As the foreign English teacher at my school in Japan, I have a weekly English music broadcast where I showcase different English songs. I try to get the students to recommend songs to me for the broadcast. At the broadcast, I usually announce who recommended the song and then play it for everyone to hear during lunch time. I give everyone a chance to share themselves through their music, including one tough student of mine. This student constantly gets into fights with the other students, doesn`t study, and brings down the energy of the class. Most of the other teachers and students push him away. I knew though that he just needed a friend, or at least someone he can connect with. I could tell he was warming up to me over the last year. I told him to think of a song he likes that has some English words in ... Read Full Story >>
An important experience/ lesson on forgiveness. Forgive not only for their sake, but for your own too. Here`s the story: I`ve had some pretty serious issues with my community for the last year, and things completely fell apart between me and my community 6 months ago. As a result, I stepped away from them, I blocked them on social media, and did my best to forget about them. The events though continued to haunt me, and I let the emotions that I felt from those events seep into other areas of my life. It began destroying relationships in other parts of my life and I ended up burning bridges with big opportunities and people I really cared about. Yesterday, I was forced to see this community because of a major work event. I was dreading this event for months and it was pretty cringey when I first saw the people I clashed with. Despite ... Read Full Story >>
Recently an old friend reached out to me to ask about the success I've had in my life (or at least what looks like success on social media XD) and how I achieved it. He has similar goals as me: get in shape, get into music more seriously, and be fluent in Japanese. Though I haven't entirely reached my long term goals yet in any of these 3 categories, he's seen that I've made some progress on my journey to achieving these goals and wanted my advice. We had a nice hour and a half chat on the phone about this and it seemed like he was pretty motivated by the end of the chat. A week went by and he told me that he signed up for a personal fitness trainer, is studying music theory, and sent me clips of him studying Japanese. He's posting regularly on social media about all ... Read Full Story >>
There's that old saying: How you do one thing is how you do everything. Therefore, as you become more kind and compassionate, it shows in everything that you do, even when playing music. I recently went to a jam session with some other musicians in town (many of whom I was meeting for the first time). When I used to jam with other musicians, I spent more time in my head thinking about my drumming instead of actually paying attention to what was going on. This time though, I found that I was more attentive and was able to support the other musicians more through my playing. Because of this, our music was better than ever before, and I could feel the audience was enjoying the music more too, because the music was no longer about me, it was about all of us connecting through the universal language of music. Afterwards, the musicians ... Read Full Story >>
I`ve been living in Japan for a few years and am proud to say that I have a talent in finding the cool hidden local spots. As a foreigner living in Japan, I couldn`t care less about doing the touristy things or eating fancy food. What`s most important is experiencing the real country and culture. So I always try to find something that`s interesting and fun yet represents the local culture, and that offers an interaction with the locals. My reputation for doing this has grown and I`m being asked more and more often to give people tours, both to friends and strangers. Since I am somewhat fluent in Japanese, I could charge people for this and become somewhat of an official tour guide. I choose not to though, because to me, the most important thing is making sure that the tourist, who already spent a lot of time and money ... Read Full Story >>
Last week I made a post about having left grocery store cookies at the coffee station where I work. Leaving those cookies felt really good, so I wanted to take it one step further. I wanted to take this act of kindness to the next level.
So, I went out of my way to make cookies from scratch and delivered some to my next-door neighbor, my coworker who was sick, and to another office where I occasionally work at.
These cookies really opened up people's hearts. They weren’t expecting this and were excited to experience American-style homemade cookies. These cookies almost brought a sense of community.
Donating money is great, but I've found that offering gifts that require my own time, energy, and love is even better.
Little by little, I am becoming the person I've always wanted to become.
I`m an American that teaches English at a public school in Japan. The job is easy and not much is required outside of the classroom. Oftentimes, the other foreign English teachers complain about being left out of the school community and not feeling like they contribute much to the students lives. I decided to challenge that.
Once a week, I`ve been volunteering for the schools Judo club. Everyone gets something out of this: I get to learn judo, the students get to practice their English/ interact with a foreigner outside of the classroom, and intercultural connections are made.
It only takes an hour and a half out of my week, but I can see a difference in the students when I enter the classroom. They`re genuinely happy to have me there, they`re more interested in what happens in the rest of the world, and they`re making life long memories with me. Seeing this change has also helped me enjoy my job more and inspires me to be even better at what I do.
It`s amazing how such a small commitment makes a difference in students lives.
It is a long journey to become a giver after being a taker all of my life, but I believe in taking baby steps everyday, whenever possible, will bring us to where want to be.
This brings me to today`s baby step:
I passed out local apples to my coworkers that I originally bought for myself. Not sure if anyone noticed or cared after saying "thank you," but it felt good to get my mind off of myself, even if just for a split second.
Took on one of the KingSpring work ideas and left cookies at the coffee station.
The note says "Thank you for your hard work, please enjoy these cookies."
I think my Japanese has gotten good enough that none of my coworkers figured out it was me (the only foreigner) who left the cookies for them.