There are many things that we learn without ever realising that we have learnt anything. It isn’t understanding that we gained by going to classes or by actively researching a topic or by discussing it with someone else. Sometimes we mistakenly call this “common sense” when really some of the things we are referring to really aren’t going to be commonly understood at all. These are also things that hinder us from being able to communicate effectively with other people as we just assume that everyone knows these things. But of course everyone couldn’t just know as we have learnt these things through our own life experience and no-one else lives exactly the same life.
I realised that I spend quite a bit of time in Japan thinking about the weather. I haven’t got a clue what the weather is going to be like on any given day. Even looking out the window now I can’t tell if it’s going to rain – though it looks a bit overcast to me. But does that mean it’s going to rain or is it overcast because it’s inclined to be foggier here because of the heat? My tutor told me that it’s heading into the rainy season so I can expect it to get much wetter over the next month or so – but that doesn’t help me work out if it’s going to rain today.
But the Japanese know. I don’t know how they know. The best way to tell whether it’s going to rain is not to check the various weather websites but to stand on my balcony and watch the Japanese walk by. If they are carrying umbrellas – it’s going to rain.
This knowledge regarding the weather isn’t something that a normal person from Japan could articulate. They wouldn’t be able to tell me why they know it’s going to rain – it’s just something they know and not something they would be able to teach another person how to do. Unfortunately it’s going to take me years to learn this through experience and I suspect I’m going to end up very wet during the learning process.