It's not big revelation that people in Japan value a hard days work. Many salary-men will put in a six day work week and even working longer than the normal eight hours a day.
They do sacrifice a lot to accomplish this. Family time, rest, relaxation and a host of many other things. They do it because in many cases it's expected of them. Sure, they do it for the money. You'd be hard pressed to find someone willing to work that long and hard for free.
So, when I moved to Japan I knew that despite being a foreigner I was going to have to change. Obviously, no one was going to expect me to work those crazy hours or sacrifice all of my free time. But I knew, that for me, I would like to go above and beyond.
This year I started coaching softball at my school. Certainly not because anyone asked. With the way our season started out I'm sure some people were wondering what I was even doing. That being said, no one required me to help out. I chose to. I chose to be a part of this team because something inside me changed.
What am I sacrificing? A couple Saturday mornings. A few hours a week after school. So, what? Is my time so valuable that sleeping in is more important? Time when I wouldn't be doing anything anyways.
For me going above and beyond was a no brainer. It surprised the people at my school. It's even surprised me! As the season comes to an end I feel I made the right decision. Sure we didn't win every game but I learned that a little hard work isn't so hard after all. It was all about being a part of something bigger, something bigger than just my "look out for number one" mentality.