How to turn Seven Eleven Japan into your personal printing center

If you want to print out some color or black&white documents and don’t have access to a reasonably good printer, you might like to check out this online service called Net Print. This post is relevant only to those who are in Japan or will visit Japan in the future.

How Net Print works:

  1. Register for the service (no cost required for registration)
  2. Upload a file you want to print out (up to 2MB)
  3. Net Print gives you the reservation number for your file (予約番号)
  4. Rock up to any Seven Eleven store and find a photocopier there
  5. Select “ネットプリント”
  6. Enter the reservation number of the file you want to print out
  7. Follow the instructions given on the screen of the photocopier
  8. Insert the required amount of money
  9. Voila, your file will be printed out

For colour printing, it costs 100 yen per A3 sheet and 60 yen for A4, B4, or B5 sheet. For black&white printing, it costs 20 yen per sheet no matter which size it is.

I believe that most of you who would be interested in using this service have a good command of Japanese and have no trouble registering for the service and using it. But if you need further instructions, please let me know.

Baking ANZAC biscuits is an act of creativity.

I’m up to Week 9 of the Artist’s Way. Since I am always with myself, it is difficult to see what changes I made within myself and how the book has been helping me in an observable manner.

Some of the changes that may or may not be related to this book include:

  • Until recently, I was worried about my financial resources. Being not so busy in my freelance translation job, which is my main income stream, I would worry how awful it would be if my savings ran out. But now, my way of thinking is this: “Wow, I have enough money to survive for 2 or 3 months. That’s not bad. I could work on making something happen within this period of time!”
  • In an earlier post, I wrote that I’m interested in Argentine Tango. I had been looking for a good place to learn it, but I didn’t find anything appealing. Recently, however, I found someone looking for people who want to learn Argentine Tango on a Japanese social networking site. It’s a course for training 20 new Tango dancers (10 women and 10 men). I asked him if a beginner could join and he had no problem with that. The lesson fee is 4000 yen a month, which is… a bargain (as far as I’m concerned, it usually costs 2500 ? 3500 yen per lesson at other places). The course will start in April and I’m totally looking forward to it.
  • I improved my grappling skills. How can it be related to the Artist’s Way? I’m not sure. If that’s possible at all, then it has to be this: I’m more aware of what’s going on in sparring and I can note what to work on next time. In a way, I became more observant, at least in this martial arts context. What I like about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and grappling is that one small mental note can improve your game, since in many cases you already have enough physical capabilities to do what you want to do unless it involves fancy, acrobatic moves.
  • I read Linchpin by Seth Godin. Is this an interesting change? To me, yes. I already was the kind of person who would enjoy reading Seth Godin’s books. I already knew about him, but it was the reading deprivation week that made me rediscover Seth Godin. I watched his 2009 TED talk video during that week. It was inspiring. So, I bought a copy of his new book Linchpin. Coincidentally, this book goes hand in hand with the Artist’s Way. One of the core messages of Linchpin is that the world needs more artists and we are artistic and creative. I will write a review of this book sometime, but I’m sure you can find what other people thought of this book else where in the mean time. Go buy it and read it. Please.

Overall, I feel more proactive, grounded, and open than before I started working on this book. I guess I haven’t experienced huge changes or coincidences yet, but I can feel them coming. I do feel that way.

But what does one do in the Artist’s Way program anyway? Here are some exercises from the book:

  • Get rid of unwanted clothes.
  • Bake something.
  • Collect rocks.
  • Take note of every spending of yours.
  • Make a vision map of your past, present, future and dreams.
  • Make specific action plans for your dreams.

So, the bottom line is… by baking ANZAC biscuits, I play Tetris of the creativity kind! You can bake ANZAC biscuits and be creative too. Woohoo!

Review: Hipstamatic

I’ve been using this iPhone app called Hipstamatic and I like it. This application turns your iPhone into a toy camera like SMENA 8M or Holga.

Here’s why I like Hipstamatic.

  • Images you can create with Hipstamatic have nostalgic feelings. If you like photos taken with a toy camera, you’ll love it. I like such dreamy and nostalgic images; so, I love what Hipstamatic allows me to create.
  • There are various options for lens, film, and flash. Within the software, you can change your Hipstamatic camera’s lens, film and flash. In addition to the default set, there are extra sets you can buy for a dollar respectively. That’s a bargain.
  • I haven’t had any need to edit the images I took. Some people might feel editing their photos, but I don’t. I’m quite happy with how Hipstamatic ‘prints’ photos. So, if I want to share my Hipstamatic photos with my friends, all I need to do is to upload these photos to Facebook or Twitter straight from my iPhone. Compared to a real camera, it’s handy and takes no space apart from some disk space on your iPhone. For people who don’t like carrying many gears in a bag, this is good news.
  • If you are a serious photographer who needs to carry a lot of equipments, I believe Hipstamatic won’t meet your needs. But for those who just want to have fun by taking daily snapshots, Hipstamatic is a great toy.
  • We must not forget, also, that the application itself is super cheap. I got it for 230 yen – it depends on your default currency, but I believe its original price in US dollar is like two or three dollars. Even with all the additional packs, it’s less than ten dollars.

To see photos taken with Hipstamatic, see here!

Tap in sparring of creativity… and stand up again

In a previous post, I wrote: the most important and first thing you should learn in BJJ is to tap before you get hurt. When I reflect on lessons I learned through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I tend to find these lessons applicable to life in general. Tapping is one of such lessons.

Let’s say you are sparring with someone. Your opponent takes a better position and dominates you. Perhaps your opponent is more skilled. Or perhaps your opponent is bigger than you. But let’s face it: you are now caught and stuck. You get desperate and end up making a mistake. You literally give your arm away. Your opponent takes it and goes for an armlock. Here, you can and should tap before you get injured. By tapping your opponent with the other hand, you let him or her know that you accept your defeat. It’s only a spar after all. There is no reason why you should resist that armlock attempt and get your arm broken eventually.

There is nothing embarrassing about accepting your defeat. Your opponent may be much smaller than you and you may be supposed to be much stronger than you. But no one cares about it if you don’t. Good news is that with your arm safe and sound, you can train more. You’ll know what to watch out for as well. If you learn how to avoid that same move, you’ll survive. You might get caught by another move, but that’s OK. Tap first , start over again and learn how to avoid that move. That’s how you get better. If you refuse to tap for some reason and you break your arm, you won’t be able to train until it recovers. That sucks.

Now I’m up to Week 6 of the Artist’s Way. I can sense that this book has been influencing me little by little. Surprise: like every other area, I can relate the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu way of thinking to creativity. If I think about what I was like when I started walking away from the path of creativity, it is as if I was that guy who didn’t realize tapping was one of the most important parts of the game. There’s nothing wrong with tapping. Just start over and try again. In terms of creative works, you might feel your writing, drawing or dancing is nothing like your favorite artist’s works, but that’s perfectly OK. Just start over and try again. One of the reasons I ended up walking away from the path of creativity is probably because I didn’t tap?I couldn’t accept the fact that I was a beginner and eventually got my creative arm broken. But now I know tapping is important and not a big deal at the same time.

I bet what you want is the process of bringing that piece of work into existence rather than that piece itself. Suppose some magical being appears and tells you that he could give you the master pieces of yours that you are to make in the future. So, the deal is that you could have your master pieces without actually working on them. Would you take them?

I wouldn’t. I want to enjoy the journey of creating my master pieces. This time, I’ll tap as many times as necessary and say, “Thanks, and let’s do it again”.