When I moved to Japan, over 4 years ago, I was pretty set in my ways. I didn't like change, and I was naive about how the world worked.
In the last 4 years, I've seen amazing things and met amazing people.
But living in Japan has made me more aware of the world around me.
1. I'm not so quick to judge.
2. I'm so thankful for everything I have because I know it can all be taken away in an instant. I've seen those in the Tohoku area of Japan lose it all in the tsunami on 3/11/11.
3. I've learned that all mothers in the world are similar: we all want the best for our kids.
4. I don't take certain things for granted anymore, especially space. Here in Japan space is so hard to come by. Everything is miniature, including apartments, streets, drinks, cars, parking spaces, etc.
5. I'll never complain about prices in the U.S. again! I just paid almost 8 dollars for 6 apples! One mango was almost 5 dollars! Everything in Japan is so freaking expensive!
6. I've learned how to recycle just about everything and re-purpose things.
7. I'll never take the stable ground of Texas for granted again! (Once I leave Japan, I hope to never feel an earthquake again...for as long as I live!)
8. I've become a very adventurous eater. Raw or cooked, it doesn't really matter anymore.
9. I know how difficult it can be when you are illiterate and don't speak the language!
10. I don't sweat the small things because I know I can't control very much. I've learned to just go with the flow and take whatever comes my way.
11. I'll never complain about traffic in the U.S. again! Nothing is worse than an 8 hour traffic jam!
12. I'll never need a navigation system. If I can navigate through the confusing streets of Japan, I can navigate anywhere unassisted!
13. I consider any flight under 7 hours to be a short flight!
14. I carry my own cloth grocery bags with me.
15. In regards to fashion, anything goes!
16. I like using public transportation, especially trains!
17. I carry my own personal hand towel with me because most restrooms don't have paper towels.
18. I've learned to not make trash, because chances are there won't be any trash cans to through your trash away, so you have to carry it with you until you get home.
19. I've become an expert at using chopsticks.
20. Free parking! There ain't none in Japan!