everybody needs more drones.

Wise words. Japan has been a lot of fun, and being a prophet of Babylon (American English Teacher) slaving away in the Japanese economy is fun, but I know I should be spending more time contemplating how God wants me to use these experiences.

However, to be conscious about such things though, means thinking a lot about the future. And thinking a lot about the future... tends to make me shiawase ja nai and I'm still an architect.


On an unrelated note, I recently taught a special lesson about regional slang. My newest contribution to my Japanese students friendly English repertoire:




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in?scrip?tion (n-skrip-shun)n.
1. The act or an instance of inscribing.
2. Something, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
3. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
4. The usually informal dedication of an artistic work.
5. Jeremiah 31:33

the facts.
name. Gar AKA "that Chinese guy" "Sleepy.McSleeping"
ethnicity/nationality. Chinese/American, 4th gen.
location. Sea-Town, WA, USA Kawanishi, JAPAN
occupation. less-cynical poor grad student
age. younger than you think, older than you know



UnseenGC @ AIM
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