Sunday 23 October 2011

23-10-2011 Serendipity?

The natural ability to make intersting or valuable discoveries by accident is called SERENDIPITY.

The institute I work hosted a conference last week, and I was assigned to escourt a guest from Canada.  In the morning he leaves Japan, we had a morning coffee at a lovely bakery at the train station.  The topic went on about how long does it take from the city centre to the airport in Tokyo.  It takes one and half hours and it's is unusually long comparing to most of the cities in other countries.

Then the guest from Canada rememberd his experience several years ago.  He was also in Japan and was about to return to Canada.  He was trvelling from Nagano to Narita airport by bullet train.  It was in a rainyseason and was poring rain.  All of a sudden, the train stoped due to the rain.  The passengers were asked to evacuate from the train.  He didn't undestand Japanese, and all he could do was just follow the others.  He wasn't sure where he was and asked whoever he met how he could go to the airport.  Finally he could catch a train to the airport but it was a local train.  Stopping at many stations on the way, it took hours to take him to the airport.  The flight he was to take to Vancouver was alrady gone by then, but anyway he went to the check-in and asked if there was a flight.  Then the clark replied , " Actually, there is a flight to Cargary in two hours, sir."  Cargary was the city he lived.  So eventually he could retuen his home earlier than he originally planned.

A lesson we could learn his story, if you never give up and look for an opportunity, sometimes a good solution appiers from nowhere.  I think these kind of attitude is applied to any situation in life.


Sunday 21 August 2011


Starting from this coming Wednesday, I'm going to visit five countries in Europe in a week trip.  As European countries are topographically located close each other, and with the Schengen Agreement, it is relatively easy to travel different countries within the regeon.  You could say, it's a hasty schedule, but I'll try to spend as much as possible to meet people in each country and spend time with them.


Thursday 18 August 2011

18-8-2011 Detailed Planning & Flexibility

When I want to achieve a lot of things but time is limmited, I do a detailed planning - monthly, daily, even hourly.  Listing up what I have to do and make priority.  You may think it's overwealming to follow the things continuously, however actually it is not.  You don't necessarily finish all the things you asked yourself to do.  Take it easier.  You just making A PLAN to use your precious time.  It may sound ironic, but the more you do your time management, the more you can be flexible.  I think eventually this will be a better way to spend your time most effectively.

I'm going to visit several countries in a limited time next week.  I wish I could leverage this time management skill and achieve a lot of things.


Sunday 31 July 2011

31-7-2011 SERVAS

"Servas is an international, non-governmental, multicultural peace association run by volunteers in over 100 countries. Founded in 1949 by Bob Luitweiler as a peace movement, Servas International is a non-profit organization working to build understanding, tolerance and world peace."  SERVAS Website

I like meeting people, especially when I travel.  Meeting new people in new place is fun and often eye-opening.  I am interested in larning different culture / way of thinking thorough people I meet.

When I travel abroad I use SERVAS, which provides oppotunities of exchanging information and friendship by hosting travellors.  It's a wonderful scheme to allow us, members to help each other, even we haven't met each other before.

I am now planning to visit several countries in Europe in late August, and am looking for meeting new people.


Tuesday 26 July 2011

26-7-2011 Travel Planning

People go travelling sometimes.  Everybody has different reason to travel.  Some of them travel for business, while others travel for vacation.  Whatever the reason, travel gives us chances to refrect our perspective on our daily life.  We usually have daily chores, in house and at work.  We do those routines almost automatically without thinking.  Getting out of this, travel let us re-evaluate our lifestyle.

In addition to that, travel gives us chances to meet new people.  These are great opportunities to learn different perspectives about our world.  Each person has different values.  By observing and talking to them we can broaden our way of thinking.  Furthermore, it's fun to talk to people you can along with, and those frendship may become your asset for your future.

Also, sometimes people need to forget things they don't like but is happening in their life.  Travel could give healing for these people.

At the company I am currently working, we are entitled five-day summer vacation.  This year, I decided to fully utilise this privilege and go travelling.  It's fun to make a travel plan, imagining to sit in a cafe in a city I have never been to, and making new friends.

I'll update things in this diary.


Monday 20 June 2011


I just finished reading the book of Lydia Lassila, the women's aerial chanpion of Vancouver.  I am especially interested in the part she was explaining about her work with a mental trainer.

"When I first started working with him was to imagine my future self.  The parson I wanted to be.  The person that had already won an Olympic gold medal nad he would get me to ask her for advice and basically have a conversation with her.  I thought it was wierd at first, and my future self seemed very distant and far away, but I persisted.  Periodically, I'd 'cheched in' with my future self and ask her if I was on track, and as time drew nearer to the Olympics, I felt like I was becoming her... the future self I wanted to be."  (Lydia Lassila Jump, p. 177)




Thank you Lydia and good luck on your further journey to Sochi 2014.


Saturday 18 June 2011


Today, I participated a workshop to learn about the Cognitive Behabior Therapy (CBT).  CBT is a counselling theory focused on thinking of individuals.  Everyone has unique perception.  Sometimes it makes you happy or sad.  In CBT, by logically correct perception, clients can change their unwanted feelings.






Sunday 24 April 2011


I took an English test in Yokohama yesterday.  I haven't taken an English test for years.  It was hard to consentlate on for four hours.  With little preparation, good score won't be expected but it raised my motivation to improve my English.

After that I had dinner at Trattoria Arino with my frend.  It was stormy outside but we had a quiet evening with good food.

On train, I read Tina Seelig's "What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20" again after couple of months.  This is such an inspirational book.  I the paragraph at the beggining of chapter six;

"How many people have told you that the key to success is to follow your passion?  I'd bet it's a lot.  Giving thet advice to someone who's struggling to figure out what to do with his or her life is easy.  However, that advice is actually simplistic and misleading.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of passions and think it's increadibly important to know what drives you.  But it certainly isn't enough."

Friday 8 April 2011


The beginning of a spring season is brought by sakura blossoms.  Sakura is the Japanese national flower and we have been appreciated its beauty.  It also reminds us the meaning of life.  Sakura flowers lasts only for few days.  It's so short, so as our life.  Sometimes we think things remains same tomorrow and next year.  But it's not always true.  The 11 March earthquake in the north eastern Japan changed life of many people.  We have to do the things we suppose to do while we can.


Saturday 2 April 2011


I went for a field research in Queensland, Australia, when I was working at a university project.  The capital of Queensland is Brisbane, known as "Bris Vegas" for it's resenbleness to Las Vegas.  To north, for 400 km from Brisbane, there is a town called Bundaberg.

Bundaberg is located in sub tropical zone. and the main product of the town is sugar cane.  Bunderburg suger is exported to all over Australia.  In addition to suger, Bunderburg has another product they can be proud of - that is rum.

Rum is a spirit made from sugar cane.  And we call the Bundaberg Rum as "Bundy's" affectionately.  It is sweet and tasty with Coke.  I enjoy tasting Bandy's Rum & Coke when I have a chance to visit Australia.

This year, in early January, Brisbane was hit by a severe flood.  Many people had to evacuate form the central city.  On 22 February, the famous Cathedral in Christcurch, New Zealand, which I had escorted Japanese tourist as a guide, was destroyed by a massive earthquake.  Then on 11 March, another earthquake knocked out Japan.

I chatted with a friend who lives in Brisbane.  If there is a God, he must be angry with us.  But I want to take this experience for a positive way as I have given a chance to reflect myself and make improvement.  Probably God wants me to be a better person, to be more proactive.  That is the thing I can do for the people lost their lives by the natural disasters.


Thursday 31 March 2011


A short weekend trip to Singapore and Malaysia helped me to reframe the situation in Tokyo.


Saturday 26 March 2011


Off to Singapore.  Getting some break.  As you may all know, the situation in Japan is not so good at the moment.  I'll spend couple of days out of Japan to have more objective perspective on the current situation regarding Japan.


Monday 21 March 2011


There is a little progress on the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan.

The Daily Yomiuri posted an article yesterday - Foreign governments frustrated with Japan.  As you can imagine, people in Tokyo are extreamly stressed about the issue of nuclear station just about 200km north of the capital.

What makes me so frustrated, probably so as the foreign governments is that is that the insufficient information release of Japanese government.  It's very conservative and doesn't release the information on time.  That causes the needed aid from foreign countries won't be able to go ahead and eventually leading extra cautious reaction of non-Japanese residents.

This is basically contributed to the organisational structure especially common in traditional Japanese organisation such as public sector.  In those beaureaucratic organisation, each individual, even a department head or a director are given little responsibility to make a desision.  You need to ask many people for approval and it takes days and weeks to make a decision.

Also generally Japanese are encouraged not to make any mistakes.  So they are very precautious for making any mistakes.  That applied to this nuclear station's recovery operation too.  Even in this live or die situation.

We need every effort or help available but the Japanese traditional organisational practice may kill millions of lives.


Sunday 20 March 2011


Even in Tokyo, it's been so stressful, I can't imagine how hard for people in the area directly hit by the earthquake.

With radiation threat, which is said not dangerous in Tokyo, I am staying inside for most of the time for last one week.  I ususlly run about 30 minutes in the moning almost every day.  Not doing exercise is a huge cause of stress to me.


Saturday 19 March 2011


The situation is still very frustrating.

The firefighters risking therir own health start spreading water to the nuclear reactors which has been out of control since the devastating earthquake hit noethern Japan last week.  However radiation level doesn't reduce much.

Maybe because I'm not a science expert and don't know exactly what happening though, if you are said it is not the radiation level which doesn't affect your health SO FAR, it's frightning, isn't it.

I'm really puzzled these days.  Local sitizons try to act normal while international population try to leave the affected area.  Why?  Is it because of the diferent information source they access?  Or is it because of social mobility?  How can people in Tokyo be sure we are safe?

Huge negative uncertainty has been stressing people in Japan.  Very, very frustrating.

I wish the all the nuclear reactors stopped.  I wish.  I wish.  I wish.


Monday 14 March 2011


All of a sudden Japan got attention from all around the world since the devastation earthquake hit the nation last week.  I have received many encouraging comments from my friends from every continents.  Thank you all so much.

The jolts and tsunamis that engulfed tens of thousands of lives were scarely but other things following the initial impact are also hard.  Three days has past sinse the first earthquake but we are still having aftershooks and smaller tsunamis.  The nuclear power stations has been disfunctioned, that leaked radiation and forced many people near the stations evacuated.  Since the power shortage, we are having temporary blackout and fewer trains operated in Tokyo.  All the meetings and the events in the forseeable future was cancelled.  There is little food at spermarkets etc.

It is also a time that you can see the real nature of people.  What do you think when you are dying.  Will you think about your loved ones?  My place, Tokyo is relatively distant from the most affected area of this earthquake and some people returned to work today as nomal since it was Monday.  There are probaby lots of opinions and perspectives about thise reactions; they just kept themsalves sane, they were mentally tough, or they don't care much about people outside of their circle etc.

Good and bad, collectively people in this country is calm.  No riots or thievings.  Definately helping each other but only within the people they can see their face.  The things on the otherside of the screen can be easily an source of entertainment.  Donating money would be but not the only way of helping people.  There are things we could do, especially since we are in the country.

The United States, China, Singapore, Germany, Swizerland, Britain, France, Australia, South Korea, Tailand Poland, Russia and Taiwan has already sent rescue workers to Japan.  Military works are not only for killing people, they also could help people.  It's an true philansolophy.  I can't stop crying.


Friday 11 March 2011


A massive earthquake occured in Japan this afternoon.  The epicentre was off the Sanriku coast in the northern part of Japan.  I was working at my office in Tokyo when it happened and the jolt of the earthquake was the biggest I've ever had in my life.

After the initial quake, there are several tramors continued and we had to evacuate from the building to the football pitch nearby.  As it is used to be said, the earthquake itself wasn't so scary (it was in certain degree) but the harder part was the mess following the earthquake.  We had had to stay in the football pitch for more than one hour in freezing condition until the security in the building was confirmed.

It was reported all the trains, subways and highways were temporarily stopped.  Prime minister dicreared emergency and the TV continuously shows the damages of tsunami which at some coasts reached more than 10 meters and washed away ships and cars.  Several people lost lives.
I am fine and didn't hard any bad news from my family and friends.

Please take care for those who is suffering.


Sunday 6 March 2011


Over the weekend we renewed ICL compant website.  We din't have computer engeneer at the moment so it was really tough.  We had to start it form scruch.  It may be a very slow progress but we keep going.  One step at a time.


Friday 4 March 2011


Couple of days ago, I received an invitation for graduation celemony of my certificate I had completed form Victoria University, Australia last year.  Surprised me was, it won't be held in Australia but in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia later this month.   Mmm... I'm thinking of attending it.  I heard there is a low cost career that provides 5,000 yen ticket trip from Tokyo to KL.


Sunday 27 February 2011


"You will be able to do it if you have been doing it."

I attended a conference which promote Facebook usage in business today.  I wasn't a kind of person to intrest in IT stuff, but need is need.  I think it's a really trend and the world is changing in terms of human connection.

One of the presenter said at the conference, "It's not you do it because you can do it, but you will be able to do it if you have been doing it."  The advancement of technology is so fast these days.  New concept emerges every couple of years and if you hesitate to try it you are already behind the pack.  Nobody knew Facebook only couple of years ago and now it has more than 600 million users worldwide.  The idea is about just try it before thinking about if you can do it or not.  Whan you are doing it and continue it, before you know it, you can be an "expert."  That's the way it is. 

Continuous education and adaptability will be iportant for us to live in the 21st century.  It's tough but exiting, isn't it?


Friday 25 February 2011


"Facebook me."

I went to watch "Social Network," the documentary movie about the Facebook founder Mark Zackerberg last night.  It was a well plotted story and I enjoyed it even it was relatively long and lasted more than two hours.

When Mark and his friend were in a theather, girls sat next to them askd them, "Facebook me."  I liked the expression.   Facebook is a noun, but in the context it is used as a verb.  The girls were flirting the future IT superstar and asking him to contact her by Facebook euphemistically.

Maybe I can borrow the expression next time.  "Facebook me!"


Thursday 24 February 2011


This morning we had a meeting with our business advisor located in Auckland, New Zealand by internet video meeting.  We are currently testing Skype, ooVoo, Logicool Vid and Michrosoft LiveMeeting.  Each one has good points and bad points but anyway its nice to be in the 21st century, thanks to the advancement of technology we can communicate with people in thouthounds miles away as if we are facing each other.

Some research evidences shows that we use verbal cummunication only 35% of all our communication channels even those are unconscious.  Besids that we mostly rely on non-verbal communication ways such as body langage, apeparance, facial expressions, eye contacts, touchings, smells, tone of voice, distancing and even silencing.  By telephone we only use voice related channels but with video screen thare are several other information added so it's easier to communicate.

However, no matter the technology advanced, nothing can replace face to face meetings.  You know, sometimes I feel like to meet you!


Tuesday 22 February 2011


There are so many things need to be done and the time is limitted.  It is scary when I start questioning if I am making any progress.  I try to understand things take time.  But I can't wait what I could see when I reaches higher part of the mountain which I am currently climbing.

Time management is crucial.  From the start of this year I had my changed starting time of one of my works, pushed it back from 8.30am to 9.00am.  That gave me extra time in the morning.  It seems just half an hour but summing them up for one month (30m by 20 days), it equals 10 hours!  It's more than taking a day off each month for my other activities.


Sunday 20 February 2011


ICL signed a contract with a certified tax accountant today.  It was an interesting meeting and I am exited to learn more about tax and accountig system with him along with developping my business.


Saturday 19 February 2011

Sixth Sense

I had mandatory annual optitical check-up today.  This was sort of full-scale examination that include cheking-up your sight, eye ball pressure etc.  At the end you are exposed very bright light that enables doctore to see your eye in detail.  However after completing this test you may not see things clealy for about three hours.

That reminds me that we are usually so much rely on seeing.  When you cant see, suddenly you start to catch sounds, smells, feelings more.  Yes, we are certainly talented more than we reckon.  Just neet trigger to use those ability.


Thursday 17 February 2011

No pain, no gain.

If you ask me why I took such a risk, I would answer, because to get my SELF back.  I would like to live like I would like to be.

Yesterday, I received an email informing one of my junior high school class mates passed away.

Life is short.  So, why don't we try what we really  like to do, while we can.


Monday 14 February 2011

Be my Valentine!

Today the 14th of February is St Valentine's Day.  In Japan St Valentine's Day is widely recognised as a day for women to tell her feeling to men she loves.  However it is transleted slightly differently in many other part of the world.

Wikipedia says that Saint Valentin's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimete companions.  The costoms are varied from country to country.

When I was teaching at the US Navy Base, the children of my class gave me some cards written something like, "Be my Valentine, Mr Jun."  It expressed thankfulness and affection.  That was nice.  In Japan women present chocolate to men.  That costom is a litte bit commercialised, introduced by a chocholate factory.  In the Western Countries giving flower is also common.

Today, I had my my new own business, "Inter-Cultural Lifestyle" resisterd.  Hope in coming years we are going to cerebrate our anniversaries on St Valentine's Day.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Coming out the other side, the real world goes away.

  "The night we left Natalie's party, she  asked if we could go somewhere to look at the sky, so we drove out through Sausalito, winding around and through to other side.  Past the town, along the bay, and out by the forts that the government built during World War Ⅱ, when they thought the Japanese were going to attack.  Under the Golden Gate Bridge, and through a long tunnel in a hill that supports the highway up above.  Coming out the other side, the real world goes away.  No street lamps, no cars, no people - nothing.
  Parking along one of the empty bluffs, we could watch the sky and stars without competition from human lighting.  We could look down on San Francisco Bay, over at the Golden Gate Bridge, and to the city itself."
(Davida Wills Hurwin, A Time for Dancing, p. 121)

I encounterd the book at a public library near my house when I was living in Auckland, New Zealand back in 1998 as a language student.  This is a story about two high school girls living in California, USA - their true friendship and pursuing their dancing.  It was such a moving story and above that the writing style was so beautiful.  I read the story again and again, sometimes read it aloud.

I still continue this way of language study - reading a favorite writiting aloud for hundred of times.  I named this way of study, "Speech Reading."  I'm not sure this word exist though.


Saturday 12 February 2011

If you are shining...

"Whatever happens, if you are shining, we can meet once again.  (君が輝いていれば いつか きっと また 会える)"

In the summer vacation when I was at junior high school, I participated in a programme to stay in an unhabitad island in the western part of the Inland Sea between Shikoku and Kyushu, Japan.  I remember it was the first time for me to take an airplane and went furthest from my hometown of Tokyo.

The programme lasted 11 days and I experienced - now I am looking back that it will be a lifetime experience, building a bamboo house, making salt from sea water, cooking a living chicken etc.  There are about 100 participants and staff at ages from elementary school to high school and adults.

There are adventurous tasks assigned to us every day and those were challenging, but I really enjoyed myself learning smalls tips like how to tie ropes.  I was littele warried at the begining to be away from my family for such a ling time, but when the time goes by, I started enjoying to be with my new friends.

The last few days of our stay went fast for preparing for the festival night.  At the night before we leave the island, we sang a song, "We Love This Island Because You Are Here  (この島が好きさ 君がいるから),"  hugging each other and cried.  We bulilt an intensive relationship in such a short time.

At the end of the programme, a teacher told us, "From now, whatever happens, if you are shining, we can meet once again."  Even after years, the phrase stayed me firmly.  I think the teacher wanted to tell us to try to be the best you can at any given time, to be proud of yourself, so that you can raise your self esteem, and people can recognise you and like to see you.

In life, time by time we experience farewell, with your family members, close friends or other important people to you, because of one of us moving, changing school/work, separation by other reasons or even death.  We miss them, so much.  But if you could take these situations positively, converting those huge energy into power, it's a chance for you to grow up.  If you are shining, you gain gravity.  You will have a power to attract people.


Friday 11 February 2011

Trattoria Arino

"What do you say 'snow' in Spanish?

Last night I had dinner with my friend at Trattoria Arino in Hayama which is a small seaside town about 1.5 hours from Tokyo.  Even in the evening before a national holiday (11/2 is National Foundation Day in Japan), there aren't many customers at the restaurant, so we could stay at the counter stools and chat with the chef and the waitress.

The chef was from Italy who speaks Italian and English, the waitress is fluent in English and Japanese, my friend speaks English and Spanish, and me, English and little Italian - so we were talking in four languages.   We ordered red wine - it goes "Il vino rosso, per favore!"  Bread is "pan" in Japanese and "il pane" in Italian.  It was quite fun to discover the difference and similarity in each language or culture.

It was forecast to snow in Kanto area on the following day and the chef askd my friend, "what do you say 'snow' in Spanish?"  My friend who is from the southern part of North America couldn't remember the word, replyed, "Well, my friend, there's no word for snow in Spanish.  Because it doesn't snow in Mexico or Puerto Rico (those are countries belong to warm climate)."  Obviously there is word for snow in Spanish (la nieve - I looked it up on my dictionary later).  Sometimes we get lost in translation but it's really fun to communicate in multi-language!