Craig Hoffman

Oct 23, 2018

4 min read

Craig-509 On Fishing In The Wrong Place And Fun Sushi Pictures!

Craig note- Do you know where you are really fishing in your life?


Well, actually, I don’t hate fishing. I despise not catching anything. When I was a boy, I spent hours fishing in various ponds and lakes near my house. It was an easy way to kill time on a lazy summer weekend with my family.

Once I got older, I avoided going fishing whenever I could. This annoyed my step-father. He loved fishing. But, I never came around to it or him for that matter.

So, I agreed to go.

A group of seven of us met in the parking lot of a local department store at 4:00 a.m. We drove two hours to a beautiful lake. Our captain met us on the dock. He was a jolly fellow who promised “None of you will drown.”

It was a crisp morning. The waves crashed against the old, old, old boat something fierce. We sailed for 30 minutes as two of my great friends took turns throwing up over the side of the boat.

It took only an hour to reach our legal catch limit. We returned to the dock just in time for lunch. The captain promised to have our fish “cleaned and packed…” by the time we finished our meal.

I was reminded of that story this week. One of my great friends in America wrote me.

And, I could not disagree with his assessment.

I did everything I was supposed to do. I went to college. I got a job. And, I crushed myself to make something out of my life. But, for all of that effort, the sum total of my life was Z-E-R-O.

In contrast, my experience in Japan has been fantastic. I have everything in life anyone could ever want. But, there was a part of me that wondered, “Was it simply moving to Japan that changed the course of my existence?”

Certainly, my blood, sweat, and tears had to count for more that.

Hard work matters!

But, honestly, I was unsure.

But, I was wrong.

My contribution was being willing to move my ‘boat.’ Some people in life need a change of scenery to make their lives better.

More often, there is a need for people to change the position of their ‘boats’ on the inside. And, despite being the captain of one’s ‘boat’ in life, that is hard for most people.

Me included.

I remember choosing to be a more positive person once I arrived in Japan. I had always been much more of a “the sky is falling…” sort of dude in America. Make no mistake, there were good reasons for that constant trepidation.

Oh, that I wish it had!

The reality is I have faced many challenges in Japan. But, I see those roadblocks as opportunities to improve my life, character, and focus. I cannot say I come out on top every time simply because I am a positive and hard-working person.

That would be a lie.

But, I am never defeated.

So, while I may never love fishing, I do know when I am not catching anything my ‘boat’ is likely just:

Grey, Grizzled, and Gaijin

Grey, Grizzled, and Gaijin

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“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”-Henry David Thoreau

Originally published at on October 23, 2018.