There was a quiz on Facebook a while back about what country are you. Of course, it was rigged, and I think you could only end up with Japan, Scotland, and Sweden, but I thought it was an interesting concept. I started to think about the countries I had visited or knew something about and tried to match up my family members based on personality. I decided my dad was Japan.
When I think about Japan, I think about natural beauty, simplicity, silence, reflection, and harmony. I see the people as reserved and hardworking, but also kind and honest. This is an overly simplistic view, I know, but we are comparing people to countries after all – stereotyping and oversimplification are necessary. Based on these impressions, my father is definitely Japan.
Growing up, Dad was always something of an enigma. He was incredibly creative and artistic, but he was also reserved and reflective. I take after my mother who, as I am assigning countries, is a rowdy, boisterous Scotland through and through. So I never quite understood Dad’s ability to just be quiet. He shared his love of plants and natural beauty with my sister and me, but I never had the patience or focus. While he was enjoying the simple beauty of sunlight peeking through crimson red maple leaves, I was running through the garden after some lizard or other creature. He did instill a strict code of honor, complete honesty, a vivid imagination, and the work ethic of a draft horse into me, but the quieter parts of his nature never stood a chance.
But now that I am older, perhaps we will be better able to understand each other. I still laugh loudly, make a spectacle of myself in public, and wear my emotions openly, but I have started to understand the value of silence. I have started to think and reflect before I act. I have started to appreciate the vivid green of plants after a little rain instead of rushing past.