Life storiesMindMusings

Lessons from Japan: Contentment

Due to how I wrote a blog post recently with some big talk about being in a state of contentment, I think it’s only fair to give a follow-up.

So, let me begin with a story.

It was my very first day in the city I now call home. It had been a long day dealing with paperwork, buying appliances, and overall doing the kind of stuff one has to do after they’ve uprooted their life and moved to another side of the globe. I was tired, but that wasn’t the problem.

I was cold.

Look, you see me? I don’t know. I don’t know how to put it in words to explain to you the level of discomfort I feel when I am cold.

A jus…di worse ting eva. (It’s just…the worst thing ever.)


I actually have a theory that being in cold climates isn’t good for the psyche of human beings.

But that’s another topic for another time.

Back to the story.

By the time night had fallen, it had gotten to the point where I was uncomfortable enough to have my mood really affected. And, then, to put the icing on the cake of my sour mood – my rental furniture arrived.

I’d been fantasizing about the moment when I could just curl up in bed, underneath my comforter, and surrender to the warm embrace of sleep. This had been my respite during the past few excruciating hours of frigid torture.

And so, I waited for my bed with bated breath.

Fridge? Check.

Curtains? Check.

Desk? Check.

Bedding? Check.

For some reason, though, the men stopped coming in with furniture at this crucial point. I figured they were saving the best (the bed) for last, but after a few minutes, I realized…that was it. They were done.

I feebly asked my translation helper the question that had been on my mind for the past half-hour.

“Where’s the bed?”

She was busy talking to the men, doing very important things I couldn’t get done for myself, but she glanced up and pointed to the “bedding” on the floor.

“No bed. That’s your futon.”


Look. Peeps. I will legit sleep on the floor if I have to.

It’s just that as I was preparing for the move back home, I Googled ‘futon’ when I was told it would be part of my furniture rental.

This was the top Google images result.

It was the top result then; it still is the top result now
It was then; it still is now

I figured it was some kind of two-in-one sofa/bed that would be cheap but functional.

But when I saw the actual futon (which I can only describe as a marginally large blanket) crumpled up on in the corner – my spirits sunk to beneath the floor I would be sleeping on.

I sat on the chair fiddling with the AC remote that I just could not for the life of me figure out how to use, willing it to work…and for every second it didn’t, I became more and more dejected until I wanted to scream at the wonderful lady without whom I would have been hopeless, “GET OUT!!!! Just get out!”

But I didn’t scream.

I can’t even remember if I asked for help at this point, or if I’d been too busy moping.

I sat there, and then everyone left.

And then, when I couldn’t take the cold (and my disappointment) any more, I wrapped myself up in my comforter.

And I cried.

At that moment, one single thought ran through my head.

“I just want to go home.”


There’s no happy ending to this story, although I did fall asleep and wake up in a much better mood.

Problems, I guess, seem much smaller in the light of day.

But I tell the story to make the point: that night, I was NOT content.

If it had been a test…I would have failed.


I was not okay with where I was. I was not thinking about how I would grow from this situation. I was flustered, and miserable and sad.

And I’m okay with that.

I failed, and moved on…and that’s also part of me learning to be content.


Being in an environment where so much can and does go wrong on a daily basis, has forced the perfectionist in me to shut up, relax, and just go along for the ride.

Does she still rear up her ugly head every now and then?


But I’m continuing to learn that really, ACTUALLY…it’s not about the destination, but about the journey.



Do you have any spectacular failures you’d like to share? Please feel free to leave them – or whatever you’d like – in a comment below.

Peace and love.


One comment

  1. Have too many from my travel adventures. This made me laugh so hard girl! It’s still very encouraging. ‘As they say….What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’

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