Living Like A Lightweight Champion

I always owned only things I consider as essential. My definition of ‘essential’ was a bit looser than my current use of the term ‘essential’, so I used to own a lot more things than now, especially paper books.

My current criteria for something being ‘essential’ in this case is whether I use it on a regular basis – perhaps once a day, or at least every three day. Although there are some exceptions, everything else must go.

Right now, I can put everything I have into one small backpack (approx. 35l) and one messenger bag (approx. 20l). The things that occupy the largest space in my backpack are my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu uniforms. If I didn’t carry them, I think I would be able to travel only with one messenger bag.

I prefer to be a lightweight person in this sense rather than having so many things and living in clutters, because I find it more practical than the latter option.

Here’s some of the practical advantages that come to my mind now.

1. It’s easier to manage your belongings. 50 things vs. 500 things? Managing 50 things is much easier than 500 things.
2. It’s easier to carry them around. I see a number of travelers with gigantic backpacks. I wonder what they carry with themselves. I know these backpacks must be really, really heavy, though.
3. It’s easier to check in for a flight and you don’t need to wait for your bags at the destination. You don’t need to worry about them being lost either.
4. Life becomes simpler. I wash my clothes when I take a shower. You don’t need to use a washing machine as often as you might have before. Also, I only have a few options to choose from when it comes to choosing what to wear. Letting go of a collection of clothes might be hard for fashionistas, but I bet you can be more creative when you have limited resources as well.
5. It’s easier to focus on more important things in life than managing when you don’t have to worry about managing things you own or getting things you don’t really need.
6. You’d probably save some money as well, because if you choose to live with essential things and stick with that plan, it’s consistent for you to ask this question: do I really need this thing I want to purchase or to get?

Sure, you might not travel often, but 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 still apply to non-travelers as well.

I say being a lightweight person allows you to improve the quality of your life by getting these 6 advantages. There could be more advantages. It’s a champion life style, my friend.

Here, I wonder. What would be disadvantages of living like a lightweight champion? For myself, I can’t think of any disadvantage, because I enjoy living a minimalistic life. Can you think of any disadvantages?

If you are curious and want to live like a lightweight champion, here’s an experiment you can do. Choose what you think is essential in your daily lives and live with these items for a month. You can put everything else away in a closet or something. Grab a small backpack, if you have one, or a big garbage bag, and put what you chose in it. If the chosen items fit in it, that’s great. If not, you need to think about what to go in the bag again.

Give it a go and I’m looking forward to hearing how you went with this experiment.

Practice Your Art Here, Life Is A Dojo

Life is a dojo.

Do means way and jo means place in Japanese.

Dojo is a place where you practice your way – in many cases it’s a place where you practice martial arts. It’s a place where people get together and help each other improve their own skills.

For me, my life is my art, and at the same time, I see my life as my dojo as well. That is, I see my life as a place where I practice my art and help others improve their own skills. You may have not realized this, but if you’ve ever interacted with me in any way, it’s very likely that you helped me improve my own skills in one way or another. You are part of my dojo.

When I say my art, it’s not just about the style of martial arts that I practice, but everything I do. The way I live, the way I think, and the way I act. Yes, everything. If I choose to do so, I can learn something from anything.

I met up with a friend of mine here in Kuala Lumpur. He’s Malaysian currently based in Japan, and he happened to be back in his home town. While we enjoyed eating delicious bak kut teh, we had some great conversations as well. One of the things that resonated with me and inspired me most was how he saw his situation. I’ll make it very, very simple, but the thing is, he saw his situation as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.

Let’s see how this applies to my own situation. When I started practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, most of my training partners were heavier and stronger than me. That is, I was lighter and weaker. Does this count as a disadvantage? Perhaps. If I let it be a disadvantage. But, I tell you, it’s an advantage. When you are smaller than your training partners and when you know there’s no way you can beat them by using brute strength, you need to change the way you think and change the way you fight: you need to work on your skills harder, because that’s the only way you will be able to beat them all. So, instead of trying to gain muscles and to get stronger, I focused on sharpening my skills. My apparent disadvantage was never a disadvantage for me. It was an advantage.

I’m practicing my art by writing this piece. I hope there is something you can learn from this or something that inspires you in one way or another.

The skills I want to work on may be different from the skills you want to work on. But, as long as we are here with the same aim of improving our ways and our arts, that’s what connects us together.

If you are in the dojo, I’m happy to help you get to where you want to be.

Are you in? What are you practicing?

What It’s Like To Hand An Anonymous Love Letter To Someone

I got to know about this idea of sending an anonymous love letter, from a friend of mine and from this page. I really liked the idea, so I decided to give it a go.

In this post, I’ll write about my experience of handing someone an anonymous love letter and about my thoughts on this exercise.

I saw this woman at a cafe. She was with her friend, eating, talking and having a good time. I found myself attracted to her – of course, I didn’t talk with her, so I can’t tell what she is like as a person and if I will be really attracted to her once I’ve started talking with her. But, from the way she was that I could see, I felt my curiosity started brewing, and I decided to write a letter to her.

I have no problem with approaching women I’m curious about and telling them that I’m curious about them. It doesn’t mean I never get nervous. In fact, I do like the experience of feeling nervous and that is exactly what I want to feel in the very beginning.

Writing a letter is not as direct as talking to someone in person, but I did get nervous from writing the letter. My hand got shaky, though it made my handwriting somewhat neater than usual.

I can’t remember the exact words I wrote. I believe it went something like this:

For You,

I noticed you earlier and how stunning you are. I imagine you have something beautiful inside you just like how you look. You make me curious and make me want to get to know you more. I love women, and I love you. Thanks for being who you are…

Random Stranger

Once I finished writing, I headed to her table, swerved by, placed the letter in front of her, and walked away without looking back.

I have no idea what she thought I have no idea what her friend thought. I have no idea about anything in relation to this whole thing.

It was meant to be a pure gift, from which I had expected nothing in return. I have pretty much zero interest in trying to impress women, because my priority is to be curious about them and to be impressed by them so to speak. But I admit that there could be a part of me that wants some affection in return when I approach women in person.

With this exercise, though, there is no room for such a part of me to sneak in. In that sense, I think it’s a great exercise to develop this mentality of pure giving.

Also, it can be used as an exercise to get ready to approach women (or men for that matter) if you feel uncomfortable making such a step.

It’s easy to write an anonymous love letter and deliver it to someone you find interesting. Tell me about your experiences if you try it (i.e. this is a polite, Japanese way of saying, “do it by all means!”).

Practicing the Art of Getting Lost (and Scoring Free Upgrades)

Hello from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I left Melbourne, Australia on 23 March. I felt sad about leaving Melbourne, because I sense there is something charming about Melbourne, and, quite frankly, I’m in love with Melbourne. And it was much quicker for me to feel that way about Melbourne.

I started loving Tokyo after I started spending more time hanging out with friends in Tokyo; it took me a while for me to start seeing the charm of Tokyo. The same applies to Sydney, too. I didn’t miss leaving Sydney, though I do miss people I met there. Sometimes it takes a while to start liking or even loving places… or even people.

I still need to find something charming about Kuala Lumpur. A variety of food you can get here is pretty charming and so is the diversity of people here.

On the first day I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, I got lost, trying to find the hostel I had a booking for. The area where the hostel is located is not huge, but I managed to get lost anyway. In fact, I’m pretty good at getting lost. I should probably practice the art of getting lost and become a black belt in this art.

There’s something nice about getting lost, provided that you are not in a life threatening situation. I wasn’t in such a situation, and even though I actually started swearing due to the fact that this goddamn hostel was nowhere to find, on a retrospect, I enjoyed the whole experience of being a lost stranger.

(Side note: Since there is pretty much no coarse language that sounds strong enough in Japanese, I swear in English. Also, some of people who know me in person may have a hard time imagining me swearing, but that’s OK.)

You can learn a lot from things going against your expectations and assumptions. This point hadn’t come to my mind until this experience, but if there’s one thing I learned from this experience, then this is it.

I did manage to find the hostel eventually, but I was too late. My bed was gone. But the hostel staff was very kind and arranged another room at another hostel nearby. My original room was a dorm room, but this temporary room was a single room with bathroom and shower. Free upgrade for showing up late. Not bad, yeah?

The moral of the story is: enjoy your ride anyway and if you are lucky, you might end up getting a free upgrade, and even if you don’t get a free upgrade, you’ll have a story to tell and some amusing experiences.

Tomorrow, I’ll get back to something about love and romance, so stay tuned…

Manipulative Approaches Piss Me Off

Strangers approach me quite often. I guess it’s because I look approachable and harmless.

Some people simply ask me for directions. If I know, I tell them. If I don’t, I I suggest them to talk to somebody else.

Some people ask me for a quick help. Yesterday, I was approached by this guy who lost his phone and was waiting for the person who found his phone, bud hadn’t shown up yet. He asked me if he could call this person’s number. I let him use my phone, but we soon realized that my phone didn’t have enough credit to make a phone call. Soon after we realized there was a public phone nearby, so I believe he managed to call that person.

Some people ask me for money. I sometimes give, but it’s very rare.

Christians approach me, because they want to tell me about Jesus and God, wishing that I’d join them (I think I’ve never been approached by non-Christian, religious people). People from charity approach me, because they want to tell me about their cause, wishing that I’d join them. Sales representatives approach me, because they want to tell me about their products and services, wishing that I’d buy their products and services.

But, no one has ever succeeded in making me join them. What they tell me may be really good, but there is something that puts me off about the way they approach me. What comes to my mind as this something is: they have an agenda, they are desperate, and they use manipulative, psychological tricks whether they are aware or not.

I see there’s a parallel between the way these people approach and the way some men approach women.

I don’t get approached by women at all, but I imagine, if you are a woman, you might have experiences that guys approach you, because they want to tell you how impressive they are, wishing that you’d be with them.

In fact, I’m guilty of making these manipulative approaches myself, even though I had a clear intention of being non-manipulative.

What’s wrong with being manipulative is that it devalues human interaction by treating others as only means to an end, I think. Here, my assumption is that human interaction is valuable in one sense or another.

On a more casual note applying this point to romantic relationships, treating others as means to an end takes the fun away from these relationships too. This one is practical a reason, I suppose.


As I see it, one major difference between being manipulative and being non-manipulative is whether your actions deprive of choices from others, or acknowledge, make it clear and even encourage them that they have choices they can make on their own.

If you lead a conversation with a woman in such a way that she feels she has to give you her phone number to you whether she likes it or not, I think that’s manipulative.

If you lead a conversation with her in such a way that she can choose what she does without being disturbed by your potential action (i.e. getting angry, getting upset etc), I think that’s non-manipulative.

The questions I’m asking myself right now are: Are there still any manipulative things I do, and if there are, what are they and what can I do about them?

What’s your thoughts?

How to Avoid Failing in Creating Your Own Story and Living It

To create your own story and to live it, you need to know how you want to live and what you need to do in order to live the life you want to live, and to take action.

This sounds simple, but I believe it is simple like this. If you know what you want and what you need to do in order to get it, and if you do the things you need to do, then that’s great. Even if you may not get it straight away, I’m sure you will get closer and that process will make your life more fulfilling than living a passive life.

If these things are essential in creating your own story and living it, then failing to do them is a guaranteed way to fail you in creating your own story and living it.

You say you don’t know how you want to live. What can you do?

If you actually don’t know how you want to live, then I suggest you take some time to think about it. “I’m too busy” is not a good excuse, because you can choose to prioritize it and to create some time for clarifying what you want in your life.

But perhaps you do know how you want to live. You are just afraid of what others might think or afraid that you are not capable of living the life you want to live, and you don’t admit even to yourself about how you want to live.

Regarding what others might think… Again, ultimately, whether to choose to follow your own guts or others is your choice. What do you want to do?

Regarding your capability. There is a difference between hard and impossible, and I believe there are many more possibilities than you might think. The laws of nature put constraints on what’s possible or not in this world, but apart from that… go crazy. I bet many of the things you want to do aren’t impossible.

If these things are indeed really, really hard or actually impossible, then my backup suggestion is to consider what’s close enough to what you want to do, or to consider what kind of feelings you want to get from the things you originally wanted to do. I’m sure there are things that make you feel the feelings similar to the ones you would get from the things you originally wanted to do.

Let’s move on to the case where you don’t do what you need to do to live the life you want to live.

Why not?

Here’s some reasons I can think of.

You are not confident about yourself.
You are afraid of change.
You are not ready to pay the cost.
You don’t know that you need to do what you need to do to live the life you want to live.
You don’t know what you need to do.

What can you do about these situations?

You are not confident about yourself.
You can start from somewhere easier and build the momentum from there. Confidence is what you build through taking action. You do need to have courage to take the first steps, but once you get the momentum, you can keep building your confidence and get to the next levels.

You are afraid of change.
Unless you are already living the life you want to live, change is necessary. You probably have to get rid of what’s not working and to start growing. The question to ask yourself is: Do you really want to live the life you want to live?

You are not ready to pay the cost.
It’s similar to being afraid of change. You don’t want to give up your current life. You don’t want to commit some of your time to improving your skills. You are afraid of changes you need to make. What do you want?

You don’t know that you need to do what you need to do to live the life you want to live.
Perhaps you are misguided and believe that successful people were just lucky and you don’t have that kind of luck. Of course, there’s no guarantee that your life will be exactly like what you wanted it to be like if you do the things you need to do to live the life you want to live. But showing up and doing these things are probably the only things you can control and these things are more likely to get you to a better place than waiting for your dream life to happen to you.

You don’t know what you need to do.
I sometimes feel like I don’t know what I need to do, but as far as I’m concerned, the following seems to be quite basic and seems to work pretty well: identifying what’s not working and replacing it with what works. It can be painful to admit that things are not working as you like. Admitting this is a great move and helps you be more objective towards yourself. You might have to find what works by experimenting on your own, but you can choose to have fun with this process too.

How do you want to live your life? What do you need to do in order to live your life that way?