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Japan - From The Past to the Cutting Edge

December, 2000

December, 2000, OSAKA, Japan - A trip to Japan is like a continuous time warp back and forth through history, from the past to the cutting-edge present, then back to the ancient. My mission was history based. The international opening of the Japanese American National Museum's traveling exhibit on the history of the Japanese Americans of Hawaii at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum in Okinawa, Japan.

My arrival in Japan was at Kansai International Airport, a stunningly contemporary facility built on a vast man-made island in Osaka Bay. The Japanese flair for efficiency and design, rationality melded with style, made the normally punishing process of an international transit a smooth, in fact, pleasurable, experience. We sailed through customs, exchanged our dollars for yen, had a tasty light snack of buckwheat noodles all in stylish comfort, and we were on our way to our destination, Okinawa.

The opening of the museum's exhibit was a great success. A large contingent of museum supporters and staff were in attendance, including Irene Hirano, the museum's president and executive director. U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Thomas Foley, U.S. Senator from Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, Lt. Governor of Hawaii, Mazie Hirono, and Governor Inamine of Okinawa were our honored guests together with more than 250 other Americans who had traveled to be with us for the opening. As the only American to speak at the ceremony in both Japanese and English, I became something of the bridge to mutual understanding that is the point of our exhibit.

The following day was back to the future. The museum sponsored a special educational program at the National Okinawa Youth Center on Tokashiki Island, a fast jetfoil ride away from the main island. The program featured two astronauts from NASA, Daniel Tani, a Japanese American from Chicago, and Mamoru Mohri, a Japanese astronaut who has flown two NASA space missions in the past two years. The program had the eyes and imagination of the young people of Okinawa soaring to the stars.

From Okinawa, I flew to the southern Japan city of Fukuoka because of my personal interest in architecture. I had read that American architect Jon Jerde had designed a remarkable project in Fukuoka called Canal City. Remarkable it is! Jerde has designed a fancifully futuristic commercial complex incorporating one of the many canals of Fukuoka. There are restaurants and shops galore, offices and educational facilities and a dazzling multiplex cinema and a grand theater for Broadway musicals - indeed a traveling production of Disney's "Lion King" was the next production booked. Whimsically geometric structures snake and undulate following the curves of the canal. The canal itself spouted jets of water five stories up. Lights bubbled and flickered or glowed and subtly illuminated the contours of the fanciful buildings. There were performers on little peninsulas out on the canal. But the cascade of people flowing up and down the escalators and stairways made simple people watching just as entertaining. Jerde's creation is an architectural Broadway musical. And my actor's instincts led me to book my hotel reservation at the Hyatt Grand right smack center stage in the middle of the whole colorful production. I lived for two days and two nights in an architect's theatrical fantasy.

Then a super-fast bullet train sped me right back into history. When it stopped, we transferred to an old-fashioned ferry that sailed leisurely toward the legendary shrine island of Miyajima shrouded in the mist of history. As a matter of fact, there was a light mist in the air as we approached the famous floating torii gate to Itsukushima Shrine that seems to mystically rest on water. Legend has it that because the island is considered sacred, there were no births or deaths allowed on it. That all had to take place on the mainland. Even today, there is no hospital on the island. However, at the ferry station, we did take a taxi, instead of the rickshaw, to our lodging. As we were driven through the narrow passageways of the village of Miyajima, it felt as though we were passing through the set of a samurai movie. A short way up the hillside and we arrived at a magnificent Japanese villa. This was the historic Iwaso Inn, one of the great lodges of Japan. We were gracefully ushered by a charming kimono-clad chambermaid to a classically formal Japanese room. Beyond the veranda lay a serene view of a maple forest. I could have sat meditating on that veranda all day. But we had so much we wanted to do.

It was autumn and the forest had turned a spectacular palette of reds, oranges, and yellows as well as the deep greens of the evergreens. We took a cable ride high over the spectacularly painted forest to the topmost point of the island. We fed the famously hungry tame deers that roam the island of Miyajima. We trooped through the shrine with the day-tripping tourist horde. Exhausted, we returned to our inn. I soaked in the hot Japanese bath gazing up at the steam wafting through the pine branches. Every tired muscle in my body seemed to melt into blessed relaxation.

Shortly after I had changed into my formal kimono provided by the inn, a gentle knock came on our sliding door. Our chambermaid was ready to serve us dinner. The low, spacious lacquered table in our room became the stage for a seemingly endless parade of small, artfully arranged dishes presented with elegance and grace. This was the renowned "kaiseki" dinner of ancient Japan. When the last delicious morsel had been served, the chambermaid suggested that we go for an after dinner stroll on the island. Miyajima at night, she urged, is something quite special.

She was so right. The island was magically transformed. The hurly burly of the day-trippers had disappeared and in its place was a tranquil scene of kimono-clad people quietly admiring the illuminated shrine and pagoda. The reflection of the shrine on the calm, dark water made it seem almost supernatural. On our way back, we ambled past the detached villa of our inn that was reserved for the emperor. Emperor Hirohito himself, we were told, had regularly stayed there. When we returned to our room, the lacquered table had vanished and in its place futon beds had neatly been arranged. That night, I slept deeply dreaming the dream of some past emperor.

Another quick bullet train ride the next day and we were in the shining new metropolis of Hiroshima. This city, flattened by the devastation of the atomic bomb over half a century ago, has rebuilt itself into a modern urban center of broad, tree-lined boulevards, tall glassy buildings and, at its focal point, a leafy park dedicated to international peace, the center of which is the Peace Museum. The exhibit there is a deeply moving chronicle of the human suffering as a result of the dropping of the bomb.

In Hiroshima, I was back to wearing my hat as the chairman of the Japanese American National Museum. After Okinawa, we want to tour our exhibit throughout Japan. It is currently set for Osaka in March of 2001. Because a large number of Japanese immigrants came from Hiroshima, as indeed my maternal grandparents did, we would very much like to see our exhibit visit there. I had met Governor Yuzan Fujita of Hiroshima on a previous visit and so had arranged to meet with him again to gain his support and guidance finding a way to get our exhibit to Hiroshima. The Governor greeted me warmly and, after I made my request, he immediately had ideas of a venue to be considered. He called for his personal car and driver and promptly dispatched me to examine his suggested site. Transported in the luxurious comfort of the Governor's car, I toured a handsome new exhibition hall. I now feel rather confident that the people of Hiroshima will be viewing our exhibit.

After visits with relatives in Hiroshima, I was back on the bullet train for my final stop on this trip, Osaka. The Second City of Japan is an overwhelming metropolis of congested traffic, bustling commerce and energetic people. And this is where the popularity of Star Trek in Japan is enormous. Through Russ Haslage of the Excelsior campaign, fans in Osaka had contacted me, and a charming young lady, Sachie Kubo, had made arrangements, to show me their city.

When I checked into my hotel room, the view that greeted me through my window was of the great Osaka Castle, the most spectacular historic structure in Japan. Circled by a wide moat protecting a lush park-like area, then looming up on a base of gigantic boulders amazingly fitted together, the castle sparkled in the sun with its golden embellishments. I had to go across immediately to tour it.

Crossing the arched bridge over the moat felt like the prelude to entry into the past. This was the very place where great battles were fought by the most powerful shogun in Japan's history, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Stepping into this storied precinct, I felt as though I were going back in time. That illusion was immediately smashed when a trendy young runner jogged by wearing a shiny spandex running outfit, then another wearing earphones with a thin metallic antenna bobbing over his head. I learned that the park inside the moat was one of the popular running paths of Osaka. As I walked through the outer entrance of the castle and the gigantic wood gate studded with black iron braces, I recognized it immediately from the television mini-epic, "Shogun." I remembered that this was where it was filmed on location. We trudged up a seemingly endless series of gray granite steps to the castle's main entrance. As we huffed and puffed, our straining muscles let us know how impregnable this castle must have been to the warlords who attacked it. We paid our admission and walked in. I stood there stunned. In front of us was a bank of elevators! There were video displays on the history of the castle built right into the walls! And I felt the comforting warmth of forced air heating in this ancient castle! I learned from a brochure that this historic castle had been completely rebuilt just a few years ago -- with all modern conveniences to boot. With a slight sense of disillusionment, we took the elevator to the top of the castle. The view was great. We were taking in the panoramic vista of modern day Osaka from the highest point of the castle, when I heard an American accented voice shout at me, "My god! You're Mr. Sulu, aren't you?" With one excited exclamation, I was brought from my fantasies at the pinnacle of this recently rebuilt ancient castle, back to my very own present day reality. The cameras flashed as I posed for pictures with American Star Trek fans touring in Osaka.

I spent the following day with Japanese Star Trek fans in Osaka. Four beaming faces were waiting in the hotel lobby that morning to show me the sights of this city. Sachie Kubo and Masanori Mizuumi were from Osaka but I was both flattered and moved to discover that Yoshimitsu Murata and Youichi Nieda, whom I had met on a previous trip to Tokyo earlier this year, had traveled all the way down from Tokyo to share the day with me.

It was a fun-filled day of roaming through a vibrant and engaging metropolis of busy marketplaces and elegant shops, raucous entertainment quarters and traditional bunraku theater and temples and shrines. We even saw a traditional wedding ceremony taking place at one of the temples. That evening, about a dozen more fans joined us at a restaurant for a lovely dinner of Japanese hot pot and conversations about the Excelsior campaign. The savory steam that wafted up from the bubbling pot of vegetables, seafood, noodles and other delicious morsels seemed to warm new friendships and enhance old ones.

All to soon, our 10-day trip to Japan was coming to an end. The next afternoon, we were on the express train to Kansai International Airport for our flight to Los Angeles - home to prepare for the holidays. As I write this on my laptop in the airport lounge in Osaka, I'm reminded of the many events of this past year. Much has happened, great and small. We have much to be thankful for. And much we need to do in the future. May I wish you all the joys and blessings of this holiday season.

People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.