On celebrating relationships

Think of someone you care and love. Who connected you with that someone either directly or indirectly? Now, think of that connection maker and ask yourself the same question: who connected you with that connection maker directly or indirectly?

You can keep asking the same question again and again for as long as you like.

After you’re finished with going through your memories, thank everyone who lead you to that person who you care and love.

If you love yourself, you can pretty much thank everyone and everything that led you to where you are and who you are.

If you will go through the same process described above in a year or 20 years, why don’t you thank everyone and everything that will come to your life from now on?

If you choose to be rad and awesome, you will be, because everything and everyone will help you go further. Don’t feel bad about becoming rad and awesome, by the way. You don’t need to be modest here, because going for what you want and being arrogant are different, if that’s what you are worried about.

It’s OK if you find it difficult to thank everyone and everything literally; you can still be aware of this attitude and live with it as much as you can. You don’t need to be perfect as long as you show up.


How do you celebrate relationships? If you liked what you read, please share it with others who might enjoy this post!

Photo: Andrew Stawarz

Why be positive?

I had a mini-emergency this morning.

I got up early in the morning, to finish this translation project I was working on. I had completed a draft the day before and needed to polish it. I started working on it around 4 am. I had estimated that it would take about 2 hours to complete this task.

Around 4.30 am, I happened to lose this 70% completed document in the ocean of digital data. I was supposed to submit a complete translation by 9 am this morning. The original document was close to 2700 words in length. The amount of words I could translate in one hour considered, I went into a panic mode, because I thought that I had to translate everything again from scratch and that I wouldn’t be able to do it by 9 am.

At first, I tried to retrieve the lost file somehow, but when I realized it wouldn’t work, I decided to translate the whole thing again, because that was pretty much the only option available to me. Luckily, I could focus on translating it and managed to finish it by 10.30 am.

I was devastated at first, but it didn’t last long. I’m glad that the positive mental attitude has been part of who I am, because it helps me recover quickly from situations like this one. I could feel upset for a few hours, but I didn’t choose to do it. Instead, I chose to understand what was going on and chose to focus on what I could do.

Sometimes people ask me why I can stay positive. Partly, it’s because it became my habit. I don’t force myself to be positive or anything. I just choose to focus on what I want to do or what I need to do. If I focus on those things, being negative often becomes an option that I would never consider.

I believe choosing to become positive is a logical/strategic move, too. I could be negative about the situation, but I didn’t choose that option. In this case, the reason was simple: my being negative about the situation wouldn’t bring the lost data back to me, and it would have made me feel bad and hence made me unable to focus on translating. By choosing to stay positive, I could focus on what I had to do and managed to do it reasonably well. Of course, being positive wouldn’t bring the lost data back either, but it does make me feel great, which makes a difference in many situations.

So, in short, 1) whether you choose to be positive or negative towards the situation in question, your choice itself won’t change the situation, and 2) it’s reasonable to assume we tend to do better when we are in a better mood and choosing to be positive puts you in a better mood while choosing to be negative makes you in a bad mood. Positivity 1 – 0 Negativity.

(By the way, I’m not saying that you should ignore your negative feelings. Of course we do feel upset, sad, angry or whatever negative emotions that happen to come to us at a certain time. I believe it’s important to acknowledge those feelings and not to get stuck in them for too long.)

When I started working on this translation from scratch for the second time, I thought to myself that I was very lucky, because the original document was only about 2700 words in length, and not 27,000 words. Also, I got reminded of the importance of keeping backups. It’s possible that sometime soon I’ll get a 27,000 word document to translate and happen to lose that document when I’m about to finish it. But of course, I’ll have a backup ready, because I learnt to do so from this incident I experienced today. We can learn from everything after all.

Yes, shit happens. But remember, ‘shit’ stands for striking&highly inspirational turbulence. Once you go through that turbulence, you’ll learn a lot from that experience.

Do you choose to be positive or negative? Why?


If you enjoyed this post and know someone who might enjoy reading it, please spread the word. Thank you!

Photo: Scarleth White

Brief updates – 24 Nov 2010 Edition

This brief update will be about two web initiatives, NaNoWriMo and Reverb 10, as well as my favorite post on relationships written in my new favorite blog.


I am not fisnished with NaNoWriMo yet. Right now, my novel is around 40,000 words and I believe I can manage to write another 10,000 words by the deadline. I learnt more lessons from NaNoWriMo since the last time I talked about it.

I’ve been using this novel to talk about my ideas and experiences. These ideas and experiences are expressed as dialogues by characters or monologues of the protagonist. I did a similar exercise for Julia Cameron’s Vein of Gold, but somehow I’ve been exploring my internal stories with this NaNoWriMo business more than with the Vein of Gold. I guess the thing is that this novel I’m writing is partly fictional, while a piece I wrote for the Vein of Gold was factual.

It might be the case that great novelists did the same thing for their novels and I was the only person who didn’t know about it. In any case, it’s great that I learnt about this benefit of writing a novel by actually writing one.

It’s easy to write down my ideas in the form of monologue or that of dialogue as a first draft. In fact, I used my novel as a draft for some of the blog posts I wrote during November. I let my characters talk about the core ideas behind these blog posts, and I’m very happy I did that. I might use this technique for future writing as well.

Another thing I learnt is how long I can concentrate on writing for. Provided I use this great application called JDarkRoom and there’s no distraction and I have a vague idea of what to write, I can keep writing at least for 40-50 minutes without taking a break. Indeed, I found that this chunk of time suits me most, unless words are flowing from my creative brain and there’s no reason for me to stop that flow.

I procrastinate a lot, too. But once I get myself going, I can get into writing. So, it seems the best way to beat my procrastinative habit is to start writing anyway. In fact, it amazes me that I came this far without any plot. All I did was just to write without caring too much what I was writing.

I believed I could manage it, and it is great to see that I am actually managing the situation.


After I finished with NaNoWriMo, I plan to keep writing everyday during December as well. I am going to participate in Reverb 10, organized by Gwen Bell.

Reverb 10 is…

“an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.”

The participants of Reverb 10 will do both. If you want to spend this December reflecting on your 2010 and getting ready for 2011, Reverb 10 can be a great way to do it. Join the fun!

By the way, I originally got to know about Gwen via Chris Guillebeau. In the early 2009 Chris produced Unconventional Guide to the Social Web and Gwen wrote the main guide in this product. I bought it, liked it, and started following Gwen. When she briefly came to Japan in the autumn of 2009, I met her in person, at a tweet-up organized by Sandra of Japandra (also known as @sandrajapandra). I love the way Gwen is and I totally recommend you to check out her website.

Farnoosh Brock on Why Relationships Matter

I found Farnoosh (@prolificliving) on twitter. I looked at her blog Prolific Living and it became my new favorite blog. In one of the latest posts, Farnoosh writes on Why Relationships Matter. I enjoyed that post, and I recommend you to take some time to read it. The part of the post I particularly liked is the following:

The length of a relationship is not a good measure of its depth or its meaning. Instead, remember the nature of your interaction with the other person, the simple exchange of your mutual understanding, and the lasting impressions you left behind. Let those mark your measures of success when it comes to relationships.

This part resonates with what I believe. If I wrote what I believe without an explanation, it would sound as though it’s in conflict with the above. I believe that great relationships last forever. I don’t mean to say that we keep those whom we have great relationships with physically close to us forever. What I mean is that we keep memories of them and let them live in our hearts; in that metaphorical sense, I believe that great relationships last forever. When it comes to the amount of time we spend together, these relationships may be brief. There might be only an hour of interaction between you and the person you build a relationship with. But, if that interaction is deep and meaningful and if that interaction creates amazing moments for two of you, that relationship is a great one that will last forever.

I will live my life as if those who let me create beautiful memories with them are like gifts to me. They help me create my art, after all.

I will write more on relationships and related issues in this blog as well. Let’s make this world more romantic together.

Photo: Pseudo Victor

Fundamental moves will take you further

When I was practicing tango with my dance partner last Saturday night, we noticed something. There was a part of this choreography that both my dance partner and I didn’t like. Our teachers had said nothing about this part being obviously strange or awkward, but to our eyes, there was something wrong about it.

This part involves us walking together. I stand right next to her and we walk. It takes only a few seconds… or 5 steps for this part. The problem was simple: We looked bored to death.

It wasn’t a new problem, but we finally decided to do something about it. We noticed the position of our arms didn’t look right. After we experimented for a while, we came to think it would be better if I stood on her left and behind her rather than standing next to her. That way, we could keep our arms in a better position. But, a new problem appeared. In that new position I had a difficulty moving my right leg forward, because her left leg would block it.

Then I remembered the most basic thing I learnt from my teacher: how to walk. When you walk properly in a tango way, you bring your foot forward and almost in front of the other foot. (If you are interested, watch this video.)  Before, I used to bring my right leg just forward and that was all. When I tried to walk in a proper way, I could take a step without getting blocked by my dance partner’s leg.

When I noticed this solution, I realized how important it is to work on this most fundamental move of all – walking. I only started learning tango since April, and there were a lot to learn. Compared to other moves, there’s nothing flashy about walking, at least when you look at it from a beginner’s perspective. I had forgotten about this most fundamental move. But luckily, I remembered about it.

Actually, I bet that fundamental moves like walking make a difference between the good and the excellent when you look at the whole thing from an expert’s perspective. I think this way, because I can apply my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu experiences to this situation as well. I know from my experiences that the fundamental moves are more important than flashy techniques, and I know that many people neglect those fundamental moves, while getting distracted by fancy moves.

I have a few questions for you. What’s the most fundamental thing in what you are passionate about? Have you been paying attention to it? Or have you been distracted by some other things that look somewhat better than this most fundamental thing? If you’ve been distracted, perhaps it’s a good time to focus on the basic things.

Photo: notsogoodphotography

“Show Me Japan” photos

My friend Anna (@AnnnaTrouble) is organizing Show Me Japan, in which Japan bloggers, photographers, and other interested parties display their Japan-related photos on their respective blogs. If you want to see photos of Japan by other people or want to participate in this meme, make sure to visit Anna’s website linked above!


I wondered what part of Japan I could show you, and realized that I took some photos when I went to Nagatoro, Saitama recently. Nagatoro is a great place for nature lovers. Unlike other popular destinations like Nikko or Mt. Takao, Nagatoro is less crowded. It’s quite accessible from central Tokyo, too. (i.e. it takes about 2 hours to get to Nagatoro from Ikebukuro by train)

The photos below are all taken with iPhone 3GS.

Who’s afraid of loving and being loved?

“Love is three quarters curiosity.” — Giacomo Casanova

Don’t be afraid of loving. It’s not cheap to show your love to the world. It’s not cheap to use the word “love” to describe your feelings. Don’t worry that it might be cheap to spend your love on more than one person or more than one thing; it’s not.

Don’t be afraid of getting rejected. Give more love, and you will get more. Love people around you. Love things you are curious about. Love each moment you experience. Love your life. Love harder. Love more passionately.

Love to love.

Love is unlimited, if you choose to stay curious about what your life has to offer. Love is unlimited, if you choose to keep loving.

Love yourself so you won’t have to be afraid of being loved. That’s right. Don’t be afraid of being loved.

You might wonder why people say they love you despite your imperfections, which you don’t like. You don’t love yourself because of those imperfections.

Good news — your imperfections are part of you, and you are who you are partly because of those imperfections; you are beautiful partly because of those imperfections.

Love yourself and show up in the world.

By the way, always remember this: you are loved.

It’s a message to my past self. A few days ago I made this realization that I was afraid of loving as well as afraid of being loved in the past. Yes, I used to think it’s cheap to use the word  “love” except in special occasions. I now think I was wrong about that… or rather, I was afraid of looking like a cheesy, fake romanticist. By the way, I must look like that type to some people, when I say my mission is to make the world more romantic. But I’m not worried about it at all, because I simply want to love more and to give more love to the world. If you want to laugh at me, do it by all means, but make sure to laugh hard! That will make both you and me feel good. Love or laugh. Or both.

Now I’m committed to loving my life more. Will it love me back? It doesn’t matter, really. What matters is whether I love it or not.

Keep loving.

Photo: peasap