Tag Archives: Viewpoint

What You can See From the Ferris Wheel

There is a department store downtown where I live. It is a fairly upscale department store, and it is right next to the main station, where all the different lines converge. The department store has eight different floors, with different items on each floor. As is customary in Japan, there is a large supermarket in the basement, which has many delicious foods from all over the world. That is not what is interesting about this particular department store. If you’ve ever been shopping in Japan, or know somebody that has, having a large, multi story department store with a large international supermarket in the basement is nothing special.

What is particularly interesting about this department store is that there is a gigantic, and I mean gigantic, Ferris wheel on the roof. Not exactly on the roof, if you go to the ninth floor, you can board, if that is the correct word, the Ferris wheel and sit in the carriage as it takes it’s time to go round the large circle, giving you a splendid view of the surrounding areas, including the Seto Inland Sea.

It’s interesting the different perspective you get from seeing something from a different viewpoint. Sometimes I ride my bicycle from my apartment to downtown, and sometimes I take the train. Both offer a different and unique perspective of the journey. When I’m riding my bike, I have to be careful for traffic lights, pedestrians, and if I choose, I can take different routes. There are many ways to get from point A to point B in any city, as I’m sure you are aware. Different modes of transportation allow for different ways to travel.

On the train, however, I am completely limited both in time and in location. I have to catch the train according to the train’s schedule. If I am late, it will not wait. If I am early, I have to sit and wait. On my bicycle, I can leave whenever I want, take my time, and eventually get to my destination. I can even change my mind and arrive at a different destination that I originally planned. This is impossible on the train. I suppose I could go one or two exits past my intended destination, but then I would be face with the embarrassment of having a ticket with an insufficient fare. I would then have to pay the extra in coins. On a bicycle, I don’t’ have to worry about any of that. I don’t even have to worry about looking at my watch. I don’t even need to wear a watch.

The train, of course, does have its advantages. It is air conditioned, which is nice during the summer. You can read a book or study philosophy or practice yoga on the way there. All of these are difficult on a bicycle. The train is a lot faster. You have the opportunity to chat to your neighbor on the train if you so desire. That is hard to do on a bicycle. I don’t know if you’ve ever ridden up next to a stranger and started a conversation, but it doesn’t usually work out very well. They tend to look at you as if you are a bit off. A train, on the other hand, provides a fairly easy way to do this. You can comment on a book she is reading, or take your time to exchange flirty eye contact, or even ask an innocuous question to open up the conversation.

But something really eye opening happens when you see all the possible train and bicycle routes from high above the ground. I’m not sure how many actual stories the Ferris wheel is, but at the top, it’s at least another five stories above the ninth floor of the department store building. It gives you a perspective that you normally don’t even consider when stuck down in the subjective experience of life.

Sometimes a great way to see a problem from a useful and resourceful angle is to see it from many different perspectives. The Japanese are famous for looking at their business problems from five, ten and even one hundred year perspectives. It gives them insight that can help them be really successful in the long run. Other people have told me that they sometimes ask themselves how they will feel about a certain course of action in a few weeks time. That sometimes can help them decide to do the right thing. Many people are easily tricked into only thinking about the short-term ramifications of their decision-making. For example, if you only were able to think twenty minutes into the future, you’d likely eat, drink and sex yourself to death. Of course this would be fun for a while, but when you think of what your life would be one year from now, it gives you a different perspective on things.

I don’t know if you’ve ever considered something like this, but what happens when you imagine your life thirteen or so years from now having taken this new idea into account. Does your life look better from thirteen years about? It’s interesting when you think about it, isn’t’ it.

Increase Your Abundance of Perspective

This morning was another exploration into my new neighborhood. To those of you who haven’t read my previous articles, I’ve recently moved, and because I like to go for a walk every morning, I’ve been finding it a good opportunity to see what’s around me. Like when you are in some kind of environment, and you really don’t know what kind of things you have to you can use these things to your benefit. Just like that I find myself walking new paths every morning as I find new things of interest.

One thing that I found interesting was three different perspectives on my neighborhood from three different levels. And from each level, you can see different things, if you can open yourself to what is around you all the time.

The first level, of course, is ground level. On this level you can only see just what’s up ahead. And if you look behind you, you can see that as well. Only if something really big is on the horizon does it come into your conscious awareness. Like big buildings, or the Ferris Wheel that is on top of the department store downtown. Other things, which are big and important, you really can’t notice them until you are right on top of them. You need to be careful, because when you are out walking around, you have to make sure the path you are traveling on doesn’t end abruptly. Because then you’ll have to turn around and go back, and hopefully find your way on to where you were going in the first place.

The second level is up higher. I live on the fifth floor, so I’ve been stopping on stairwell landing just outside the hallway. From there you can see where you’ve been, and where I want to walk tomorrow morning. The long roads around the small rice fields look very neat and organized from higher up. And the things that seem so big up close, don’t really look that big when you compare them to other things, like the hills in the background, and the sea that you can’t see but you know is off in the distance somewhere, as they always are. Of course I only have a limited view, so I can only see one direction. I don’t really know what’s behind be.

The best view is the third one. This is if I only go up one flight of stairs higher. Normally, I wouldn’t go up any higher, because I live on the fifth. But when you increase your viewpoint just for the sake of looking rather than needing a reason, you really can see all around. I can see the Ferris Wheel downtown, the baseball stadium that is behind me, and a whole nother set of hills that I didn’t even know where there. And all this time I thought I was getting a good exploration simply by walking around on the ground level.

It’s really amazing what you can see when you raise yourself up so you aren’t blocked by things in your way. And it’s kind of silly to think that one can let themselves be blocked by something that can’t move. Because all you need to do is go around.