Why you do the dishes and your significant other cooks

I was hoping to get into comparative advantage, but my blogging time has run short. I also have to spend tonight packing for tomorrow's trip to Korea. As well as enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of the economic tiger, my mother has handed me a search and rescue operation - find a former homestay student. He left our house in Canada some 6 years back for his obligatory military service, and about a year and a half into it went missing.

Anyway, in brief...
COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE

The theory of comparative advantage "explains why it can be beneficial for two countries to trade, even though one of them may be able to produce every kind of item more cheaply than the other. What matters is not the absolute cost of production, but rather the ratio between how easily the two countries can produce different kinds of things. The concept is highly important in modern international trade theory." Wikipedia

At home and abroad
I was going to elaborate on an example of why you get stuck doing the dishes every night because your significant other cooks dinner. This may be a more productive division of labour than an egalitarian approach. I hope you get the idea.

This theory is used as the main hinge for the pro-free trade argument. In theory, if countries specialize in a product (make microchips or grow bananas) and trade, then they will be better off. The problem is tariffs, quotas, subsidies, crooked politicians and special interest pervert the system and thus the benefit for both countries is never achieved. I can't provide many examples but I hope some of our more politically inclined Saga JETs will. Canada's softwood lumber crisis and The North American Free Trade Agreement, and the free trade zone in Jamaica come to mind. Perhaps the Venezuela-Cuba-Bolivia Trade Agreement is an example of how comparative advantage does work.

My year end financial report...

I have a few other scattered ideas I'd love to discuss over a beer some time. You always hear old people say that in order to be successful (should it be in wealth, love, family, philanthropy, passion), you have to work hard. Partly true, but you can work hard, and never get anywhere. I think more importantly than hard work, but a compliment of, is being opportunistic. You only have a few windows of opportunity in life. If you dwell too long on an idea, you lose your chance to make it happen. Talk to people, keep your eyes and ears open, and when you see that opportunity, work hard to make it happen.

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Well thanks for letting me have my two weeks in the spotlight. I want to say thanks to our past and present moderators. Despite the odd controversial change, Clayton, you were able to do what's most important, get JETs to write. A big otsukare for a job well done. And of course a big congrats to our lovely new moderator Sarah. You'll be superb.

In closing...
Well 40 days and some change before I leave Japan. I'll let you in on a little secret. Honestly, I never had a genuine interest in Japan until I arrived. Never studied hiragana, read manga, or trimmed a bonsai tree. I did use chopsticks a few times, but only at Chinese restaurants. JET was my free one year ticket abroad. Two years after unpacking my suitcase, and even thinking hard about keeping it unpacked for a third, I'm now airing out the moldy smell ready to fill it up again. There's been struggles from day one but I've since fallen in love with Japan. I'm always amazed how far a 13 year old Judo student can throw me. But I love every minute of it. Perhaps you other leavers can agree, it's a bit of an emotional roller coaster these days. I'm looking forward to new opportunities and challenges, but I will miss my great friends- JETs and Japanese alike, my job (for the most part at least), my Japanese hobbies, and above all my girlfriend. Thanks for all the great memories.

Let's have one last kampai at the Leaver's Enkai July 7.