Five Things

The original plan for today’s list was to look at five things I wish I didn’t know, as having the knowledge has generally resulted in a great deal of frustration. The list was mostly written, aside from the fifth item, which I couldn’t really think of. On the list two of the items could have been rolled into a single entry as one only exists because of the other, and the others were poorly justified. Reading through the piece, the post could really have been titled Mountains from Mole Hills, as not knowing these things would not result in a happier, more fulfilling life. If anything, just the opposite would happen very quickly. So why not turn the frown upside-down and look at five things I wish I did know?

Buddhism

From my mid-teens to late 20s I studied and was very much a part of religious communities. First it was with the Roman Catholic Church, until “something happened”. Then it was with the Christian Reformed church. Finally it was Islam, where I had some of the most intelligent discussions in my life with people who have invested decades into understanding not only their own sacred books, but those of other faiths. I learned more about the importance of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus while talking to Muslim scholars than from anyone else.

Buddhism, however, is something of a mystery. I’ve read some books on the religion and it’s precepts, but my knowledge is still very shallow. By learning more about this religion, I might gain a better appreciation for some of the historical buildings in Japan as well as the role the belief system had in shaping much of Asia.

The Art of Conversation

There are a couple dozen or so rules of thumb that I try to follow when talking to someone new but, more often than not, I leave a conversation wondering how badly I engaged with the other person. This isn’t for a lack of trying, either. I’m just generally not very good at conversing without a set topic. Perhaps with better verbal and interpersonal skills, I can develop and maintain lasting friendships.

Carpentry

If someone were to present either of my grandfathers with a piece of wood and (nicely) ask that they make something, a beautiful and unique piece of art would be created. Regardless of what it was, be it a birdhouse, a shelf, an old-timey crystal radio, what you would get back would look like something from a luxury store in Ginza1. With this skill, I could take a more proactive role in customizing my house and maybe even help some neighbours with their own projects

Canine Care

There is just one place in a 10km radius that a person can bring their dog to get a proper trim, and they’re not accepting new customers because there isn’t enough hours in the day to take care of everyone. If I want Nozomi to get her claws or fur trimmed, I need to take her 12km to the place she’s gone since the age of 2. If I could do this, then Nozomi wouldn’t have to go so long between visits and I could maybe help other dogs in the neighbourhood when they need a little bit of care, attention, and pampering.

Rocket Science

Who doesn’t want to know rocket science? With a better understanding of the conventional technologies that are in use or active development today, it becomes possible to seriously examine some of the less-conventional — or downright unconventional — means of propulsion in space.


  1. This is generally seen as “where the wealthy shop in Tokyo”