Oct 13, 2015

Going Above and Beyond

Going Above and Beyond photo
I'll admit I was pretty lazy before coming to Japan. To some extent I still am. But, Japan has changed me.

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. 

So, from now on when people ask, "how has Japan changed you"? This experience will be my response. What will your response be?   


Andrew Higgins has been living in Japan full-time since 2012. He is a junior high school ALT, softball coach, lover of okonomiyaki (Osaka style), and all things Girls und Panzer. He makes YouTube videos about living in Japan. You can follow his adventures at facebook.com/HigginsInJapan


  • KevinC

    on Oct 21

    Very inspiring blog post, I kinda have the same feeling after I started living in Japan 5 Years ago. Living in Japan will push you to work harder and put yourselves outside of your comfortable zone, it is the best way to learn some new skills and meet new people.

  • Higgins

    on Oct 23

    Thanks Kevin! It's so easy to just stay in your comfort zone. And you aren't going to learn new things about yourself or about Japan.