My job gives me the opportunity to travel frequently, exciting at times, but always tough to leave my family for weeks at a time. For the past few weeks I have been in Japan, my first time visiting the land of the rising sun. It has been a great experience. It's humid, foggy at times, even though I'm staying right at the base of Mt. Fuji for two weeks the fog has only cleared enough for the ominous silhouette to appear twice and only for a few hours at a time. A stark contrast to the mojave desert that I begrudingly call home. Tokyo seems like a city that never ends, tightly packed with buildings, woven together with highways and canals, narrow streets lit up with neon lights like the Las Vegas strip and dark alleys that never see sunlight. But beyond all that one thing has impressed me most - from the time I left the Narita airport just outside Tokyo I have been impressed by the amount of time a person tells me "thank you" and bows; buying a bus ticket, boarding the bus, giving them my bags to put on the bus, getting off the bus, getting my bags from under the bus, getting in a taxi, when the taxi reached my destination, paying the taxi driver, getting my bags out of the trunk to name a few. What is it about the Japanese that causes them to offer so much sincere gratitude for common acts. I sometimes pride myself on my ability to articulate sarcasm, but here even after the 5th thank you for buying some bananas I never felt a hint of it from the store clerk. Even the Japanese phrase for thank you sounds more sincere to me than my own, maybe its just because its new, foreign, exoteric but I don't think so. Such a trait could only exist as a remnant passed down from respected ancestors, as it is so engrained in this society. It feels good to give thanks, I felt good being thanked so many times. Try it out, see how you can build others up by offering sincere gratitude. Next time you see me don't be surprised if you get a bow - arigatōgozaimasu.