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Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Remember your grass is green, too

Rika Kayama

Tokyo has entered the rainy season. Why put the emphasis on "Tokyo," you might ask? Well, in Hokkaido, where I was born and raised, there is no rainy season.

    May and June have the most mild weather out of the entire year in Japan's northernmost prefecture, and many people venture outdoors to enjoy the late spring season. I get nostalgic about enjoying a beer and grilled mutton or lamb outside, and it's during this season that I most strongly wish I were still in Hokkaido.

    When I told this story to one of my friends, they said, "It must be nice to feel nostalgic about your hometown." This friend had spent the majority of their childhood traveling from place to place due to their parent's work. When asked where they are from, they can't easily produce a reply.

    However, I find myself jealous of them. They have experienced living in all sorts of different places and have friends all around the country. While it was encouraging on one hand for me to know everyone in the neighborhood where I grew up, there were also times when it was stifling. When I mentioned that, a third friend put in their own two cents:

    "But, both of you were born and raised in Japan. What about that? I spent my childhood entirely in Britain, so I don't know any Japanese television programs or hit songs from that time," they said. Hearing this comment from my so-called returnee friend, I could only reply with an envious look, "If you're a returnee from Britain, then you can speak English. Isn't that nice! "

    In the end, it turned into some sort of old fable with the moral being that everyone was jealous of what someone else had, and we all broke into laughter.

    But this kind of feeling isn't just limited to hometowns. Out of the patients who come to my consultation room, single people are jealous of married ones, childless married couples are jealous of married couples with children and those facing family-related struggles are in turn jealous of singles.

    When looking at the situation of others, some say with a sigh, "They are blessed. I am unlucky." Each time that happens, I think of the common phrase "the grass is greener on the other side," and advise my clients to change their mindset and search for the good things in their daily lives.

    Of course, even I sometimes find myself thinking, "That person has everything going for them! I'm so jealous." It's probably human nature to compare ourselves to others and get caught up in our own shortcomings. However, even if we get jealous and think we are unlucky in comparison to the other person, no good can come from it. Even though I still think that Hokkaido is the best region, I say to myself, "I continue to live under the rainy skies of Tokyo. Maybe the misty scenery of rainy season isn't so bad after all." (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)

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