Monday, February 28, 2011

Ayooo Aight

This is one of the funnest times I've ever had on stage.  This is Fusion X, a hip hop dance competition in San Diego, CA.  There was about 2000 people and we got the show started proper.  Big ups to AngieGirl on the beatbox. 

And the Beat Goes On...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Pre-Requisite For Writing is Having Something to Say - Langston Hughes

I have been in Japan for 3 weeks and as simple as it sounds, my assessment is that Japan is a cool, intriguing country.

Osaka itself has 20 million people and it is considered the nation's "kitchen".  There are restaurants everywhere, and when I say everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE.  Any kind of Japanese food you want, you can find in a small radius.  People always say that it is expensive, but if you look, you can find some places where you are not breaking your pocket to eat.  I have slowly found my places to eat, especially my versions of drunk food (since there is no 24 taco shops).  When you enter restaurants here, you will hear people yelling "Welcome!" in Japanese, and once you sit down, you are greeted with a warm towel and hot tea or water, depending on the time of day.  Although there is no tipping in Japan, each person works with a passion to give customer service.  They take pride in their work.

The train system is crazy.  There are too many train/subway lines for me to count and that is not including the local trams.  They are unbelievably punctual and each train stops exactly where it needs to, and by that I mean that the train stops on the platform where there is a marker for people to get on and off.  I'm blown away by the accuracy, timing and complexity of the train system.

The people.  People here are such hard workers, and for the most part, that is all they know to do.  I have heard that some of our students go to school for 12 hours a day.  And I thought I had it bad.  Many people here run their own shop and everyone takes a break between 2-5.  This is something that I wish the United States adopted.  We would be so much happier and more productive.

On a personal side -

I have learned soo much in the past 3 weeks.  Oh man.  First off, it was funny to hear for the first time that I had an "accent".  When someone told me that, it never dawned on me that that was possible.  I always thought to myself that I'm normal and everyone else has an accent.  But when I was told that I have a heavy American accent, I was caught off guard.  My training group consisted of 9 people total from various English speaking countries: England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Boston, New York, and of course San Diego.  It has been cool to learn the different lingo from all of these different parts of the world.

When I came here, I was brought to become a teacher of English, but I did not know exactly what I was getting myself into.  I basically had a two-week crash course of how to be a teacher with this company and I had my first day as a teacher yesterday.  Wow, what an experience.  I taught classes with kids that were 1 and a half to older women in their 60s.  I was extremely nervous in my kids class because their parents are in the class as well.  I had to get the kids to participate by singing songs and acting a fool of myself, but it was rewarding experience.  Because kids are afraid of change, one kid saw me and instantly started crying.  I felt so bad.  I didn't know what to do.  I also met the cutest little girl.  Her name is Chihiro.  She was very shy, but at the end of the lesson she said bye to me like 5 times.  That made my day. 

Although I feel that I've learned a great deal in the first 3 weeks, it is truly only the beginning.  Now that training is done, I am going to have the opportunity to meet more Japanese people, as well as other fellow English speakers.  I have yet to find what this country really has to offer and I have yet to find what it is that I most certainly want.

The Journey Continues and the Beat Goes On...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

From Karen.

"as much as you might not perceive it, you are a huge inspiration to everyone.  the aura you exude is extremely captivating especially to those you come in contact with, its the truth.  i respect your will to inspire.  alex, you've allowed us to witness what it takes to achieve a dream...passion, hard work, and determination.  you never settled for never gave up alex...i admire that. 

if it means anything to you, i want you to understand how significantly you influence my life.  you reinforce my desire to become a better woman.  ever maturing, ever learning, ever growing in more ways than you know.  thank you, really.

continue to inspire each and every one of us throughout your adventure in japan, we're all listening."

watashiwa anatawo aishitemasu,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And the Journey Begins...

Here's a little video about me getting to Japan.  It was an entire day of flying.  I left California at 5AM Thursday morning and landed in Japan Friday night.

This was my first attempt at using iMovie, so please excuse the weak transitions and music.

Thank you for caring.

Ohayo gozaimasu!

And the Beat Goes On...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thank you....

"dear alex,
update!! so this year chesley and sasha picked me to be the assistant fusion cord meaning next year i will officially be a fusion coordinator!!!Yay moving up from special cultural committee!! But anyway today someone said that i reminded them of you when I was talking and it really meant a lot to me for someone to say that. I didnt get to tell you this at your going away party but thank you so much for just being the person that you are because you more than anyone have inspired me in so many ways possible, it crazy to think how powerful words can really be. And taking all the lessons and words of wisdom that you've given to 220 and really applying it to a life outside of dance,i can honestly say you've help me become a better person.Thank you for breaking the mold of "pretty good" and thank you for everything that you've taught us Alex. Have fun in japan those kids have no idea whats coming!! LETS GOO!!"

Thank you sooooo much for the words Jayna

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I know it's hard...

"If I told you I was perfect, I'd be lying//
If there's something I'm not doing, girl I'm tryin//
I know I'm no angel, but I'm not so bad//
If you see at me at the party conversatin//
It doesn't mean telephone numbers are exchangin//
I know I'm no angel, but I'm no so bad//

You should know:

There's beautiful girls all over the world
That I could be chasin, but my time would be wasted
They got nothin on YOU, baby.  Nothin on you, baby.
They might say hi, and I might say hey,
But you shouldn't worry about what they say,
Cause they got nothing on you baby, NOTHIN ON YOU.

And the beat goes on...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go...

"Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword."

So tomorrow morning at 6:35AM, I leave on jet plane for Osaka, Japan.  Although the idea of working and living in Japan has not hit me entirely, I would like to note a few initial thoughts as my time gets closer:

Karen Aficial is a beautiful woman.

I am one of the many who say, "I wish I could go back in time knowing what I know now."  I would've done a few things differently.  But in going to Japan, I feel that going on this adventure is giving this opportunity.  High school shaped who I was before college, and college is now shaping me for this very moment.  I have been truly blessed to have had great relationships with a handful of people and to have learned a piece of who I am.  With this awareness, I feel that I can move forward.

There is a song by one of my favorite emcees, Son of Ran, called "Street Science".  In this song, there is a line that goes like this:  "By the age of 28, particularly by 29, I gotta take a month out of life to redefine what is right."  I used to say this line to myself repeatedly when I first heard this song at the age of 25.  It is crazy to me that I had the opportunity to do exactly what the line says in the past month.  I quit my jobs on December 29 and haven't worked since.  I haven't had this much peace of mind in a long time.  Because of this line in this song, I believe in "The Secret".  

"I'm different, I can't base what I'M going to be off of what everybody isn't"  - Jay-Z, So Ambitious

That's it for now and I leave you with this, for fun.

And the beat goes on...