「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Make the most of it

By Samantha Loong


"It's a beautiful day today," said the first speaker in our listening exercise. "Isn't it? Make the most of it," came the response.

My students were puzzled by the response. "Make the most of it?" they asked. I explained that it meant not wasting what you've been given. In the case of the listening exercise, it meant not wasting the beautiful day.

I've always disliked wasting things. Food, time, money … Whenever I make a bad clothing purchase, it hurts when I have to dispose of the clothing. In Japan, I find myself doing this more than in New Zealand, as there aren't any secondhand clothing stores near me. In New Zealand, it's not unusual to find a shop for charities accepting used clothing and other goods a short walk from your home.

Used goods in Japan are also not as cheap as they are in New Zealand. Having walked up and down the musty aisles of many Japanese secondhand shops, there seems to be a sense of "secondhand chic" ― secondhand goods seem to attract a premium price, for some reason. I've seen items at secondhand shops here that cost almost as much as brand-new ones.

But it's nice to look at old things. There's something special about seeing a table where a family possibly sat around. I can't help but think: "What did they eat? What did they talk about?" Or it could be a worn leather handbag: "Where did this person go with this bag?" Maybe these memories are part of the price tag.

For exactly this reason, I've always found myself looking forward to oversized rubbish day. I love seeing what other people throw out. It's like an insight into how other people live. During autumn, I saw several golf sets being thrown out: "Did they start playing because they were told to by their manager? Or did they genuinely enjoy golf?" I've also seen electronic keyboards, patio furniture and the always creepy suitcase. (An abandoned suitcase always takes my mind to dark places: "What ... or WHO is in there?") The most interesting thing I've seen so far is one of those exercise machines that emulates being on a bucking horse at a rodeo. I wonder: "Did they reach their fitness goal?"

I always hope the former owners of these items made the most of them. In a world where so many things are made for convenience, affordability and disposability, I hope there were many tournaments attended with that golf set, many gigs played with that keyboard, many drinks enjoyed around the patio furniture, and many countries visited with that suitcase. Because in so many situations in life, it's not about how much you have, but what you do to make the most of it.



The Japan Times ST: January 27, 2017

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2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版