Tag Archives: Japan

Conversations in Japan

I had two very interesting conversations while in Japan. They were with the same person and were not exactly separate from one another. In fact, it’s incorrect to consider them ‘two conversations’. Instead I might say that two very important points were raised during one conversation.

First, intrinsic motivation came up. A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to properly appreciate a conversation about intrinsic motivation, and I can thank my teaching degree for changing that. Essentially, we humans are motivated in one of two ways – intrinsically or from within – or extrinsically, by outside factors.


Somehow, as only conversations with strangers in a hostel can do, a relatively deep issue was raised…. The psychology of why I started blogging. And in that moment I realised, or finally admitted to myself, that documenting and sharing my life of travelling had more to do with the recognition than intrinsic motivation to do so. Of course I might be selling myself a bit short here, a huge factor was that I was and am completely inspired by the new, intense, experiential nature of being abroad. I wrote because of that. But the gratification from climbing stats, likes and shares was a solid feeling. Ahhhh sweet recognition. (Is this delayed middle child syndrome?)

Ultimately, extrinsic motivation rather than motivation that comes from deep inside you will almost always run out, fall short. While it’s 100% true that I don’t have it in me to be a ‘struggling writer’, it is also true, for this time of my life anyway, that I’m in a motivational lull. A point where the extrinsic motivation has exhausted itself. It’s had a good 4 years! The aim is to find that internal, substantially more powerful, internal will to write and share.

No more blaming Hong Kong for sucking my creativity dry.


The next point raised was the importance of experience. Not the kind of experience needed to grab that mid-level job; rather the idea that living vicariously through instagrammed photos is just not enough. It’s plain, old uninspiring. Perhaps I speak for myself, but I don’t think I do, when I say that scrolling through all the social medias hardly ever leaves me feeling inspired. It’s all just so abstract, not even real. And how sad because pictures are supposed to speak a thousand words and nothing is usually more real than a photo. (debatable with Photoshop) But en-mass they become overwhelmingly untrue.

“The Grand Canyon was the wind in my face the birds swooping into the gorge, thunder rolling in the distance. When I looked at a 2D picture of it afterwards I thought – this isn’t where I went.” Wouter. The Netherlands. Spoken in Japan.


Of course I’ll probably never stop sharing my work. There’s absolutely zero to gain from that! And as for social media – streamlining rolls of beautiful imagery into your brain isn’t always a huge bore 😉

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Someone I Once Met: Made in Japan

Yuka is a Japanese girl I met at a party in Chile (it would seem I meet a lot of people at places where one drinks). She is the smiliest person you’ve ever come across- not many people smile and laugh as much as Yuka does. She had followed her American boyfriend over after they met as teacher-student in Japan. We saw each other a number of times after our first meeting, once bumping into one another in the busy business district of Santiago.

As it turned out, her relationship took a turn for the worst- him not coming home after nights out (she’s not a partier) and being generally blind to her acts of dedication (like packing him cooked lunches every day). She stuck it out for longer than she should have but eventually decided enough was enough, packed up and moved out. She had to rely on the kindness of new friends to take her in- she had nowhere to go.


She came over to visit me and spoke openly about his taking advantage of things- while still laughing and smiling. But I could imagine the hurt behind it all. She had moved halfway across the world for him and then this. She hinted at possibly going back to him because of the obvious apologetic behaviour he showed post break-up. But I encouraged her to, basically, not be stupid.

Yuka has a sugar addiction- I’m sure of it. She doesn’t drink but man oh man does she like sweets. I get a lot of joy out of her Facebook postings about her latest and greatest desert or sweet find. A scroll through her uploads shows a long line of photographs of delicious looking treats that she can’t stay away from. Each photo accompanied by a long write up about when, with whom, the whole thing. The best part is her broken written-English . I have to copy and paste an example so you too can share in the joy she so easily feels.Yuka

“What a lovely surprise! Got a box include lovely card from my sweet girl, Fumi chan♡!!!!!she just sent to my house….Lovely pink box and Macaron flavor tea!!!!!it’s perfect one for me!!!!!!!I’m so happy….She knows about me well♡ Another day, I also got birthday gift what is so lovely tea set from Maki chan♡ That’s why fumi chan’s gift was tea! So lovely! I can use both at the same time and I can feel both of my lovely ladies!!!!”

Since Yuka’s Emancipation from the American boy she has continued (thanks to her strong currency conversion I believe) to hop from country to country on her own. Raving, as she does with the sweets, about each place, person and event she experiences. In that oh so cute writing style of hers.

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