Writer’s anxieties

Today I have several important tasks to accomplish, one of which is to do recording of a podcast show “LOVE THE WORLD” I started with my friend. It’s a fun project and it is always a delight to meet and chat with her. I feel lucky that I get to do this. The challenge is to edit/make it ready for publishing as soon as I am able, because if I don’t, it will take a lot more energy to bring myself to do it.

Another task is to finalize the work I’ve been doing this past two days (it’s the one I talked about in “Audition”). I am happy that I was given this opportunity but there is certain anxieties that is attached to this situation. I just hope that whatever the result is, I will accept it with grace and not assign a meaning that is not helpful for me. I know I am good at certain things. Maybe not as good as so many skilled writers in this world but surly there is a place for me, somewhere.

Fired Up

My friend shared this wonderful clip “BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2017 intro Barak Obama Presentation Remixed By Dann Fipphen” which I happened to catch on a train taking me to Tokyo to attend a seminar. Once there, at some point I will be put in front of a crowd of 100+ people for a brief moment and I am supposed to talk about what I do. It was a perfect little clip to remind me that one person’s voice has a potential to make a change. So be brave.

Audition

I took StregthsFinder test, which said my strengths are input, positivity, intellection, connectedness and learner. It’s different from the last time I took the test but it was at least 10 years ago before I had kids. I am curious to know if life circumstances affect the way you respond to the questions, which would result in different strengths.

Today, I am feeling a bit anxious, as it looks like I will have a shot for a writing gig. I need to show them what I’ve got by submitting my work. I can’t share any details at this point yet, but I will write more about it when the time is right. Somehow I can’t help but think that I got this opportunity because I started writing my daily challenges in this blog about 10 days ago.

StrengthsFinder

I have taken StrengthsFinder test a long time ago, but now I have another opportunity to retake the test, this time in Japanese. I am curious if I get the same results as the last time. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to make the use of the results I got last time, but this time around I have someone to help me interpret the results so that I can utilize my strengths more consciously and intentionally.

Also today I plan to take my youngest to a doctor’s office. He might have contact dermatitis – when he eats, his skin around the mouth becomes red and itchy. Until recently it healed itself within a few hours, but it is taking longer these days. Hopefully it’s not food allergy.

Today’s challenge: Be open, curious and ask right questions

I started the tax return process yesterday! As suspected it will take a few days to complete, but at least the ball is rolling now.

Today I will meet someone who could be my partner in starting up a new project. This project is something I have been wanting to do for a long time but never figured out how to get it started on my own. I met her last month through a mutual friend, and today we are having lunch before going to a (also relevant) event together. My wise mentor once said that being partner with someone to do a project or business together is just like marriage. So in a way, this is our first date. I am excited and also anxious to find out if we are a good match. My intention is to be open and curious, and ask right questions to learn the essence of who she is, what makes her tick – just like how you want to be on your first date.

Today’s challenge: Tax return

Today I will start the process of filing 2016 tax return. Japanese tax return filing deadline is March 15. Last year was the first time I filed after moving to Japan, and I spent so much time dreading the task that I actually put it off until March. Of course, once I finally got around to do it, the entire process was not as bad as I had feared. I felt like I wasted so much time worrying about it.

This year, I took Gretchen Rubin’s advice of “Schedule time to worry” and decided that I will not think about it until February, so that I don’t spend time dreading about it. Now that it’s well into February, today is the day. I am telling myself now that it is ok that I don’t finish it in one day – I just need to take the first step.

My Peaceful Family Podcast: English episodes in 2013

New Year. New Beginnings.

I started My Peaceful Family Podcast on 2/2/2013, on my son’s 1st birthday.

This show features a guest who meets one of the following criteria.

– Living outside of Japan and/or can talk extensively about life abroad

– Being in a cross-cultural marriage

– Creating a life according to his/her own rules

While most of them are done in Japanese, 11 episodes were done in English in 2013. It comes with a short Japanese intro & epilogue.

Click title to listen.

Vol 2: “Unconventional Lifestyle” with Nathan Agin

Vol 3:”Travel as a Way of Life” with Nathan Agin

Vol 4:”Let’s Talk about Food!”with Nathan Agin

Vol 13: “Love at First Sight” with Yukari & Mark Davidson

Vol 21: “Voices from World Domination Summit

Vol 27: “Japanese Mom, American Dad” with Mari Beal

Vol 28: “Bilingual Education” with Mari Beal

Vol 32: “Just Married!” with Nanae & Mike

Vol 36: “Turning Japanese!?” with Brett English

Vol 44: “Reflecting on the year 2013” with Nathan Agin

Vol 45: “Welcoming New Year” with Nathan Agin

You can find this show on iTunes as well.

How I spent my $100

I’m at Seattle airport, waiting for my flight to Portland – I am attending the World Domination Summit 2013. This will be my third year.

This past 6 months have been very strange – a lot of things happened that made me stop and think about what I was doing. Kids are growing up, even the little one started walking – he is no longer a baby! It’s a bittersweet feeling.

On his 1st birthday, I started a podcast program and have been putting a new episode every Friday – so far, 20 episodes have been put out there. I used $100 that I received at the last year’s World Domination Summit to purchase some equipment for the show. I am sure the question of “how did you spend your $100?” will come up during this year’s summit and it will give us some opportunity to reflect on what we have done this past 365 days.

I know it will be a crazy busy next 2 days, so I wanted to write this before I get on a short flight that will take me to Portland. Last year’s summit was amazing. I am sure this year’s will be as well. Most of all I am very excited to see my friends again, and make new ones. Portland, here I come!

About My Upcoming Book

As I wrote in this post in January this year, one of my goals was to publish a book. I got a book deal a few month later. I have sent out the final round of revision last week and now I am just waiting for them to send me a finished copy. In the meantime, a few non-Japanese friend asked me what my book will be about, so I decided to write a post.

My book “Cross-Cultural Marriage 101” (Japanese Title: “Kokusai Kekkon Ichinensei”). I wrote this book in Japanese for Japanese people who are seriously considering marrying a non-Japanese person. They can be engaged to get married, or dating a foreign partner for a while, or simply entertaining the idea about it because they think that it might be a better option for them based on their belief formed by their life experiences.

It is a lighthearted, yet serious and insightful book about what Japanese people should be aware of before  entering a marriage with a non-Japanese person, to increase their chances at  successfully creating a happy, long lasting and peaceful family.

I’m working on getting this book to major Japanese bookstores in other countries as well. If you have Japanese-reading friends who could use this book, please let them know about it. They can either get this book on Amazon.com or ask the Japanese bookstores in their town to order from Japan. I’m also in touch with Japanese U.S. Military bases in Japan as it has a special chapter about marrying a U.S. military personnel.

Hopefully I will get English version of this book published next!

Book Contents:

<Chapter 1> Is marrying a non-Japanese person intrinsically more difficult compared to marrying a Japanese person?

1.What’s your “Deal-Breaker”?
2.The reason why “Cross-Cultural Marriage” is said to be more risky
3.Benefit of “Cross-Cultural Marriage”
4.Does love conquer all?
5.Check sheet for your “Cross-Cultural Marriage preparedness”

<Chapter 2>  Why do you want to marry a non-Japanese person?

1.The real reason of why you want to marry that person
2.Be aware of your stereotype “If you are from XXX country, you must be YYY”
3.Is your “Dream life in XYZ country” real or an illusion?
4.The reason why you want to get your family onboard before the wedding day
5.A few words for the parents

<Chapter 3> Did you talk about this yet?

1.Things you need to know before moving to your spouse’s country
2.Things you need to know if you continue to live in Japan with your spouse
3.Your aptitude for a “nomadic” life
4.Could both of you live in each other’s country?
5.Critical factor – Eating habits
6.How good is your foreign language skill?
7.What are your expectations for your spouse’s Japanese language skill?
8.Don’t give up on communication
9.True nature of your relationship
10.Let’s talk about money
11.Do you know “pre-nuptial agreement”?
12.Insurance for rainy days
13.Where would you like to live when you retire?
14.Planning ahead – what happens when your spouse suddenly dies
15.How well do you know your partner’s family?
16.How many kids would you like to have – if any?
17.Raising your cross-cultural children
18.Know the Child Protection Law
19.It isn’t  easy to raise a bilingual child
20.Double income or single income?
21.Pursue independence so you can both be happy
22.How well do you know your partner’s friends and hobbies?
23.What’s your religion?
24.What’s your political view?
25.Your partner’s anger management skills
26.Asking for professional help
27.“Marriage” means to be on the same team
28.If you are marrying a millitary personnel

<Chapter 4> In case of Divorce

1.Increase of divorce rate
2.When divorce doesn’t fix things

<Chapter 5> Happy Cross-Cultural Marriage

1.It’s up to you
2.Get to know your partner’s many faces
3.Success stories

<Epilogue>

Free Pre-school Option in San Diego

Recently I was invited to do a presentation on Redirecting Children’s Behavior at this pre-school city20college20logothat is organized by Continuing Education which is under San Diego Community College District. It’s a pre-school program where child’s parents come and help run the school under the supervision and guidance of the teacher hired by the district. The school is 3 days a week, Mon, Wed and Friday from 9:00-12:00.  Here is the excerpt from the web-site:

Course focus is on building skills that strengthen families and prepare the preschool child for kindergarten. Parents develop family communication and problem solving skills while expanding their knowledge of the preschooler’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language development. The child participates in age appropriate activities in a preschool environment.

After my presentation, I had a chance to talk to one of the mothers who attested that it’s a wonderful program where you can bring in your child to have a pre-school experience and at the same time connect with other mothers. While you have your child at the school, you are assigned a specific role to help out at different activities the school offers, so you are not in the same place as your child all of the time, but it gives both you and your child a chance to have a new experience as well. While this pre-school program is completely free of charge, it does require a time commitment for the parents to attend 3 mornings a week, plus weekly meeting on Monday evenings. This semester is ending soon but if you are interested in joining for the next school year, check out their web-site!

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