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Location: Uto city, Kumamoto, Japan

I returned to Japan in April 2011 after living in NZ for the past 12 years. It's so refreshing to immerse in the Japanese culture after such a long break.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

PhD beginner

I haven't introduced myself properly to you, have I? I'm a Japanese who is doing PhD in psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand. I came to NZ in 1999 and have been here since then. My husband is a Dutch-Kiwi, who isn't a typical Kiwi who loves rugby and beers. Instead, he is into sumo and Haiku, and knows some aspects of Japanese culture better than me. We cycled the length of Japan last year, which was broadcast on local Kumamoto TV, RKK. For those who missed our footage and for our own sake, my husband set up a blog about the trip.

I've just submitted my 6-month self report review to my supervisor, which was the first substantial writing I did since I've started my PhD. My interest is in happiness (well-being in psychology term), and I'm looking at the relationship between life goals and various types of well-being (yes, there is more than one type of well-being!). You might ask why I chose this theme for my PhD? It occurred to me, one day, that everyone seems to be ultimately pursuing happiness, no matter what activities or work they choose to engage in. However, the pursuit has proven to be elusive, as not so many people are full heartedly content with their lives.

From the evolutionary perspective, we humans are not designed to be happy, but to keep on reproducing even in the state of misery. Also, some researchers argue that there is a biological set point of happiness which is rather stable across one's life span. In contrast, some argue that we are endowed with the capacity to experience happiness (positive affects), because that helps us to build our personal resources and thus a greater chance for survival. In modern society, we are bombarded with so much information and images every day, which portrait happy people who appear to be on top of the world. It's likely that the gap between the escalated expectation and reality makes people dissatisfied. However, that dissatisfaction does not put people off, but spurs people to try harder.

I can keep on going talking about happiness, but I'll leave you with the following quote for now.
"If you win a rat race, you are still a rat".


Anonymous happy rabbit said...

How cool!Actually,I have understood about only 30% of content. Because My English is not so good. But I like your blog so much.The color is wonderful,isn't it.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Mami said...

Thank you for your comment. I was trying to put a photo in my new blog entry, but failed. See I'm still a novice. I have to be careful not to irritate my husband, who is a very experienced blogger, by asking him too many questions at once. There is always something new you can learn, isn't there?

9:23 PM  
Blogger hadashi said...

Is it true that I get irritated when you ask too many questions?
Maybe you can keep your language simpler so that people not in your subject area can understand more.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Mami said...

I didn't mean to criticize you;-) I think I've got a tendency to ask questions one after another without realizing that you also have got something else on your mind.

I'll try to keep my language simpler when I speak about my subject area, which is pretty hard to do somehow.

1:08 PM  
Blogger hadashi said...

Today we agreed that whenever I say a word or two in Japanese you will reply in kind, ne?

5:50 PM  
Blogger tanikota said...

Hi Mami,
First, your blog is 'eye-friendly' and easy to navigate. I was just updating my blog and stumbled on yours while checking "the Inconvenient Truth". I think Al Gore's has done a good job to awaken the 'sleeping-masses' of the consequences of climate change.

Second, we are sharing the same second homeland NZ the land of long dark clouds that rains and rains and rains...anyway better than barren OZ I guess.

Third, I cannot agree more with your ending note :"If you win a rat race, you are still a rat". These "rats" must be held responsible for what they've done in past. Considering the culprit of most ecological damage were done by those financially well-off, educated but intellectually unwise.


7:11 AM  
Blogger Mami said...

"Long dark clouds" hmm... The first time I came here, I saw long beautiful white clouds, but after living here for 8 years, I have to somehow agree with you in that aspect. What bothers me most, though, is the gusty wind here. It broke off my favorite plant twice and does blow me off balance when on a bicycle.

I'm glad that the quote resonated with you. It's a good reminder not to be swept up by so-called current "trend". Thank you for your message. It's nice to know that someone cared and took a time to read my blog.

3:08 PM  

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