Business idea: Argument Clinic (Day 28)

I’ve been learning about entrepreneurship a lot from $100 Business Forum by Chris Guillebeau and Pam Slim, and Question the Rules by Johnny B. Truant and Lee Stranahan in order to build a location independent business and my own empire. But at the same time, I’ve been struggling to find the most important element in this endeavor: products/services.

The problem is that even though I do come up with some business ideas, they don’t really look like what I’m after or there are so many people who do better than me.

Earlier today, Lee Stranahan (@Stranahan) tweeted:

If you had to start a business quickly to bring in a $1000 (one thousand) a month working at home, what would you do?

To which I replied:

Argument clinic. Helping people sharpen their logic&reasoning in what they’ve written. The real Q is: why haven’t I started it?

What I find interesting is that I didn’t have to think hard to come up with my reply to Lee. This argument clinic business isn’t what I’m looking for exactly, but it’s close enough and if it did grew up to be a source of $1000 per month, that would be totally fine.

So, why haven’t I started it yet? It really doesn’t cost me much to launch this business idea. Indeed, it’s hard to think of great reasons against starting this business. So, why not?

I love what Lee said in reply to my tweet:

But you have started it. You started it just now.

Sometimes a little encouragement like this one helps a lot. If you wanted to use such a service, what would want from it?

Japan needs something more than English (Day 26)

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama states as follows in an interview for The Japan Times:

“In order to contribute to the world, Japanese must learn English. The reality is that the universal language is English. Due to the language problem, Japanese people can’t contribute enough. It doesn’t have to be perfect English! My English is broken but I can still communicate!”

I do agree that Japanese must learn English and be able to communicate with the world. I believe there’s more than the English language that Japanese people must learn, though. What they really need is to realize that there’s no divide between Japanese people and non-Japanese people: we’re all human beings after all. It seems to me that many Japanese people have been studying English without even realizing this simple fact. Languages are for communication, but generally speaking, many Japanese people seem to study English as though English is a ticket to a better position at work rather than a communication tool. What a boring goal. Seriously.

My impression is that the majority of Japanese people have no idea what non-Japanese people are like or that they have wrong ideas about them. I bet that most of the people who read my blog are expats in Japan and I’m sure you know much more about all these things than I do.

I imagine the following situations. One in which many Japanese people can speak English fairly well but they still don’t have the sense of international community. And the other in which many Japanese people still suck at English, but they’re more open to non-Japanese visitors and residents. Now of course it’s better if they could speak English and were open to non-Japanese people, let’s cross this option out for the sake of simplicity. And let’s have the same deal with the situation where Japanese people can’t speak English and they aren’t open to non-Japanese people… well, this one sounds a lot like the current situation. In any case, with those two situations, I would choose the latter. The reason behind this choice is simple. If there’s no intention to communicate with others, then being able to speak English … or any other language doesn’t mean anything. But, if you’re keen on communicating with others, then what language you speak doesn’t matter much. Body language and what not could fill in the gap.

Now, the question is: what can we do about it to make Japanese people more open towards the world outside of Japan? What can I do about it?

In search of a dragon (Day 24)

Could this be a synchronicity? I saw on twitter that SQUARE ENIX is looking for some new members for Dragon Quest’s scenario writing team.

(By the way, twitter has been one of the major sources of awesomeness for me. If you haven’t signed up for twitter, you should do so now. It might take for a while to get what it’s all about, it’s great once you know how it works.)

I’ve been hardly crazy about computer games for the past 8 years or so, but I once wanted to be a game designer. That was one of my childhood dreams. I wanted to be a cartoonist as well. So, I was into making up stories; I dropped it somewhere on the road.

Applicants are asked to send 1) an entry sheet, 2) a short essay on what Dragon Quest is for them, and 3) a short story/plot about revenge, written with 4 out of 6 designated keywords.

Whether I’ll be selected for this position or not does not matter much. I just want to write something, and this opportunity gave me a good excuse… or reason to write a plot. And I did write one. I enjoyed doing it – that’s the most important part. I had forgotten how fun it was to create a world and to imagine how things would work in that world.

I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster now. It’s slowly going up and I don’t know when it reaches the top, because I’ve got a blindfold on. But I sense that it will soon hit the top. Have you ever felt like this? Or are you feeling that sense of adventure and possibility now?

Two free&beautiful spirits I met in Harajuku, Tokyo (Day 23)

On a beautiful Tuesday evening, I met Maude and Chales in Harajuku, Tokyo. Charles was playing the accordion and Maude was selling handmade accessories there. At first, I walked past them. But a few seconds later, I wondered who they were. I got curious about them.

I decided to come back and talked with Maude. She told me about herself and what they were up to–travelling around the world. I think the conventional way is this: you spend your whole life earning enough money to travel around the world when you get retired. Or, perhaps it doesn’t have to be your whole life, but you earn enough money and plan your trip ahead and all those things.

For Maude and Charles, all they needed was a one way ticket to Japan, because they’re determined to make money on the go, by busking, teaching French, or whatever that comes to them.

I loved talking with both of them and it was inspiring to listen to them. I’m glad I stopped to talk with them in this concrete jungle where most people are supposed to be busy with being busy and don’t stop at all to enjoy beautiful moments.

They were so cool that I had to record an interview with them and to share it with you all. They kindly agreed with that idea.

So, here’s my interview video with Maude.

I love what she had to say about “trusting your life”. I don’t know about you, but it resonated with me very much.

By the way, I noticed that a guy in the background wears a T-shirt that says “DEATH”. How funny, given that we were talking about life. Of course, death is an inseparable from the notion of life, but I’m rather amused by his T-shirt. Or should it be classified as one of those absurd moments that are supposed to be mentioned on this blog?

What did you think about Maude’s story? Oh, by the way, if you happen to see them outthere in the world, do talk and be nice to them!