The past few days have been tremendously exciting. Having made the decision to actively pursue my passion, which centres around podcasting but has various attachments (podcasting alone not being a sustainable business), I’ve found myself becoming increasingly excited. For the first time in a long time I can feel that passion, that excitement that comes when you commit to tackling a big challenge.
I’ve long wanted to get back into podcasting, ever since I made my first poorly-produced and almost embarrassingly crap podcast (which has now seen approximately 9000 downloads). The only reason I’m not embarrassed about it is because being embarrassed about it wouldn’t actually be helpful to me. Instead, I’m using it as a lesson in what not to do.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days doing research (learning that podcasts in themselves don’t really generate revenue was the first important lesson!) scribbling down ideas, transferring them to a business plan, talking about them with friends, and then scribbling down a whole load more ideas and adjusting the plan. I’ve been loving it. Today, sitting in a local cafe for a couple of hours I could barely contain my excitement as I came up with a bunch of ideas that magically tied the podcast-centric idea to the online publishing company that myself and two friends started setting up last year.
I see this project as being inclusive, supporting the non-Japanese community in Japan, and producing original, engaging material for people both local and abroad who have an interest in the country.
I also see it as being a lot of fun. And having a bit of a weird name that sticks in people’s minds. Oh, and time consuming.
The more I think about it though, the more I see how in a way a lot of what I’ve done up until now leads to this idea.
I’m also aware that this is not my ultimate goal, but rather the next big step I need to take.
Deciding to ‘grow up’ has been a helpful decision to make. Whilst it doesn’t mean changing my personality or abandoning the sense of wonder I feel on a daily basis as I go about life, it does mean that in situations where in the past I may have backed out through fear, I can now tell myself that it’s OK, and continue.
I mean, come on, there is no failure, there’s only learning.
Incidentally, now feels like an exceptionally good time for a new start as the first blossoms are appearing in the local parks. Spring is my favourite season, and often seems me walking around gazing at the emerging leaves and flowers in amazement at their beauty. Just writing about it brings a grin to my face. The thought of all that ‘potential’ held in the buds now forming, amazing.
Anyway, I’d best get to bed. Today’s photo by the way is one that you may be familiar with – it’s one of mum and dad’s gazanias, which are extraordinarily beautiful. One of my favourites.
To mark the fresh start, I’ve finally said goodbye to Blogger.com, and the blue-theme of The Daily Mumble – my personal blog that on Tuesday will be celebrating its 7th birthday.
As a result of the move, the new-look Mumble can now be found at http://www.tamegoeswild.com/words. Please update your bookmarks.
If you are reading this post in an RSS reader, you do not need to do anything – the feed address remains the same.
The new site also has a mobile version – just go to the same address with your mobile device to get a list of the latest posts.
The new Mumble is powered by WordPress. I’ll be gradually transferring all of the other wordy pages from www.tamegoeswild.com (essentially my whole site except the photo section) – but along with fixing a few formatting issues on this site, that’s not a priority, so for the time being The Daily Mumble will look distinctly different from the rest of TGW, and a little odd.
I will enable thumbnail images in due course to make things a little brighter.
Using a WP database to power The Daily Mumble gives me a lot more flexibiity, and provides endless opportunities for enhancments, which will come over time.
The change is good. Whilst I have done a fair bit physically in terms of furthering my business ideas, I’m also doing a lot of mental adjustment to this new approach to life. It’s tremendously exciting, and feels like a lot (years) of preparation is finally starting to pay off.
I am determined to not let this one pass me by.
Thanks to those of you who have reaffirmed your belief in me, I truly appreciate your support.
Changing the bogeys – crossing the border from Russia to Belarus, Sep 2007. Photo taken from an adjoining carriage that’s also jacked right up.
Listening to Branson’s autobiography again today has really hit me hard.
That, and talk with my colleague George (who is rapidly becoming an entrepreneur extraordinaire) regarding several ideas for ventures here in Tokyo that is pushing me to face my fears and get on and do what I need to do.
I’ve come a long way I know, but I still see myself being held back by a big nagging doubt about whether I can suceed in business or not.
The balance between talk and action in my life is way out. Look at me now. I’m blogging, not acting.
Ok, so I’ve created a (yet to be launched) website for my venture, but I can feel myself resisting stepping forward and acting to do what’s needed in the real world. I tend to do things bit by bit, avoiding looking the plan in the eye, skirting the edges. I’ve built websites before, I can do that. They’re within my comfort zone, no matter what the content (within reason).
By going out there and interviewing people, networking in real life, actually producing something other than a website – this is outside of my comfort zone and the fear is only too apparent.
There’s never been a better time for action though. I’ve met someone who shares my passion for my idea, and will make a great co-producer. As of today I’m hooked up with a couple of entrepreneurial networks (via Linked in), and have been invited to speak at an upcoming event for the sake of furthering my idea / carrying out research.
We have no dependents, we can afford to take risks (within reason) – without some risk nothing will change.
I spoke with *Twinkle* tonight about this strong feeling that things have to change – her reaction was one of delight. ‘It’s about time you grew up’ – exactly what I’ve been thinking myself all week.
She has been concerned that Joseph would never grow up sufficiently to be a father – she’s not said this before, but I’m not surprised. I identify wholly with what she is telling me. (I hope you see the irony following my privious post.
It’s time I assert myself. Remain humble and eager to learn from others, but stop kowtowing to fear, and stop thinking that everyone knows better than me.
I desperately want to succeed in the business realm. I’m not motivated by money (although the need for money by those around me does motivate me to a certain extent). I’m motivated by wanting to create something amazing that makes a positive difference to others in some way, by the idea of doing what I love every day, being free to put my precious limited time towards what I consider to be the most important thing that I can put my time towards.
It really is time I grew up.
I’d like to express my thanks to my family, friends and Mumblers who have consistently expressed their belief in my ability to realise my dreams. I invite you to continue to stay tuned and see what happens here over the next 1, 3 and 5 years.
Ok. So let’s do it.
It’s been a great day, during which I’ve been fortunate to spend time with my two best mates in Tokyo.
Whilst I’ve managed to get up at 6am every day this week, last night’s ridiculous experiment to see if I could run four operating systems at the same time on my old MacBook made sure that I had no chance of making it a full house. (Yes, it can run 4 at the same time. Very slowly).
Still, I was up by 7am, met Tom on platform 2 at 7.30am – destination Tokyo Station.
It wasn’t really planned, but we ended up jogging 15km (9 miles) around the emperor’s cabbage patch (otherwise known as the Imperial Palace). Having not exercised all week (mainly due to the cold in the mornings and my woosyness) I was a little sceptical as to my ability to complete the last lap – so as we entered the final 3km and my hips began to hurt, I just kept on telling myself that this was only the first lap, and I felt as fresh as a daisy that had just eaten a Freshness Burger. The result – a very strong finish!
Back home, bath, then out to Shibuya for a lunchtime English lesson. That done, I headed south to Ebisu to meet Stu, my kiwi mate from the Niseko years. Having arrived a bit early, I sat on a step beside some coin lockers and played with some photos on my MacBook to pass the time.
“Hey! Wass your name?”
It was a boy in his early twenties. He looked Korean. Guide book in hand, he was probably on holiday.
“I’m Joe! I’m from the Korean Navy, in charge of look-out for 168mm gun.”
I was happy to have someone to talk to. We chatted for 15 minutes until Stu arrived. It was funny – when talking with Joe I found myself coming out with all the questions I ask my students on the phone (Ok, so I missed the one where I ask for directions to a fictional sushi shop). Nice guy. Reminded me of me on my first trip to Japan, except that I wasn’t in the army, and don’t like guns.
Stu and I spent the best part of 4 hours talking, drinking coffee, eating ramen. It was good.
Like myself, he’ll be taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test this year – good to know that others will be going through the same pain :-p
Back home tonight I processed a few of the tilt shift shots I tried to take earlier in the week. I’ve loved tiltshift photography (or more accurately, Tilt-shift minature facking) ever since I first saw some examples on NHK (TV), but have only recently learnt how it’s done.
I find it fascinating how our brains can tricked into thinking that we are looking at a miniature scene by having an extremely shallow depth of focus. I’m now wondering though, if I look at enough Tiltshift photos, will their effect wear off on me, will my brain learn to associate them primarily with tiltshift and not miniature models? I guess I’ll just have to wait ten years and see.
I thought that producing tiltshift photos would be relatively easy, and in a way it is, but producing really effective shots is difficult. The examples on this page are testament to that – they’re not very good.
First off you need to find a good candidate out there in the wild. Then, you need to choose an appropriate depth of focus, and place it well. The latter two stages I find pretty challenging. Still, it’s early days, and I have a lifetime over which to improve.
*Twinkle*s been busy today. She and a professional pâtissier hosted a Valentine’s Planning event, and, with a group of 15 or so friends who are also building Amway businesses, created a whole load of (what were apparently) delicious homemade chocolate delicacies. Unfortunately, no men were allowed entry.
She also gave a (light-hearted) talk on How to Find the Ideal Partner! Why she didn’t follow her own advice I don’t know…
Our Amway business is doing pretty well. The worsening economy has resulted in a lot of people looking for the means to create a second or third income. With so many redundancies over the past few months it seems that the awareness of the importance of having multiple income streams is growing, and people are starting to look seriously at using their own skills and talents to build their own businesses.
In some ways it’s not a bad time to start a new business, as a lot of companies that provide a poor service are going under, making way for new entrepreneurs who are determined to offer exceptional products / services.
In addition to our full time jobs and our Amway business, *Twinkle* continues to do translation work, and I’m working on creating a new Internet-based media company, about which I don’t want to say too much at the moment. Let’s just say it’s at the cross-section of a lot of my passions – I’m very excited! It won’t make money for some time, but I see a lot of potential in it. I just have to Believe, and Act. More on that in due course.
Anyways, it’s time for me to make a cup of tea.
Sunset from our front door
The intense feeling of ‘being a foreigner’ is starting to fade. These past few weeks there have been several occasions when I’ve been out and about, and completely forgotten that I’m a member of the 2%(ish) minority population of non-Japanese residents in Japan.
Upon arrival back in Japan last September I often found myself thinking about how the Japanese person serving me at the supermarket might be perceiving me, or wondering whether I was being spoken to in deliberately gaijin-friendly Japanese at the bank. Having been away from the islands for over a year I found I’d regressed to those times when I didn’t understand Japanese at all, when I perceived myself as a nail sticking out. I was very much in Japan, and I felt it keenly whenever I stepped outside the door.
It would seem though that after about 4 months I’m becoming acclimatised. The areas of Tokyo I frequent (mostly Gakugeidaigaku, Shibuya and Kudanshita) and those areas outside Tokyo I infrequent (Saitama to see my in-laws) are no longer overwhelmingly ‘Japan’, they’re just ‘home’.
I think part of the reason for this is I can now get by with very little effort in any of these places. Initially, going from A to B, buying such-and-such in such-and-such a shop required planning, thought, and conscious effort. Now I can walk and shop in these places without thinking. I usually use my time spent walking checking blogs, writing emails and studying Kanji. Unless I’m somewhere that will stimulate my senses (such as a park or an area of notable architecture/interesting people) I don’t like to not be doing something else whilst walking.
I appreciate that this must seem a bit sad. Walking around eyes glued to the screen. But I don’t see it like this. Not only do I get enourmous pleasure from following the antics of my friends, acquaintances and role models around the world, but I also give myself the freedom to use my time at home (when I would otherwise be checking blogs etc) to do things that are far more constructive. I’m the kind of person that can waste hours and hours watching mindless crap on YouTube – I know I have this weakness and so have created a web usage technique for myself that prevents my doing this – it’s called using an RSS reader (NetNewsWire to be precise) on the iPhone. It discourages endless link-clicking, thus I limit myself to about 250 web-based stories a day (over half of which I only read the first line of).
Hmm, seem to have gone down a rathole there. The magnetism of the iPhone. It draws you in no matter how far away you started off. All Mumbles lead to the iPhone…
Anyway back to my gaijin bubble then, that thing that makes the difference between being in Japan surrounded by Japanese people and being on planet Earth surrounded by human people.
My gaijin bubble is thinning out. Gaps are appearing in its liquid walls. I’m finding myself interacting directly with the people around me without any awareness of there being any difference / barrier between us.
And it’s awareness that’s the key. When I recently spoke to someone about the fading of the film, I found that in that instant, just by voicing this ‘fact’, the film became even more translucent.
It’s all my perception.
I know this. I’ve always known it, only a lot of the time I choose not to acknowledge it.
Recently I’ve been pretty down on myself regarding my Japanese ability. It was just before New Year that it hit me hardest. I’m not sure what brought it on, but it’s likely to have been my experience at the office, as that’s where I struggle the most with clear communication. Thus, New Year at the in-laws saw a pretty quiet Joseph, a passive participant. I surprised myself.
I decided to stop that this morning. I decided that I could speak Japanese, and that I was actually pretty good at it. It shouldn’t have come as any surprise then when a couple of hours later I found myself watching Joseph explain to a colleague, in Japanese, the workings of the new database (new as of this morning when I completed phase one of the merger of my new Access database with an existing Access databases – the two miraculously agreed to talk with each other).
Hey, I’m not that bad at Japanese after all. I just thought I was pants. That’s pretty cool. What else can I think into existence?
Ah yes, the problematic relationship with that colleague. How about a resolution? Hey presto! at 3.30pm it was solved, the problematic relationship made a 360 degree turn. It wouldn’t have happened had I not decided that there was ultimately no problem between us.
I’m currently on my second listen of The New Psycho-cybernetics, which I’m finding very inspiring [what is psycho-cybernetics?]. I’ve Mumbled about it before, and I’ll say again what I said then: there’s nothing in this book that you haven’t read in The Secret or any of Anthony Robbins’ books. Nonetheless, I like the approach, and it motivates me to act. It’s this book that has encouraged me to shift my perception of things like my gaijin bubble or ‘lack of Japanese language skills’.
This past week has (not unsurprisingly) seen an abundance of blog posts containing reviews of 2008. I considered writing one myself, but decided that it’ll be easier to get someone else to do that for me when I can afford to outsource the revamp of my website and the drafting of my autobiography 🙂 But still, I found other people’s reviews pretty thought provoking. Some were in the form of meme’s, encouraging the authors to not only list what they had achieved, but also to detail how they thought they’d changed over the previous 12 months (for example, see this one by my friend the talking orchid).
This got me thinking about how I’ve grown over the past 12 months. Of course, marriage has been the biggy for me, and I must say the last 4 months since the wedding have taught me a lot about myself that I didn’t necessarily want to know. I’m fortunate to live in an age in which emotional intelligence is considered a great asset and not some feminine weakness, and thus I am encouraged to act on bringing my behaviour back in alignment with what I know is ultimately right, rather than what is merely considered ‘ok’ by society at large. *Twinkle* has no complaints, I’ve not been a bad husband, but I know I can be a better husband. There have been times when I have held my love back when I have (unreasonably) felt threatened or undermined by her behaviour. She deserves my love and support at all times, no exceptions.
I’m also glad I had a few ‘serious’ relationships before meeting her. I recall times when, if challenged, I would only be able to rest when my partner was feeling thoroughly wretched.
How horrendous is that?
However, whilst of course I am very sorry to have hurt my partners I am also grateful to have had the opportunity to learn in situations where the stakes weren’t quite so high, thus *Twinkle* doesn’t have to put up with all that kind of crap (it’s not a path I recommend though. If possible just be perfect from birth).
Anyway, It’s taken New Year to make me act on this one. It’s only too easy to get into sloppy patterns of behaviour. Once in that rut one can forget what life was like when one was free, acting in accordance with high-energy spirit. The effort required to ‘be nice’ when one really doesn’t want to be nice isn’t actually an effort at all, as the benefits (which are soon felt) are so great they act like helium balloons, pulling you up. The only effort is in making that initial decision.
This reminds me of Wayne Dyer’s work – he often speaks of high and low energy cycles. (There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem is one I often mention – I reccomend the audio from Audible)
Going back to changes seen during 2008, I’m also happy to have seen a considerable progress in my dealing with fear, although I don’t see last year as having been the real milestone – that’s this year when I begin to act with courage in the light of firmer foundations. My self-image still needs considerable work. I’m far too fearful down on myself if I really want to realise many of the dreams I have.
Ironically, by stating these things I’m only making the situation worse. It’s time for an end to ‘recognising’ things. Whilst recognition is the first step, it alone will not bring about any change.
OK. so let’s make 2009 the year of Action Without Fear.
You might think it silly to have to label a year like that. But I’m greatly encouraged by such statements. I love words. I love quotes. I even have an online collection of them at http://thanks.tumblr.com (although I’ve not added to it recently).
I only have one excuse left now.
I haven’t got time.
That’s a load of rubbish too though. Look at me, I’ve just spent two hours sitting at the kitchen table mumbling.
Many of my goals are related to online ventures. In the past week I’ve taken positive steps towards establishing 3 of them, doing things like purchasing domain names, contacting web hosts, and building a prototype site.
I’ve also taken action towards resurrecting the student of Japanese within me, by sorting out my various Anki databases.
Today, I made enquiries about taking time off work in order that I can dedicate a day or two a month to making these things happen, and that’s a distinct possibility.
I’m going to keep a record of action taken, and review it on a weekly basis. I need to do this to keep myself moving forward.
Anyway, I’d best be off to bed, I’m doing another photo shoot at the nail salon in Shibuya tomorrow night, and need to figure out what I’ll be doing for backdrops.