When I studied at university, attending the classes for “liberal arts” was mandatory for the first two years. There was a wide variety of subjects to choose from, from English, Germany, chemistry, mathematics, and economics to Chinese history, Japanese literature, and Japanese linguistics. Most of them were nothing to do with my major (engineering), so I thought that taking them was a waste of time and the university should teach us more practical techniques focusing on our major studies. I even thought that I should go to a professional school because they might teach only professional skills that would be necessary for my future.

Nevertheless, I found out, when I had started my career and had some job experience, that culture would win in the end. Acquiring practical knowledge and skills related to jobs is a matter, of course. Your worth consists of how much cultured besides skilled. For example, in an English class, I read Tristan and Isolde’s tragic love story, which was originally written by Gottfried von Strassburg and made operatic by Richard Wagner, that a knight named Tristan fell in love with a king’s wife, Isolde, and they ruined after illicit love. When I attended the class, I suspected if the story could contribute to my future career. Still, now I know that it is common knowledge among general people, especially in the Western countries, and ignorance of it is regarded as uncultured.

Your culture is cultivated not from hard work, but play. Play is the space in which a mechanism moves or, in more comprehensive words, the emptiness in the activeness. It seems to be a waste, but it sometimes broadens your horizons and deepens your insight. As it is often said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, play is indispensable for everything. Who dares drive a car with a steering wheel with no play?

Play is important in spending vacation. Doing nothing is the right way to spend a vacation because the word “vacation” derives from “vacant,” which means empty. Wasting time is an extreme luxury. Many people, however, trying to making good use of holidays, go to crowded spots resulting in getting more tired than before. In particular, Japanese people are so conscious of eliminating what is wasteful that they feel guilty about wasting time. They are so obliged to waste no time on holidays; their vacation ironically ends by wasting time and energy rather than saving them.

In the midst of your career, play sometimes helps you guide in a better way. Studying a different field, seeing people doing different types of business, and even meditating in your room would be useful, besides throwing yourself into your work. They are not directly related to your current work, but they may give you some hints for your future career.

There is nothing wasteful in your life in the long run. As long as you are alive, what you are doing is helpful in something, even goofing off in the bed.