Have you heard of the growth mindset?

Last month, I watched a TED talk called “The power of believing that you can improve” by Carol Dweck. After which, I was inspired to read her book “Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential”.

According to Carol Dweck, every one of us have both a fixed mindset and a growth mindset within us.

A fixed mindset is the thinking that intelligence is static. This leads to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to avoid challenges, get defensive or give up early when facing obstacles, see effort as fruitless or a sign that they are not talented, ignore useful negative feedback, and feel threatened by the success of others. As a result, people with a strong fixed mindset plateau early and achieve less than their full potential.

A growth mindset is the thinking that intelligence can be developed. This leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism, and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others. As a result, people with a strong growth mindset reach ever higher levels of achievement.

I found the book to be slightly long-winded, but there were a couple of points mentioned that I felt were very meaningful. So, I am going to leave them here, in hope of inspiring you.

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Bought a Water Flosser

Recently, I have been really concerned about my oral hygiene and have decided to get a water flosser. For those who aren’t really acquainted with a water flosser, they are basically high pressure water jet machines meant for teeth flossing. It is not a complete substitute for flossing, interdental brushing, and the like, but it is way easier to handle, and is said to leave your mouth feeling refreshed.

I originally wanted to buy a water flosser from Waterpik, as it is a rather well-known and stable brand. However, the Waterpik models with decent reviews on Amazon Japan were all very pricey. I am not sure why they are more expensive here in Japan than the ones back in my home country.

I decided to go with Panasonic instead. They had really good reviews and were priced reasonably. I got the latest model pictured below.

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Going to the Dentist in Japan

Since coming on the JET Program as a CIR, I have always visited the dentist in my home country when I had the chance to fly home for a trip. However, with the constrains that Covid-19 brings, I have not been back for way over a year. On the night of the 14th (Valentine’s Day!), a portion of my bottom left gum became really tender all of a sudden and I felt that it was time for me to head to a dental clinic in Japan.

I am one of the many who gets really nervous about visiting the dentist and would rather not have to, but I really needed to get a check-up. Husband keeps coming back from his usual dental clinic complaining how it hurt, so I did not want to go to his clinic. What else could I do but to open up google maps and look at the reviews? Found one that had a score of 4.0 from 9 reviews, and it was only a 12 minute walk from my workplace. Good for a trip after work.

No internet booking, so I called in to tell them I wanted to make an appointment because my gums hurt. With both my and their busy schedules, the earliest I could head down was on a Friday morning, so I did just that by taking 9:15 to 10:45 off from work in the morning.

At the Dentist
Took out UV-disinfected indoor slippers from a mini cabinet, wrote my name down on the visitors’ list, and was handed a piece of paper to fill in. It had questions such as my preferred sort of treatment (i.e. just fix all the prominent bad parts or make sure every inch is thoroughly checked and cleaned, whether to fix all that could be covered partially with the country’s health insurance or that I would pay for treatments that are not covered, etc). I was called in not long after.

My first surprise was that there were three dental chairs in the same area, with a thin partition sheet between. The dentists I visited at home all had private rooms for each patient.

After I placed down my belongings and sat on the chair, the nurse starting checking the condition of my teeth and gums. She would announce to the helper beside her as she looked through my teeth, dishing out letters, numbers, and Japanese that I could not make out the meaning of. Was my teeth very bad or was it very good? Maybe it might be a blessing if I don’t know the meaning of whatever that was being said.

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Reflection on one’s condition

So, I had a friend who came to visit my place recently. She has been feeling more and more lethargic ever since she moved in to her new home near the start of last year, and has been spending most of her days sleeping.

When she came over, I started up some videogames of various genres, including co-op games with cute graphics like Overcooked, as well as fighting games like Tekken that she would usually enjoy. However, she couldn’t concentrate and was tired easily.

She kept insisting she was fine, but it was pretty clear that she was not her usual self.
Looking at her condition made me reflect on my own condition.

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My office started using groupware!

Am I happy or am I happy? The prefectural office where I am at has taken a large step towards embracing technology.

At first, it was only announced that we will no longer be able to use our old email application as it will be upgraded. It was only afterwards, that I realised the office was implementing groupware for all staff.

Now I get to enjoy
– Schedule: where write monthly plans like 出張 are written (used to be a shared excel sheet)
– Current status: where you write whether you’re in or out or in a meeting (used to be on the whiteboard).
  →What’s great about this is that you can also check the current status of any staff across the prefectural office – even those in another building or those sent to another area of the prefecture
– Cabinet: for shared files
– Notice board: for notices
– Kairan: for things like announcing that the fridge will be cleaned up for Christmas
– Messages: for directly messaging people or groups

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Pap Smear Test in Japan

Today, I went for a uterine cervix cancer screening for the first time. It’s known as a 子宮頸がん健診 in Japan. I translated it as pap smear test for my blog entry title. I think it’s a pap smear test at least…

How is the test going to be like? How long is it going to take? Is it going to hurt?
Is the nurse/doctor going to be female or male? Plus, I was going for the test with other ladies from my prefectural office so how are we going to be ushered? Are they going to ensure our privacy?

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Planning a Wedding in Japan #11 –Registration of Marriage at the City Office

The actual day has dawned upon us. I got changed and put on makeup for the first time in months while feeling grateful to the yesterday-me for ensuring all the required documents are checked and in my bag.

As we drove down to the city hall, I suddenly decided to video chat my mum.
“Are you going to register your marriage now? How are you feeling? You have makeup on? You’re lucky I noticed your call, I was about to exercise in the living room…” and the conversation went on until we arrived.

We parked and headed up the stairs to the first floor. My other CIR friends were there already! We took a queue number and were soon called to the counter. It’s about 09:10 now. The staff took the necessary documents from us and said they’ll need to check and process them. I also asked if we could order the 婚姻届受理証明書 (Certificate of Acceptance of Marriage Report) since Japan does not give out Marriage Certificates. Yes, we can order the certificate, and it seems like we’ll be able to get them today!

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