Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Japanese Proverb #2

灯台下暗し Toudai moto kurashi. means "It is darkest at the bottom of the lighthouse"

Toudai means lighthouse, Kurashi means dark. I just heard this on the other day. It means that we often know the least about the things that are closest to us. It was used in terms of culture and international communication. Ironically, we understand least about our own native culture; behavior, ways of thinking, etc. We only truely start to understand our own culture after we start living in a foreign one. It forces our perspective and makes us see our culture from the outside. You can't do this on a vacation, you might be in another country, but your still traveling in your native culture. I think it takes at least a year living abroad to develope this insight.

It could also be applied to our own personalities. We often don't know ourselves well becuse we lack objectivity. We're stuck in our skin. I've often thought, I would be much bettr at managing Jason Winter's life if I were somebody else. Those around us, friends and family show us, sometimes painfully, what we're really like. Anyone knows this is what being in a relationship or marriage is like. I really like this expression.

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