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Japan is Better than the US

Instead of writing a million more posts about Japan, I'm going to finish it off here so that I can start writing other things. When you boil all of my experiences in Japan down, you're left with one common theme - Japan is way better than the US.

In America we're all so proud that we're such a tolerant society. We tolerate each other's differences because that tolerance is passed on to us and we get to do whatever we want.

Japan is different. More than tolerance, they have an overwhelming underlying respect for everyone and everything. It's almost crazy. The best example is the subways. In the subways there are advertisements hanging from the ceiling of every subway car. They aren't plastic, tyvek, or even laminated paper. They're just paper like a poster.

Filling Your Glass and Fighting Hedonic Adaptation

There's a concept called hedonic adaptation, which says that we quickly adjust to any increased level of comfort or luxury and cease to appreciate it. Anything good that happens to us becomes our new normal, and we look higher up the ladder, not realizing that we'll quickly adjust to those rungs as well.

The trick, then, is to suppress your hedonic adaptation, while still climbing up that ladder. If you can manage to do that, you can fully appreciate everything you already have, and future accomplishments, acquisitions, etc., will also be fully appreciated.

I don't know if it's fully possible to suppress hedonic adaptation. There's some evidence that zen monks who meditate all the time can do it to a large degree. Even if we're not going to spend all day meditating and will never fully get rid of it, though, we can easily move in that direction.

One strategy I use is to occasionally ask myself, "What's amazing in my life?" For one reason or another, this tends to happen when I'm en route somewhere, either on the subway, walking, or on my motorcycle.

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