Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Revolving Door of Friendship

As a teacher teaching English in Japan, it is easy to get caught in the excitement of cherry blossoms, all-you-can-drink, sumo wrestling, and all of those other trivial things that we love as "gaijin".  For many, it is an extension of the college party scene, especially for those who feel they missed out during those college days.  For others, it is time of self-discovery, where you try to find meaning in everything you do. 

Regardless, one thing that I was not prepared for when coming to Japan is the deep, meaningful friendships that will always come and go.

I've always approached this experience to be short-term.  I figured I'll be here one, two or three years, have a little fun, then I'll move on to the next.  But after a while, I realized that every other teacher has the same plan.  The only difference is that while you're here, it becomes a revolving door of friendship.  The people that you invest time with into building a relationship will soon be on there way, and it will be time again for you to start anew.  You must grow accustomed to the bittersweet goodbyes with the close people that you created memories with, learned from, and grew to love.  Of course this has its benefits and drawbacks, but the sad part is that it is not in your control.  You have no choice but to ride the wave and see where it takes you.  You just have to have faith that it will all make sense in the end.

So here is to another bittersweet goodbye.

I wish you all the best.  I hope that you find what you are looking for.

Cheers to the future.

And the Beat Goes On...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Seoul, Korea. February 2012.

In February, we had a 3-day weekend.  A few friends and I decided to hop on over to Seoul and see what it was all about.  It was a fun-filled weekend.

For some reason, my copy of the video would not upload so we have to settle for the YouTube version. 

And the Beat Goes On...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Another First Time

The journey continues...

This first time here has not only been a teaching experience, but it has been by far more of a learning experience.  

I taught kids for the first time.  And because the school year is now ending (In Japan, the educational year starts in April and finishes in Feb/March), I have to say goodbye to my classes.  Watching them grow for an entire year has been fulfilling.  There have been times where it has tested my patience, but in the end, I'm going to miss those kids.  It has been a privilege.

One unique thing about this job is that I get to teach kids of all ages, every single week.  Imagine having to teach kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, and high school every week, sometimes on the same day.  It can be challenging at times.  Yet, it has been the most rewarding.  It has given me the opportunity to work and learn with other human beings, no matter what age.

I have learned that to be a great teacher, you have to do everything you can to make sure that your kids are successful.  And if you want your students to be successful, you have to constantly decipher where your kids' heads are and teach them according to that understanding.

Here's some of them:

My favorite class.  The 4-5 year olds.

The 6-7 year olds.


The 8-9 year olds.

The smart, bashful one.

The smart, charismatic one.

The boys.

And here's Yui, the spirited one.

And for desert.
Here's a video of Karen and I climbing Mt. Fuji last summer.
Best sunrise I have ever seen.

And the Beat Goes On...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kinkakuji, Kyoto, Japan

Today was a good day.  It was a solo mission called Operation Kinkakuji.

Let me say, this place is beyond stunning.

Peaceful as soon as you walk in.

 The pond is called Kyoko-chi, which means Mirror Pond.  

 The Golden Pavilion.  Serenity. 

Mission complete.

Yep, today was a good day.

And the Beat Goes On...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I want to try this

I haven't been the best at writing here, so I will write on here once a week. 

I want to keep track of what it is to be in Japan.  I love this place.  It has been good to me.  Today , I woke up early for the first time in a good while.  I was given a wonderful opportunity to meet a new class.  I came home and had a pleasant conversation with Karen.  I went to work, got a 6-hour pay for working two hours, and met with a group of teachers for dinner and karaoke.  Another good Thursday night. 
I'm in Japan.  I love this place.  It's the way I feel.

Japan, thank you.  You taught me the value of teamwork.  You taught me the meaning of public harmony.  You taught me simplicity.  You taught me how to read.  You gave the me desire to read.  You taught me service.  You taught me discipline.  You gave me music.  You gave me more memories.  You taught me about cuisine.  You taught me work ethic.   

You taught me how to love a lady.  She's there for me.  I want to be there for her.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The past 16 days...

Right now I am at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.  I arrived here at 10PM and my flight to Osaka is at 630AM.  I should be arriving at 740AM and need to be ready to work at 12PM in Kobe.  I had the most enjoyable, long, boring flight (yes, I'm a moron, oxy) from San Francisco.  I watched Crazy, Stupid, Love & Shawshank Redemption.  I played Tetris, Solitaire, and Chess on a control that was the same as a controller for the Wii.  I continued reading the biography of Steve Jobs. 

In 16 days, I have been on 8 different planes, waiting to get on the 9th for the last leg to Osaka.  I gladly spent time in the1derful, the Ville, and San Diego.  I met my niece, who became my Goddaughter, was together with my whole family for the first time in 7 years, had a dope week with my lady, and created more memories with the homies.  This will sound corny, but it was fun to see how much we have grown in the past year.  Life moves so fast for all of us that we forget to take a step back, breathe, and reflect before we tackle tomorrow.  I'm thankful for my family and friends, even if they don't know it, who remind me of who I am, where I come from, and what I stand for.  Every man has to stand for something.

The most common question that I had to answer during this vacation was "How's Japan?"  Haha.  Even writing it makes me laugh.  I didn't know how I was supposed to answer it.  Maybe "The food is great", "the train system is crazy", "You can pay all of your bills at the convenient store".  When I wanted to try to be funny, I would say "There are a lot of Japanese people there."  But mainly, the response was "It's good."  Answering the question of "How's Japan?" in a small talk conversation, a place where I have spent the past 11 months is unpossible.  Yes, unpossible.  I'm sure this can be said for anyone traveling anywhere, and I know this is just a way of opening the conversation, but it is a complex answer for a simple question.

2012 is going to be a good year.  As my homies and I say, this is "The year of the come up."  In some way, shape, or form, we are going to come up from where we are and get to a better place.  I have a few New Year's resolutions that I AM going to fulfill.  I have been very guilty in the past to have a resolution that I forget about before the end of January.  This year they will be resolved.  If this really is end the of the world, I'm going out swinging.  I and we are going to have fun.

The music note for this post is a song that I discovered during the vacation and is as catchy as they come.  I feel it is a great reminder for all of us to be young, wild, and free because that's how it's supposed to be.

And the Beat Goes On...


Saturday, December 3, 2011


Last night I went to sleep at 5:30AM because I was studying.  I was working.  It felt awesome.  It was refreshing.  It was direction.  Moving forward.

It's a beautiful thing.

That's all.


And the Beat Goes On...