再定義 – Redefinition

Just as the new year will bring bring great things for us, so too will it bring great changes for this blog. Starting from now, this blog will be about everyone but myself.

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First Chances at Final Farewells – Why a proper goodbye is a skill you need to have

Why are goodbyes are always so difficult?

For many people the answer is simple: a goodbye marks the definitive end of a time spent with someone. What once was is now no more, and before you part for the final time, you have this final chance to say what you want to say.

But it’s never enough time.

Hasta la vista, adieu, or sayonara, the meaning is the same across all languages as is the difficulty of saying the words. It never gets any easier, but learning how to part ways properly is one of the most important skills a person can develop.

You never get a second chance at a final farewell.

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Song of the Week 27 – “Put ’em Up”

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Malcolm Harper – How to travel, teach, improve each day, and thrive all around the world

Last week I sat down in Maebashi, Gunma with Malcolm Harper, traveling teacher and bon vivant, to talk all about his travels, lifetime enthusiasm for Japanese, and the differences he has found between the American and Japanese school systems. His thought on these matters and more are articulate, steadfast, and impactful.

Mr. Harper’s class is now in session, so come sit down and get ready to learn!

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Song of the Week 26 – “Hell Patrol”

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Taking Tea & Making Meaning – The Way Tea Ceremony Brings Us Together

This is the essence of Japanese Tea Ceremony

Incense burns. A single scroll resides in a modest alcove with a flower to compliment it. But for the whoosh of the bamboo whisk, the room is silent. A bowl is placed in front of you.

You pick up the bowl, turn it in your hand, take a sip of the tea, and pass it to the next person. As the matcha travels down your gullet, you taste the complexities of the fine tea powder. The person next to you experiences the same sensation in turn, and for a brief time you are connected.

You do not acknowledge the connection, but it is felt by each of you. In the silence of the room, in the presence of your host and one another, with the tea flowing through each of you, you have found a cause for union. The tea has brought you together, and together you will savor it before parting ways once again.

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Song of the Week 25 – “My Shot”

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Valerie Landers – Expatriate Princess

Valerie Landers is easily one of the most memorable people I have met in Japan.

As a six-foot, bold and outspoken African American woman with dreadlocks, she provides a stark contrast from the homogeneity of the Gunma countryside. And she always has something to say, be it nonsensical or heartfelt.

Last week, I traveled out to Tomioka, Gunma to sit down and pick her brain on what it means to be such an iconoclast. We discussed the sights of Gunma, life among other anglophones, being black in Japan, and how expectations work out (or don’t)

Come sit down and hear her what she has to say!

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Song of the Week 24 – “Skyfall”

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