Wearing headphones while commuting—whether it’s a podcast, favorite playlist, or a friend on the other line—has become a cultural norm. In his third post since arriving in Tokyo, IES Abroad student blogger Ben Krieger challenges this habit, one that even he practiced until recently.
“When my headphones are in, I’m focused. I walk directly where I need to go with no deviation, and the only thing I hear is the blasting beat I choose on my iPod. However, taking my headphones out completely changes the way my mind works. Being aware of the sounds that are around me draw my eyes to places that I haven’t seen, yet I pass every day. It pulls my body in directions that I haven’t previously been. It allows my curiosity to provide me with new knowledge about where I am, and it has made me happier than ever that I am in Japan.”