If you adhere to the supposed collective wisdom of “what people say” too literally, you might find yourself in uncomfortable territory. People say “you can never be too careful,” but I find that the hyperanalysis of being too careful – planning, organising, contingencies – makes me anxious. When I moved to Japan in my late twenties, I didn’t understand much of what was going on around me in the beginning, so I had little cause to worry. People could have been gossiping about me and I wouldn’t know. I couldn’t read what I assumed must be bills that came in the mail. I’d catch images of a typhoon on the news and just think: that could be a tropical storm from anywhere. My teaching colleagues at Tōyo Nishi Junior High School had some impassioned debates at our staff meetings, but what they were getting worked up about, I couldn’t tell you.