I used to be kind of afraid of complete silence. Every time I was at home, on the way to work, or walking randomly about, it felt like I needed to have something to fill that space. Whether it was music or the city sounds of honking horns and cars flying by right next to me, it all helped transport my mind a bit past the seemingly mundane realities of life. I’d feel the need to instantly turn on music at home and on walks around the city - I guess it was my way of feeling like I was in control of things. If there wasn’t any music, it didn’t seem like there was any purpose to what I was doing at the time - no driving rhythms to keep me going.
Here I was able to run without music for the first time in many years.I also got comfortable with silence. It wasn’t just for running, but for all other areas of my life too. During the trip, my wife and I were pretty constantly on the move, so there wasn’t much time sitting around looking for something to listen or watch on our phones or something. We wanted to be out exploring, too.
Tokyo and Japan, from what I could tell at least - was an extremely quiet place in public. Even when we were in the thick of the city, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone talking much louder than whisper levels. An occasional conversation here and there, but other than that the city seemed very respectful of each other’s space - both on a physical and audible level. Silence in a city of millions is a rare thing.
It was in the moments of silence I found in that city, and everything around it - that I became more mindful of accepting a sense of silence for myself. Seeing others live and function and carry on that sense in Japan helped me further that thinking since I returned back home. Now I don’t feel the need to fill every space with something, and I’m more comfortable just being in the moment with what’s surrounding me.