Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Following the rules

Japan is well-known for its precision - the trains really do run on time. It's also a land where people follow the rules. In fact they learn from an early age that there is a way for things to be done. Today we bumped up against both - precision and rule-keeping. Even in the setting of the dentist (fast becoming one of David's most-visited haunts) the sheer time and effort that went in to having a silver cap for a back tooth measured and shaved and re-measured and re-shaved was quite something. Things are done well here! And then the rules. Alistair was looking forward to getting a present at his tennis class. After all, it was promised to those who attended the requisite times in August and September. He'd been there the required number. But no present! David - 'Why not?' Tennis coach - 'He was missing twice'. David - 'Well no he wasn't because the times he missed he came on another day'. Coach - 'Ah but you need to come on the actual day to get the present'. It seemed rather unfair to deny a 6 year old his present (even if it was just a soft tennis ball) but that was what the 'rules' said. Aiming for precision is a good thing; following rules is not a bad thing; but both can become a trap. We are ever learning as we live in this fascinating culture.

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