Tight

In a sea of coats

Floating with the rhythm of the tracks

I gaze at the window to see a hurried face

“Wait for the next one”

http://vimeo.com/77489382

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Koenji Dadogei 2013 and Blogging

I’ve been falling into the trap of posting more pictures and videos on facebook. I’m assuming there’s an inherent desire to see all the likes and comments on one’s facebook page. The problem with posting too much on facebook is that you don’t get to own your content. As Scott Hanselman has said before, we are putting more of our content into walled gardens. In the hopes to share our experiences more we allow ourselves to trap our own content on somebody owns systems. Check out his post here.

On that happy note, I posted a video on facebook about Koenji’s Dadogei. Dadogei means street performance in japanese and you can find out more about it at http://www.koenji-daidogei.com/2013/

I noticed the video quality definitely suffers in facebook. The “shareability” factor also diminishes when you limit your video post on facebook and twitter alone as the content can only be viewed by your friends. I don’t think searching for Koenji on youtube or google will display your video in facebook which defeats the purpose of sharing. If somebody is doing research on the event, they they wouldn’t be able to access that content on walled gardens.

Conclusion. If the content itself is compelling enough, always share on more open platforms and the ones you control aka your blog.

Enjoy the videos from the final act of Koenji Dadogei 2013.

View it on youtube and you can crank up the video quality.


Underground

I go to the city

Look at what I see

People left and right walking around me

I take the escalator up the streets

Just to feel the sun down my cheeks


Welcome 2012 with Actionable Goals

As we enter 2012, everybody would have their own new year’s resolutions. Typical ones such as lose weight, save more money, be nicer, etc… Most of these resolutions never happen and it’s quite interesting to see how organizations cash in on these resolutions makers. Gyms, part time schools (think of language and cooking schools) and the like, love how people will join in the first month and slowly disappear as months pass.

Resolutions is a form cultural procrastination and we love making them as we see the new year as an arbitrary day that will magically change us and our environment. Unfortunately, we love setting ourselves up for failure by making vague resolutions such as lose weight, etc.

Let this post be my anti-resolution. I’ll blog more! haha but this time I’ll avoid the common failures of saying I’ll blog more. The more specific we are, the better the chances of actually fulfilling the “resolution”. So instead of calling it a resolution, I’ll call mine a habit. I’ll set time to blog every Friday afternoon 5pm – 6pm either on my personal blog or our work blog.

How about you? What’s your actionable goal?


Learning Japanese the New Way

Learning a new language has always been one of those things that people want to achieve. It’s always on bucket lists, new year’s resolutions, or whatever you call something you want to do these days.

Of course, it’s one of those things that are easier said than done things. People have different motivations for wanting to learn another language. Usually, it’s fascination with another culture that drives us to study another language. Most of the living world wants to learn English because it’s perceived as the “common tongue” (Game of Thrones reference). Whatever your motivation is, learning a new language is hard. The older you are, the harder it gets.

I’m lucky to have grown up in the Philippines where English is the second language. I appreciated it more than ever when I moved to Singapore. I didn’t realize that my English skills were good enough to actually receive comments that my English is quite good. It’s especially useful when travelling to non-English speaking countries. But all of it changed when I went to Japan.

Philippine pub in Japan! How cool is that!?

I’ve always been fascinated with the Japanese otaku culture. I remember memorizing hiragana in high school and practicing my hiragana whenever the lessons are boring. Years later, and after being awakened by my recent trip to Japan, I told myself that it’s time to study it for real.

A quick search online led me to Bunka Language School. My satisficer versus maximizer decision making was quick even though there are tons of alternatives and varying comments online.

Six months after enrolling, I’m currently in my elementary two class. All I can say is learning a new language is really hard.

Here are some tips that I use on learning Japanese.

    1. Find a good language school! – As much as you want to save money, nothing beats an actual teacher who will guide you throughout the whole process from your ABCs up to the most complex of sentences. Believe me, if you think just watching anime and listening to Japanese music will get you to learn the language, think again. After all those years of watching anime, a lot of phrases stuck with me, but most of it are off phrases that aren’t really useful in day-to-day conversations. Invest in a good language school. It might be costly but it’ll be worth it.
    2. Practice every day! – As with anything that requires mastery, you need to do this everyday. If you’re practicing the Japanese alphabet, read signs. If you are studying grammar, practice with a grammar book. Language is one of those things that has to be ingrained in your mind. You can’t take shortcuts and there’s no other way around it other than practicing every day. During my first few weeks, I had to relearn hiragana. This meant practicing how to write and read every day. Luckily, there are tons of random Japanese signs around town I can practice reading from just to make sure I was right. At night, practice for 15-20 minutes of writing. Just practice everyday! No other way around it. Which leads me to my third point.

All these folks wants to talk to you!

  1. Use tools! – With humanity’s superior knowledge accessible via the internet, there’s no reason not to use the Internet to aid you in practicing everyday. There are so many online tools that you can use. One of the tools that I use is Rosetta Stone software. This software has been lauded as one of the best tools to learn a new language. I’ve been using this along with my studying and it’s a different concept of learning. They say that their method is the same way we learned how to speak while we were kids, showing pictures of scenarios and saying the corresponding words. This method is pretty simple and it’s an effective way to learn the language because you have to repeat the whole process several times during the program. You don’t finish the whole course within 24 hours; rather you practice for 15-20 minutes a day until you finish the whole thing. Another online service that I’m using is Shared Talk. I freaking love this tool because it allows me to practice with real humans! YES! Real freaking humans! Do you know how hard it is to pull someone who knows Japanese and ask them to practice with you, while they patiently correct your grammar? Anyway, Shared Talk is a product of Rosetta Stone without you having to shell out 300 dollars. Shared Talk basically connects people who want to learn a new language online with the goal of helping them practice together. Think about it: some guy in Japan wants to practice his English and you want to practice your Japanese. That’s it! You get to talk to random people with the goal of learning their language. So far my experience has been generally good. I’m lucky because most of the people I talk to actually know a bit of English so it’s not really hard to communicate with them. Most of them just want somebody to practice their conversational English with. It’s great whenever I’m stuck reviewing because I can just login and ask someone questions while enjoy a nice conversation. Most of the people there are quite friendly and helpful. Of course with any online communication tool, you have to exercise a level of caution. Don’t share your email or any personal information please.
  2. The most important tip, know your motivation! – My goal for learning Japanese is to be able to converse properly and pass a couple of JLPT exams. Studying everyday takes dedication and patience. When you were in school, you know what you had to do. Pass the exam and move on the next grade. With studying on your own, the exit is pretty easy. Just stop enrolling. Nobody is forcing you except yourself. This is where the problem comes. If there is no outside motivation, there’s no will. Once you get tired of it, byebye :D. If your motivation is not clear and your goals are undefined, you will falter. So before you invest, know your motivation, write down your goals and read it every time you don’t feel like studying.
Hey, I enjoyed writing this and hopefully you enjoyed reading it as well. To be honest, it’s been six months of studying Japanese and I can surely say that I’ve improved. I know more words, I know how to construct more than simple sentences and I can strike a semi-decent conversation in Japanese. Share with me other ways you study a language. Would love to try it for myself. 😀

Moving Back

So…  After a long long hiatus and countless drafts, I decided it’s time to say hello and start a new.

I’m going back to wordpress.com after my exploratory self-hosting thingy. I guess it’s easier to maintain a blog here and just pay for the 15$ rather than going my own way. I just felt that it’s more fragile to handle an infra on your own.

Another is just focus. Just staying focused on what you do and on what you want to achieve. For me, it’s just sitting down every night and focusing on more technical studies and not doing more of these one off experimental things. (like what you read from me quite often *wink* *wink*) I got tons of ideas that I want to see come to life and I know I can only achieve this by focusing more and more everyday. I love how Richard St. John summarized success into 8 key things. Whenever I look at his diagram my eyes just automatically move to focus. If you haven’t seen his TED video go see it now. Be inspired and motivated! 😀

Richard St. John’s 8 to be great!

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/richard_st_john_s_8_secrets_of_success.html


Help Typhoon Victims in Philippines

UPDATE: For my friends in Singapore. You can easily donate by going to your UOB or DBS internet banking portals. Go to “Pay Bills” and look for “RED CROSS – PHILIPPINES TROPICAL STORM”. Any amount would help a lot.

UPDATE: Philippine Red Cross now has an official PayPal account you can donate to. Visit http://redcross.org.ph/ to help out.

If you haven’t been watching the news lately, my lovely country just got hit by a major typhoon.

And the reason you can’t see my country is because that huge ass typhoon is right above it 😦

I know I have a few readers all over the world and it’ll be great if you can help everybody back at home by donating any amount. $2 to you might be nothing, but even something as small as that can help a lot. I’m not good at convincing people but hopefully these videos can make you pass some of your change to people who need it the most.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bCW7IkICKA

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHxA0007Hh0

The loss of life and property is just devastating and any help would be greatly appreciated.

There are many ways to help and this might be the easiest one if you’re not in the Philippines

If you have any questions or inquiries on what happened and how you can help, just leave a comment or talk to me at the contact page.

Update: You can also donate via PayPal here: http://www.txtpower.org/2009/09/philippines-help-typhoon-victims-in-luzon-philippines/

Update 2: More options for you to donate via PayPal here: http://www.philippineaid.com/

~Eugene