London, Lists, Lines

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I have returned from London and I feel like I am still getting in the swing of things. When I say swing of things, I mean slowly preparing myself for going back to work. I love working and working hard, but there gets to be a point when the boredom at certain jobs can reach such a level of dullness, it starts to become painful. Wording it like that sounds horrible, but it some positions just don’t work for certain people.

What was a blast was some observations and sketches I made while I was visiting London. I will keep a few to myself, hidden in my notebook only available to those who come by for a coffee. Five for you.

toilets

  1. The toilets are square.Who has a square ass? 
  2. There is a lot of brick. Everywhere. I have never seen so much brick in my life.
  3. The “Tube” is literally the shape of a tube of toothpaste. 
  4. In London, shops look like Ikea. The whole city is a cute hallmark card.
  5. All museums are free. Sold me on the country. 

The Burning Mountain

1036b68471670aad64d79247ccee84a1Yesterday, the Yamayaki. Once a year people gather in the city of Nara under Wakakusaiyama to watch the mountain burn up in great flames. The reason why the festival started in the beginning is uncertain, but some think that it was to drive the boars away from the city. Those boars just came back every year and kept terrorizing the people I guess.

Being only the second year watching the Yamayaki, I was uncertain of where the best viewing spot would be. Last year I watched from my friends attic with heaters and warm tea, not exactly up for experiencing the elements. What I learned from being in the midst of the people and the atmosphere is this: try to get up the mountain, as high as possible. Not only will you be able to warm yourself up slightly by being close-ish to the flames, but they have a Taiko, the Japanese drum, performance on the edge of the mountain. For those hoping to attend the festival in the future, abide by this.

I went with an Australian friend and a new friend from Malaysia. Unfortunately because of my limited knowledge, we missed out on the the drums by a minute or two, but we were able to watch the mountain burn from afar, also having a good view of the preceding fireworks.

Our hard work of standing in the cold for about an hour paid off with a hot bowl of Oden and the sweet sweet taste of Amazake.96_image

I’d say it was a good night for more than a few reasons, but there are two that stand out. The first one was the lovely pleasure of being in the company of a couple of fantastic humans. The second is that every time I go to these kinds of places I realize and am amazed at how little I know about the area that I live in. I love this place and I find it extremely difficult to talk about its history or even some random facts for even a few minutes. One of my new resolutions (Not New Years resolutions, mind you. Those I managed not to keep within the first week.) is to be able to give tours of my area and be able to know and explain to my friends that are traveling. Cheers to that, and Happy New Years!

Customer Service Q&A: I sprung this one on my father

While sitting in the local Nepalese restaurant with my dad, we were enjoying our butter chicken curry and our spicy tandoori when I sprung a quick interview about customer service on him. Conversations like this don’t happen very often, so I wanted to take this opportunity to find out a bit more about my dad and what he thought about the values of the company I am currently aspiring to work at. He was born in Wisconsin and came to Japan in his early 30’s. He has five daughters and loves to write. The interview was simple, and I had a lot of fun asking him the questions.

When you were younger, did you do anything related to customer service?

No.

Not at all? Not even a bar or something?

Oh yeah, I did that when I was younger.

How was that?

I hated it.

Why?

People are jerks, and it stunk like smoke all the time. There were a lot of rude people.

Was this in Wisconsin? There weren’t any other customer service jobs?

I worked at a flouring company as well. I was the manager of a warehouse.

Did you learn anything interesting while you were there?

Yeah, that if I keep doing this I will have a sore back. The stuff was heavy.

What are the customer service difference between American and Japan?

I think in Japan its more formal and ceremonial.


The Buffer Values and my dad’s take on them:

  1. Choose Positivity 

Do what you like. Try to make every situation positive. Try to learn something.

  1. Default to Transparency

Yeah, thats a good idea. They should tell everybody about what’s going on. Don’t keep any secrets.

  1. Focus on Self-Improvment

You got to always try harder I guess.

  1. Be a no-ego doer

We all have an ego.

  1. Listen first, then listen more

You should do more listening than talking.

  1. Communicate with Clarity

To be clear. I’d like to have everything clear, otherwise how do you know what’s happening? You don’t want to be in a fog. You will have accidents if you are in a fog.

  1. Make time to reflect

See how things went in the past and see wants going on. How things are working. Ask yourself, did this work for me? Thats what memories are for. Other things can be to watch your reflection in the mirror, stretching, et cetera.

  1. Live Smarter, Not Harder

Yeah, I agree wight hat one 100%, thats my motto. I’m going to tattoo that on my forehead. Why would you want to do everything the harder way?

  1. Show gratitude

Simple stuff. Compliments. Say something nice. Depends who you are talking to but saying thank you is the easiest.

  1. Do the right thing

Do the right thing! Good idea. What would the right thing be? The right thing would be to do things that you love, but don’t hurt other people.

Oh, the things I wanted to be.

Here in Japanland, I’m currently working three different jobs in the Kansai area. I work part-time at Universal Studios, Kindai University, and Kindai Elementary school throughout the week, enjoying the different dynamics of each position. In the past as well, I worked on and off at different restaurants and learned a little more about how to work with customers. Despite the busy schedule, there is one position that I currently have my eye on. This one is different from the work that I have done up until now, and involves working at home from the computer. When I found it online, I instantly started daydreaming about applying for a job there. Yesterday I was challenged to think about why I want the job and be explicit about the reasons as to why this company would be a good match for me.

While I was pondering and doing a bit of writing for this, I got drawn back in time and thought about job aspirations from when I was younger.

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I switched dream jobs a lot, but I enjoyed the idea of each one. Perhaps from reflecting on my younger self, I will be able to have a clearer answer as to my reasons for wanting to work from the computer.


When I was 5 years old, it was my dream to be Minnie Mouse. I don’t know how I planned on transforming into a fictional cartoon character, but I just wanted to become her. I liked the idea of it and had no concrete reasons for my passions.

When I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a banker because the uncle that I admired and aspired to be like was(and currently is)the manager of a bank in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He also told me that my math skills would get much better if I would work there. I liked the idea of being able to improve in something I wasn’t confident in while doing work that I liked.

When I was 10 years old, I wanted to be a baker. My hero at this time was Scooby Doo. I loved to eat and I thought I had finally found the best job for me. The possibility of baking for other people as well made me happy. While enjoying creating cakes that not only looked beautiful but tasted good, the idea of Eat, Drink, and Be Merry appealed to me.1929830_13522065777_2991_n

When I was 13 years old, I wanted to be a singer and pianist. My idols at the time were Hilary Duff, Fefe Dobson, and Avril Lavigne. I was really drawn into the teen idols of the time, and practiced singing until my tone-deaf self somehow managed to improve. I pursued this dream the longest, practicing and doing random concerts and entering competitions.

Now, I am 23. I still love all of these things. I work in merchandise so I do deal with money and my math has gotten better since I was five, though I have to admit I should brush up on my algebra and geometry.

I have classes at my house where I bake every week for students and get the chance to try my best at making creative foods. I also love to check out different cafe’s and restaurants in Japan.

I sing at different places and play live on occasion. I love the technical side of music and enjoy joining different open mikes in Osaka. It’s always in the back of my head to somehow play regularly for events.

1929830_13522080777_3968_nThe only thing that has yet to become a reality is the Minnie Mouse dream. That is one that I will have to keep on the back burner for now, but I am looking forward to what I could be doing in the future. Hopefully improving my writing and helping other customers and people in my life.

In 10 years

I constantly stumble across these little poems that I wrote when I was younger. Makes me think that I might have to up my game and compete with my younger self. When I was thirteen, I had this giant notebook filled with stickers, poems, lists, anything that I felt like writing. That is where I pulled the mini poem below from. It’s amazing how much my thinking has changed.


“In 10 Years”

In 10 years all of these things will pass
All of the hurt and the confusion
Will be all gone and won’t last

In 10 years I’ll wish I knew what I knew now
I’ll have so many regrets
Just because at the time I didn’t know how

In 10 years I’ll wonder why I made such a big deal
About things that never could matter
Instead of things that are real

In 10 years I’ll still be the same person at heart
My hopes and wishes might change
But can’t go back to the start

In 10 years God will still be the same
Yesterday today and forever
He’ll be with me through the pain