Hello, I'm lauren goff. This is my blog, where I talk about my life in Japan, writing, theology, and Japanese.




I don’t have much to say this week. The Shiwajo festival was cancelled due to rain, so I’ll save my Shiwajo post for another day. Oh, I turned 24 yesterday.

More importantly, my friend at one of my schools (I won’t even use an animal pseudonym, just in case) was very sick for a week, and I was very worried. They and the doctors thought that it was appendicitis. They came back last Tuesday, looking back to normal. Apparently it wasn’t appendicitis, but very debilitating abdominal pain. Do you know why they had it? It was all because of stress, surprising absolutely no one. You see, Japanese teachers work at school all week and all weekend. Luckily, they seem less stressed now.

A student at one school was caught cheating in the recent exams. You see, they’re in one of the sports teams that practice late every day. So, they couldn’t study, not often enough to do well. They didn’t want to jeopardize their future, I suppose. Obviously, cheating is still wrong, and they could quit the sports club. Lord knows people put too much stock in it, as good as sports can be in some circumstances. I think they definitely should quit. However, being a member of a club is mandatory at this school. Even the gentler clubs are at school until at least 5:30 pm, from what I’ve seen. It would still be hard, much harder than it should be.

You know, the more I think about it, the more overwork, whether because your boss wants you to or because you force yourself to, is cruelty almost like physical violence. It’s really hard to get up the courage to stop it though, especially if it’s from an authority figure.

I remember learning about the Milgram Experiments. If you don’t know, they were carried out on various unsuspecting people, and they were designed to test their willingness to obey authority. In it, the subjects were offered a middling amount of money and told to shock an actor with steadily increasing voltages of electricity if the actor couldn’t memorize words. At some point the actor yelled at the subject to stop, but the experimenter told the subject to keep going. After the very highest voltage, the experiment was stopped, and the actor was revealed to be perfectly fine. Very few people stopped before then. The voltage at which a human being dies was about halfway to the highest voltage, by the way.

Overwork is very similar. There are some differences, of course, the main one being that the victim is ultimately voluntarily hurting themselves. It’s still harming a human being for a mediocre amount of money, though, mostly because you're afraid of disappointing someone or something. Overwork really hurts a person. The examples above are illustrative, I think, and if those aren’t enough, there’s also how bad my anxiety got in college until I went to therapy.

Do you think you wouldn’t torture a person that badly if you were in the Milgram Experiment? If you think you probably would, do you wish you had the courage not to? Treat yourself the way you should treat the innocent in the experiment. Or, better yet, treat yourself the way you would treat someone you care about.

I don’t know exactly how that would look for the average teacher and student at the average Japanese school, and I regret that I can’t help very much outside of not giving homework and being supportive, but there you go. “Therein the patient must minister to himself.”

I’m sure there’s a way.

Kanji of the Day

Kun: やす.い、 やす.まる、 やす、 やす.らか

On: アン

relax, cheap, easy, low, quiet, rested, contented, peaceful

Word of the Day



stomachache, abdominal pain

Thought of the Day

言うは易く、行うは難い (いうはやすく、おこなうはがたい)

Wild Boars

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