What’s the importance?

Ask yourself: what’s the importance?

Very often when writing or describing things I find that I don’t do a good enough job at answering this question. I just give out information, that without an answer to this question, makes it simply isolated.

It’s interesting because in the west we have a mantra of telling the story, like humans have done for millennia, yet Japan hasn’t caught on to this as much.

What I mean by this is, when you go to unfamiliar places, a lot of the time Japanese people will just give you the facts. “This building was built in 1372. It was made entirely of wood’ etc.

This information can be interesting for some, but not for many. By telling the story, you bring context to the facts, and relate it to the lives of the listeners. By answering the question above, you can do a better job at connecting with people, and helping them use this information in their daily lives.

An example would be, in a recent Yamabushido newsletter, I mentioned the Akinomine Autumn Peak ritual, but just said that August is traditionally when it is on. After being asked this question, I added that the ritual is an initiation for budding Yamabushi. This gives much better context to the information, and can be built on even more.

Well, that’s enough about storytelling because I think this question can also help you before you do anything. If you stop and ask yourself this question, think back to the narrative that got you to that position, and remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Too often we forget why we do things, and that puts us on autopilot, which is not a good thing for humans to do (except for habits that require repetition, like memorizing things or exercise).



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


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