On action, appreciation, and 5 minutes

In this post, I will answer the prompts 13 (Action), 14 (Appreciation) and 15 (5 minutes) of Reverb 10. It’s not too late to join Reverb10 and reflect on your year 2010 – join us and share stories with other participants!

Prompt 13: Action

When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

In the previous post, I wrote about my possession. The last time I counted how many things I have, I had about 126 things. Now, I’ve decided to let some of them go, including this T-shirt I am attached to very much. The story behind this T-shirt is about my 18 year old self, my friend Tatsuya and this hardcore punk band called Reach the Sky, from Boston. 8 years ago, Tatsuya brought Reach the Sky to Japan on a DIY basis, and I got to be involved in their Japan tour as an interpreter/tour manager/person-to-have-fun-with-them. I still remember this great adventure we had and this T-shirt means a lot to me.

But I’m letting it go. I cut out the logo of Reach the Sky printed on the T-shirt and will keep it, though. The T-shirt will go, but memories will stay.
I’ve put this T-shirt as well as other items in a garbage bag and it’s ready to be collected tomorrow morning. I will minimizing physical as well as mental distractions from my life and focus on creation. This is one of the very first steps.

If you are interested in having a lifestyle in which you minimize stuff and maximize your experiences, you can start identifying things you don’t need, but you possess, and start eliminating these things as well. All you need to do is to take action, to take one small step.

Prompt 14: Appreciate

What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

One simple thing that I started believing this year is that I have enough resources that lead me to almost anywhere I want to go, metaphorically or literally. It may take years to get to where I want to go, but I know I can make one step forward, another step forward and yet another step forward. What I already have is enough for satisfying what’s required to make this step. By resources, I mean everything and everyone that comes to my life. I appreciate them for helping me move forward.

The question of how I express gratitude for them is a tricky question, but I suppose I can simply live my life with this attitude of appreciating everything and everyone that makes my life enjoyable and that way I can express gratitude for them.

Prompt 15: 5 minutes

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

My 2010 in 5 minutes. What do I want to remember? This year was probably a year I experienced a big shift, and slow as well as fast. It was slow in the sense that I felt frustrated with how little progress I made when I could make more progress. It was fast in the sense that I nevertheless had great experiences, such as unblocking my creative blocks, learning Argentine Tango, climbing Mt. Fuji, winning at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Asian Open Championship, making a lot of new friends, going to Kyoto and other small things I can’t write in 5 minutes.

So, that was my 2010 in 5 minutes of writing.

This prompt makes me think… I wrote 101 words for my 5 minute summary of 2010. If I live for another 60 years and write a 100 word summary every year, then these 60 years can be summed up in about 6000 words? But then, I feel I’d rather want to be able to sum up my life with something simpler like “I had an awesome life and I love you all”.

By the way, I’m having an awesome life and I love you all.


What’s your thoughts on these prompts? Tell me, because I’m curious. If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

On minimizing, maximizing, and body integration

This post answers the prompts 11 (11 Things) and 12 (Body Integration) of Reverb 10.

Prompt 11: 11 Things

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

(Author: Sam Davidson)

A while ago, I decided to count how many things I have according to the rules of the 100 thing challenge, and it turned out that I have 126 things. I’ve been mentioning this in my Reverb10 posts, but I’m keen on minimizing stuff and maximizing experiences. I will start eliminating some of the things from my posessions, and the list of the things I need to let go can easily include more than 11 things.

Perhaps minimizing stuff alone will help me focus on experiences more and I will definitely use this opportunity to work on these two things. By letting go of those things, I can create room for new experiences, and that’s what I want more of in 2011.

Prompt 12: Body Integration

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

(Author: Patrick Reynolds)

There are some memorable moments I experienced this year. In those moments, I felt alive and present. If I’m to talk about one moment when I felt the most integrated with my body, it must be this.

In September, I competed in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Asian Open Championship in Tokyo. I fought 5 matches, and the moments I experienced in my first match was when I felt the most integrated with my body.

That day, I had to be at the venue before 1pm. Since I had some time to drop by a morning open mat session at my gym, I decided to go there and to have a few light spars. The reason is simply because I’m a slow starter, and I knew the first match would be the toughest in the sense that I would feel more nervous than other matches. But with this morning session, I prepared myself well.

When it came to my first match, I was calm and looking forward to having fun with the match. I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to win the match. So, as soon as it started, I played my game. I pulled him into my favorite position and choked him quickly. In the end, it took me less than 30 seconds to finish my opponent.

It made me feel as if I wasn’t there at all. My mind and my body were focusing on one mission and integrated with one another. But I’m not sure if there was a cohesive me in those moments, because I feel as though there wasn’t any me at all. I was alive and fully present by being completely absent.

My mind and my body were focusing on one mission and integrated with one another. But I’m not sure if there was a cohesive me in those moments, because I feel as though there wasn’t any me at all. I was fully present by being completely absent.

Regarding the idea of “being yourself”, my favorite artist Taro Okamoto says that trying to be yourself is what keeps us stuck in the same shell, and we better aim to live as a human. This claim needs a lot of clarification for sure in order for it to make sense to many, but I believe it is intuitively comprehensible to those who think about the kind of states this prompt mentions. Perhaps my self-less state was such an instance of being a human, though it was more like being an animal in a good way.

Or perhaps just a being, whatever that means.

Is there any reason why you should define the new you by who you were in the past? I’ll leave this question open, but my intuitive answer is that there isn’t such a reason. (And of course, do we need to define who we are at all?)


What’s your thoughts on these prompts? Tell me, because I’m curious. If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: Cameron Cassan

On being beautifully different, party, and wisdom

Today’s post answers prompts #8 (Beautifully Different), #9 (Party) and #10 (Wisdom) of Reverb10. I’ll talk about #9 and #10 first, and then #8 in the end.

Prompt #9: Party

What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

(Author: Shauna Reid)

This prompt reminds me that life is like a carnival. There’s no reason why our daily lives can be a party. For living this way, you don’t need to get drunk or to do activities that you’d do at an event that is structured according to the norms regarding what we call ‘party’. It’s more about your attitude that matters. Having said that, I haven’t shown up in my daily lives with this party attitude that much this year. So, stay tuned for 2011.

Prompt #10: Wisdom

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

(Author: Susannah Conway)

The wisest decision I made was to show up at Ben’s Cafe in Tokyo for the very first meeting of the Artist’s Way Tokyo group this January. This first meeting led me to a 12 week of creativity Tetris as well as another season of it. I have been mentioning this book a lot in this blog, but that’s pretty much because it’s a great book if you actually do the exercises in it. The next group will run from January 2011. If you are based in/near Tokyo and curious about giving it a go, check out this Facebook page or contact  Soness the facilitator.

Prompt #8: Beautifully Different

Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

(Author: Karen Walrond)

There is nothing that makes me different from others, because I, like you and everyone else, am different by definition, or so I believe. I’ve been thinking about it this way for a while. But, if you insist, perhaps the fact that you are there makes me different from you. Likewise, the fact that I am here makes you different from me. After all, you are not me and I am not you. If you were me, then I wouldn’t be different from you. If everyone else was me, in the very literal sense, I wouldn’t be different from them.

But then, we are all alike for this difference by definition that we all have respectively. I’m inclined to think that similarities are more important when it comes to making connections with people, by the way. The basic idea is that we make connections by finding similarities between us. Learning about differences is fun, but what we really get us closer is that similarities we find in such differences. I’m going to elaborate this idea more in another post.

What I do that makes people light up? Perhaps my Cheshire Cat smiles?

And if what makes me different is what makes me beautiful, then it is you that make me beautiful. But beautiful in what sense?

Let me throw away an analytical mind for a moment. I’ll be happily non-sensical here.

My non-analytical answer is this. My life is my art, and I can perhaps claim that I am the platform of my art, because… well, I carry my life with me, or my life carries me. How I create my art is by experiencing this life as much as I can. Amazing people like you, as well as amazing experiences, contribute to stories, sounds, visions and everything else that go into my art. If I am beautiful, then that means my art is beautiful. If my art is beautiful, then it’s due to this whole art and each element of it. They are beautiful in the sense that they make people curious, wonder, examine and reflect on their feelings in one way or another OK, I just made up that sense of beauty, but I like it. Are you still following me? In short, you make me different, and my being different from you makes you curious about who I am – well, maybe not everyone of you, but some of you, I hope. And that power of creating curiosity is what I’d consider as an ingredient of beauty. But whether we’d come close to each other is, in my view, depends on similarities we find in one another.

You are beautiful, by the way.


What’s your thoughts on these prompts? Tell me, because I’m curious. If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends by clicking the like button or the tweet button below. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: milena mihaylova

Having a sense of wonder, letting things go, and making – #Reverb10

What was 2010 like for you? I am reflecting on my year 2010 by participating in Reverb10. In this post, I’ll answer prompts #4 (Wonder), #5 (Let Go), and #6 (Make). You can find other Reverb10 stories by searching the hashtag #Reverb10 on twitter, or you can check the Reverb10 official site.

Prompt #4: Wonder

How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

(Author: Jeffrey Davis)

My answer to this question is somewhat circular, but I cultivated a sense of wonder by having a sense of wonder.

What helped me have a sense of wonder, though, is my desire to experience beautiful moments in my life. You can’t make beautiful moments happen and perhaps the beauty of these moments would be lost if you could control everything about them. Having said that, however, I believe you can make it easier for you to notice such moments  by focusing on what’s happening around you (or perhaps by worrying less about what’s not happening).

I’m not a guy who has a sense of wonder about absolutely everything, because I do prioritize some things higher than others, but I choose to be curious about things I want to experience.

Choosing to be curious is the key, I believe.

When I met Mr. Satorialist at his meet&greet event in Tokyo this April, I asked him what he sees through his camera. “Ignorance is a bliss,” he said. He finds something interesting about people he wants to take photos of and he makes up stories about them. He sees what he wants to see in these people.

I plan to cultivate a sense of wonder more in 2011. Having a sense of wonder is, I believe, one way to make the world more romantic.

What are you curious about? What do you want to experience?

Prompt #5: Let Go

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

(Author: Alice Bradley)

As far as the practice of letting things go is concerned, I actively let go of things this year.

It all started as part of exercises in The Artist’s Way, and I continue to let go of things that don’t fit in with the kind of life I want to lead. I got rid of old clothes, books, CDs, old photos, documents that I don’t need to keep, other redundant items, creative blocks, worries, negative thoughts and the like. I’m sure these things will keep coming back like Tetris, but I’m also sure that I can handle them without accumulating them next time.

So, I will keep letting go, because my ideal at the moment is to own only what’s necessary. The motive is not so much about becoming a minimalist, but it’s about maximizing experiences by reducing physical as well as mental distractions.

It’s possible that nothing is going to stay with you forever. I can’t see any reason why you should try to keep it to yourself when it needs to go. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t welcome it when it comes to you, by the way. You can appreciate it when it’s there with you and let it go when it needs to go. It’s simple as that.

(Now I’ve finished answering up to prompt #5 of Reverb10, I sense Reverb10 helps me prepare for letting go of 2010! You were a beautiful year, but go… go!)

Prompt #6: Make

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

If we are referring to something substantial here, my answer will be my NaNoWriMo novel, but the last thing I made in a more straight forward sense is stirfried eggplants. I used vegetable oil, eggplants cut into finger size&shape, miso paste, mirin, and soy sauce.

There are some things I want to make. I want to make a mini e-book that explains the concept of location independent business and introduce people who run such businesses to Japanese readers. I want to make a manifesto about making the world more romantic. I want to translate Leo Babauta’s e-book Focus into Japanese. I will make them happen.

But now I’ve mentioned food as an answer to this prompt, I came to have baclava and apple crumble in mind as well…

How about you? What’s the last thing you made? By the way, it’s important to note that you don’t need to set the hurdle too high when we talk about things we made. If you doodled something, you made something. If you cooked a meal, you made something. If you became friends with someone new, then you made something.

Or say hello to me and you’ll have made a new connection if you are new to this blog!


If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: *Zara

Reverb 10 – Days 2&3: Writing and Moment

I’m participating in Reverb10 and reflecting on the year 2010 as well as preparing for the year 2011. If you want to join this initiative, take a look at Reverb10’s website and sign up!

In this post, I’ll write on the prompts for Day 2 and Day 3: Writing and Moment.

Day 2: Writing

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

From January to June, I worked on the Artist’s Way as well as the Vein of Gold. One of the main exercises in these books is the morning pages — as soon as you get up, you write down whatever that comes to your mind for 3 pages. When I was good, I simply woke up and grabbed a pen and a notebook placed right next to my pillow and started writing my morning pages.

But I don’t write morning pages these days.

Now, I tend to take some time to start writing after I get up. This warm up time doesn’t contribute to my writing that much, because I know from my morning page experiences that I can wake up and start writing without any warm ups. In fact, the morning pages can serve as a good warm up for the day.

Let’s eliminate unnecessary warm ups, such as e-mail checking and coffee making, and bring this habit back again.

Day 3: Moment

Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

There were some beautiful moments that made me feel alive this year. I’m grateful that I experienced them. But I will choose not to pick one moment and describe it in detail. There are two reasons for this: 1) I want to keep those moments private, and 2) I simply can’t choose one moment among those moments.

Instead of picking and describing one moment, I want to describe some common features that underlie those moments.

  • When a beautiful moment comes to me, it feels as though time freezes. All I need to do is to ask that moment to stop for seconds and to dance with me.
  • When I experience that moment, I feel warm and connected with the world in one way or another. Yes, that was the case even when I was all wet and frozen on top of Mt. Fuji.
  • Shortly after I experience that moment, I often think that my future self will randomly remember this moment. This thought makes me feel great as well.

I’m keen on experiencing such beautiful moments again in the year 2011 as well. I will focus on minimizing stuff and maximizing experiences more and more next year.

Are you part of Reverb10 as well? If you are, give me a yell in the comment section below and point me to your blog so I can read your stories! Even if you are not, I’m curious about your experiences in relation to the prompts above or this post in general. Tell me about it!


If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail, too. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Photo: Kyle Kruchok

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