Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Riding the New Wave

What a ride..

At a my LG leaders house at the beginning of the year, he had each of us pick a kanji, draw it and present its meaning as our kanji for the year.  Mine was "wave". In order to experience what God has for me, I have to be willing to get on the wave and ride it. It also means getting myself ready for it with the right position, the right timing, and the full force of moving myself in the right direction till it picks me up. Now it begins...

As I finished packing up some teaching materials and packets of paperwork to return to my company, the feeling is finally starting to set in. It only feels like a few weeks ago when I came to Yokohama, lost, embarrassed, and in need of a new start.  This job has been with me through some good times and some not so pleasant ones. It has seen me in times of mischief and in situations with serious overthinking. It has seen me in times of frustration and in times of joy. Having walked me through several seasons of my life here, leaving this job behind truly feels like the end of an Era. 

I am so thankful for everyone I met, the opportunities I found, and the experiences I got to be a part of because of my AET teaching job. Because of the nature of this job and the extra time it allowed me to have to myself, It gave me the freedom to finally discover a part of my vision here in Japan while allowing me to get to know myself.

One of the surprises I got was a whole classroom of 5th graders shooting at me with these handmade confetti tubes for one of my very last classes. As an English instructor, i never used anything but English in the classroom up until now. Considering that I would technically no longer be their sensei, I took the liberty of giving them a quick pep talk in Japanese. ".. when you get older you might have a tendency to get nervous, worry about what people think about you, what that cool guy thinks, or if that pretty girl might laugh at you.  Don't worry about that stuff. Don't care about what people may think. With whatever level you are, whatever English you might know.. even if its super sloppy, JUST USE IT.  The more mistakes you make just means you will have more chances to learn better. ... Peace!"


I have no idea what is in store for me next, but I trust in God. I hope I can be a blessing to everyone I meet and everywhere I go in my new Era. 

Colossians 1:16 "For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."

Friday, January 1, 2016

Resolution 1280x800

I think I may have already broken my New Years Resolution before starting it.

I found an old hard drive from my closet in my family's home. Out of excitement from watching the trailer of Warcraft, I couldnt control the urge but to reinstall Warcraft III on parallels.

Before I knew it, 2 hours have passed. Its 4am.. and I finally decide to quit. Only to do it again the next day. 

Anyway, New Years is upon us in California.

I have no idea what sort of resolutions I made last year.

But one thing I do know, its been one hell of a year. 

Its had its downs, but its had its ups.  There's been challenges and unexpected events. Hard decisions as well as easy ones. 

Whatever crazy things I had to deal with, I learned some important life lessons and finally got a bit of real vision for myself.

1) Like and love yourself before you try to love someone else. 

I had to walk away from one relationship this year and the important takeaway was simple. Be yourself and love who you are. Hold yourself responsible for how you affect others. Improve what can be improved. Then be ready to love someone else for who they are. No changes or unrealistic expectations.. just love and acceptance.. mutually.

2)Seek to improve what you can, let God open or close the doors.

One piece of vision that I finally accepted was the desire to start my own family. Oddly enough, it was around the time I became single, more than ever that the idea of a family with the right partner became strong.

But, first things first... My career or work vision would eventually become an obstacle if I didn't do something about it quick.  

So I decided to do anything to build skill outside of English teaching and my current job.  Which led to my pursuits in acquiring personal fitness knowledge, an organized gym schedule and resume resurrection.

Fast forward to today, while some of my goals are still in progress I am happy to see some of my highlights in 2015:

Traveling to a foreign country

Studying and taking N1. And not being completely lost..

Getting certified in First Aid/CPR/AED

Getting a Japanese Drivers License

Making good friends out of new friends

Receiving a job offer from an awesome company

Seeing my family for the holidays

2015 was a pretty good year... I have a feeling 2016 has alot more to look forward to!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Weekend thoughts. 9/19

I feel like a full time student again. I have 2 exams waiting for me in December and a 700 page book to read.  With my daily checklist as:  Work, Gym, Study, Study and Update Resume, I havent found too much time to aimlessly browse youtube or my fridge without feeling guilty. Its a good thing i guess.

In this season im really trying to change some gears from this life i've had for the last 3 years.  Yes, its been a great life filled with fun, adventure, mischief and unexpected hurdles.

I recently went to a work meeting and got to know a few people who are really gifted and intelligent.  People with business degrees, psychology experience and really talented in their interests.  However, some of these people about a decade older than me have lost confidence in themselves to become what they originally dreamed of.  

"I always thought of being ________. But right now the pay is not bad and the hours are great." Seems to be the common excuse these days to stop pursuing something more. And im guilty of it too.  But after seeing people twice my age feeling stuck like this however.. ive decided.  Hell no, im not falling into that comfort trap.  

I am thankful for my life in Yokohama, my Job and all my friends.  Yet, I realized that there are so many things I still want to do before I can be ok with dying. I don't know what my future holds, but its about time i needed to be reminded that being blessed by a certain situation doesn't mean "take it easy". Its meant to just be a step towards the next big thing.


For some who see my blog but don't have me on facebook, here is part 2 of my adventure I had in Bali over the summer. Hope you can get some ideas for your own adventure.

Please leave comments and any advice I can get about video editing tips, things you like to read about...places I should checkout for my next vacation..!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bucket List

At the beginning of this summer, I came up with a list of things I wanted to accomplish. Challenges that I dared myself to complete. In other words, I made a bucket list.

Summer 2015:
__ Go to a country I have never been to
__ Fall asleep on the beach
__ Snorkel/Scuba
__ Spend time with family
__ Cycle over 70km
__ Hug a dog
__ Make new friends
__ Go to a place I have never been to in Japan
__ Make a good beer and get praise from someone experienced in making the stuff
__ Laugh outloud
__ ....

10.. really. 11 items.

As summer draws to a close, I am proud to share some of the goals I actually did accomplish.

1)Family Time --
With my last day of work for the season ending late July, it signaled the beginning of my mini retirement lifestyle. Picking my dad up from the airport that night meant getting to spend time with family and finally having someone from out of town to show around town. It also checked one adventure off the list.

2) Cycling--
With summer pumping through my veins, I knew that staying at home even to "study" would accomplish less for me than if I just got my butt out the door.  My next cycling challenge took me and my one speed steel frame street bike from Yokohama to Chigasaki, Shonan and back. In addition to some attempted surfing, spending time with great friends, and accomplishing a nearly 70km round trip ride with some stops, i was feeling like a champ!


3, 4, 5) Getting intentionally lost --
With a free weekend right at of the end of July and the start of August, I was already feeling restless about what might happen if I didnt leave Yokohama. Since im not so good at planning, I just prayed, flipped open my laptop, googled and booked a place in Shimoda. I booked the right place at the right time.  Under $35 a night for a location where ryokans or inns usually cost $200 avg/night.  Staying in a hostel environment is convenient for meeting people as well.

In addition to having one of the greatest weekends so far this year, I got to experience a little bit of tropical style paradise in the warmest, most beautiful beaches in the country. Got some snorkeling checked off my list while making a few friends along the way.

6)Good friends, close friends, new friends--
While preparing and just being excited for my upcoming trip out of the country, I had a good two weeks at home in Yokohama.  Going to summer festivals, having water fights, hitting the pool and the beach almost every day, i made some new friends and had some great laughs.

Adventures in Indonesia:
The highlight of my summer was planning and accomplishing on of the greatest trips of my life. I couldn't have done it without my good friend Josh and some others we met along the way.

I knew I wanted to go somewhere, but the idea never crossed me till just before summer.  While looking at Alaskan cruises, Hawaiian Islands, and Greek getaway options, my friend mentioned something about going back home to Indonesia for a month. I asked "how much can 1000 yen buy me in Indonesia?" "3 days worth of food. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner."  I googled some images. Had the epiphany that maybe Bali is popular for a reason.. a place I never had thought of going before... Suddenly one question turned into two, then three... then a week later I had my tickets.

Thanks to google flights I was able to navigate some options and got round trip tickets for about $400 US. In 8 days I hit 5 city/towns. West Indonesia: Jakarta, Purwakarta. Bali: Kuta, Ubud, Denpasar, Lembongan (Island only accessible by ferry)

First Stop: Jakarta

I must admit, Jakarta has crazier traffic than LA. Visiting my friends hometown was great. Meeting his family, hugging the dog, checking out all the food. Street food, restaurant food, fast food, convenience stores... all of it.  I got the runs for about a day.. but after that it was all good.


Flying out to Bali, I immediately noticed the stark contrasts from Jakarta/Purwakarta.  Due to the area being mainly dominated by Islam, not many people wear shorts, tank tops n flip flops despite the humid heat. Prayer calls happen 5 times a day starting at 3:30 am.  The sounds of scooters at all hours are nonstop. I felt like I was truly in a different world.

Baller in Bali

However, coming to Bali is like taking a walk through Ocean Beach, San Diego. Everyone is wearing boardshorts, tanks, flipflps and shades.  Of course the traffic was just as crazy and the scooters were insane. If you can drive in Indonesia, you can drive ANYWHERE.

Most of the Indonesians I met in Bali felt more at home than they did in their home towns. Because the area is shared among Muslims, Hindus, Christians and other beliefs, there seems to be less dominance from any specific culture I noticed. The Balinese have their own culture and they are a laid back, friendly people.

Aside from enjoying my hotel by the beach, the best surf ive seen in years, and making more friends... one of the most memorable experiences was Lembongan. It's an island you can only get to by ferry. There aren't many cars so the only mode of transportation is by scooter.

I was a bit nervous with my limited experience, but I soon found myself wanting more and more. Maybe Ill buy a scooter in Japan.

The snorkeling here is the best I've ever had! Our boat guy dropped us off in the best spot. It was like diving right into an aquarium. Soon I realized that it was the fish who were coming to watch us.

The place was a dream. 3 hours for a boat and guide = $20, Scooter for 24hrs and full tank of gas = $7, Staying the night in a hut right on the beach = Priceless...  Actually no, $30, but seriously!

 I was pretty satisfied with my trip. But to top it off, one of most beautiful places I have ever experienced was on the ricefields of Ubud.  They say Bali is the cultural center of Indonesia. Well, Ubud is the cultural center of Bali.


With all of that I just shared, I hope it can be an inspiration to someone out there. Start with simple goals and accomplish them. In no time you will be craving bigger adventures and challenges to take on and overcome..

I am proud to say that I accomplished over 90% of my bucket list.  I learned to set some realistic expectations on myself. Testing my limits, I found that I was capable of much more than I knew. The challenges I wanted to accomplish, I simply wrote on paper. With that, I got to experience so many things I wanted to do.  Cycling, snorkeling, ..eating delicious food...  Everything from swimming with tropical fish in the Indian Ocean to riding scooters on the beach. Surfing Bali to swing dancing with that girl at cafe Havana. Blessed, I was blessed to experience much more than I planned. This summer has been one of the most adventurous seasons yet!

About the thing I didn't accomplish.  Yeah, I originally wanted to brew a beer to give to one of Yokohama's local brewers to try. Instead I got carried away with experimenting with a new Apple-Grape Wine.  I just bottled it today! It will be ready for consumption next week!

And the last item... it was a mystery. But its simple, I let go. When you leave all the stuff behind you are comfortable with, you remember how much more there is out there. I completely forgot about all the stuff I thought was weighing me down. The past is in the past, its time to start planning for your next adventure!

Adventures in Bali: Part 1 McDonalds

Monday, August 3, 2015

Jon Pritikin

A couple of months ago, Strong Man Jon Pritikin paid a visit to our church in Yokohama.

He often travels around the world speaking at schools and other events as an Anti-Bullying speaker. He shares his experiences in hopes of inspiring any person struggling with low self esteem or past failures to see themselves in a positive light. 世界中各地の学校を回っていじめに対して自分の経験をシェアしています。

When I filmed this, it actually wasn't the first time I heard his story.  I listened to his message and saw his performances a few times before about a year or so ago. In all honesty I wasn't planning on listening to something I already heard before. In my mind I felt that I already knew what was going to happen. I ended up staying because of some friends who had come to see him for the first time. 

However, even thought the message was familiar, something was different that night.  I don't quite know if it was the way he delivered his words or a different story he shared from before, but something quite unexpectedly hit me. だけど、あの夜の話には何かを感じました。もちろん、前回のメセージの内容と似ていたが、メセージの伝え方か、彼の言葉が僕の心に響いた。「何これ、彼話していることをもう知っているのに、なぜ僕が泣きそう..」という感じをしました。

One set of words that I remember from that night, "just because you may have failed at something, it doesn't make you a failure.." 「失敗を何回起こしても、あなたは失敗作わけではない、..」と言う言葉を覚えています。

About a few weeks before that message, I had actually been struggling with some feelings of depression and disillusionment. Because of some unfortunate recent events that lead to some tough decisions I had to make and dreams that I had to give up, I was feeling pretty low for the first time in years. At a time when I felt helpless and that whatever I tried ended in failure, i was feeling like throwing my arms up and giving in to anger, negativity and so many unhealthy feelings about myself.

Its quite relieving though. Even though I thought I knew what would be said and what would happen, somehow I felt that message was for me.  Yes, I had failed quite badly and wasn't doing much to make things better. But just like when God speaks. Sometimes its something we already know, but there are times we just need that push, that word of encouragement to speak life into a situation that feels like death. Because of a simple story and set of words, I realized that I didn't have to live like a failure just because I had failed before.  Having made mistakes in your past does not make you a failure. With God you always get a new start. でも、ジョン・プリティキンの言葉を聞いてよかった。彼が言ってたことは頭の中にもう知っていたのに僕の心は初めてそのメセージを聞いたようでした。もう失敗していたからちゃんと反省して改善対策のやる気はなかった。でも、神様の言葉みたいに彼の言ったことは自分のため用意出来たことを感じていた。「神様の言葉はもう知っている..」という考えは時々あるかもしれませんが、予想外のことで僕たちの心は神様に響かれる。簡単の言葉、シンプルのストリーで励まされた。失敗をしたことあるから失敗作として生きるわけには行かない。神様に頼るなら新しいチャンスはいつもくれる。

While sorting through all the pictures and videos on my phone through the last two years, I found this video of Jon Pritikin and it reminded me of how I was feeling in that season of my life. I hope that if anyone reading this is remembering some past failures in their own life... I just want to encourage you by saying that your failures do not define who you are. Just because you may have made some mistakes, it doesn't make you a mistake. 携帯で取った写真とビデオの整理をしていた時このビデオを見つけた。あのときのシーズンのを思い出した。もし、誰かがこのブログをよんで、自分の辛くて苦しんでいた時を思い出すかもしれない。あなたに言いたい、過去の間違い、失敗したこと、あまり良くない決断をしたことがあってもあなたは失敗作ではない。

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, July 26, 2015


I recently filled out a survey asking "what 3 things are you thankful for?"

My answers were :

2.Close Friends
3.Corrective Lenses (otherwise I would be blind as a bat)



#3 Yes in all seriousness I am thankful for corrective lenses. Without them, the world would be a very different place for many many people. 0_0


#2 My close friends, highschool, university and the ones who are currently where I live now are the relationships that have sustained me through every tough time, new season and stages of personal struggle and growth. For them I am forever thankful to God for his great blessing. I would have probably not lasted very long out in this country if it wasn't for them.


#1 However, last but not least to mention, is family.  As I get older I become more and more thankful for the family that I have. Even though they are far, I still look forward to seeing them when I can.  These relationships are the ones that can always pick up where they left off.  No matter how long you go without contact or what arguments and differences you may have, at the end of the day they love you and are there for you.


As summer is starting, I got to check one thing off my bucket list.. or at least partially.  I wanted to do something different this summer, so I made a bucket list, which I will share as I accomplish each goal. 今年の夏は前よりと違う過ごし方にすることにした。バケツリストを作った。だが、そのバケッツリストは目標を果たす次第、シェアします。もう、一つができました!

One thing that got checked off was getting to see family.  I was lucky enough to have my dad visit to help start of my summer.  It was fun finally getting someone to come visit me here and showing them a little bit of my life and what this place is like. We got to see everything from high tech car museums ...

家族と会うことができた。夏休が始まった同じ日、お父さんが日本に訪れてきました。やった!日本の人生が少しだけでも、誰かとシェア出来た。 色んな場所を案内した...トヨタの博物館から...

to countryside living retreats... 

Kawazu is a nice little town on the way to Shimoda.  Great place to find good scenery!

One highlight of the place we stayed at was the bath. You can reserve the whole thing to yourself rather than sharing and going buck naked in front of strangers. 

 Even though relationships with family can pick up where they left off, one thing I do realize as well is that time with family is irreplaceable.  Family should be invested in and always put first.

By family, I dont mean just blood relatives, but actually, there are some close friends I would consider family as well.  The kind of friends that walk into your house and open your fridge without permission. The kind of friends that refer to you as "uncle" when addressing you to their children.  These are the friends who want to be with you simply for your company. They are your brothers and sisters.

As much as I love my life here in Japan, mannn I really miss my friends and family in the states.  Missing all the important events in my friends lives is starting to catch up with me.  But, I need to be where God calls me. 日本の生活が大好きだがアメリカのファミリーと友人を恋し。皆の大切なライフイベントを逃してしまって苦しい。でも、神様の行って欲しい場所にいないといけない。

The time off I have this summer is a real blessing. Im on the way to doing something new, going on a personal retreat and coming back wiser and stronger. 夏季節が始まって、休みが取れる日が多くて祝福されます。この時間をよく使って新しいことを体験します。

I just wanna say thanks to my Dad for coming! I know what I need to do now.

Joshua 1:9 (NIV) ヨシュア記1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”


 One thought God has been letting rest on my mind is to just go.  Ive been complaining about having more time to do the things I want, but getting that free time every weekend only to waste it away with unproductive unfruitful things.  Yet, I am still blessed with this next short season. "No more excuses, just get up and go somewhere, do something,... anything. I don't wanna hear you complain at the end of summer that you didn't have time. So now, take a break from your normal life and do something crazy with your time that I have given. And don't fear anything, for I am with you."  Its adventure time!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Being Thankful

Colossians 3:17
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."


Its been over six months since my last post! To say alot has happened since then is an understatement. One thing that made me want to write again (apart from being too lazy to write in pen) is that I want to express how thankful I am.  First, to God for blessing with so much.  Through all my years in university and working up to now, ive been blessed with amazing connections that lasted beyond my expectations, all of which have turned into great friendships.

6か月以上ぶりです! その時から色々あったって言葉で説明できません。怠け者だからペンで書きたくないというより、このブロッグでまた書こう理由は皆に対して感謝の気持ちを送りたいです。まず、いろいろ祝福されたことで神様に感謝してます。大学のときから社会人として生活してる今まで、友達とのつながりが期待していたより時間が経っても強くなりました。友人がいっぱいいると言えるようになりました。

I am thankful for my friends who speak encouragement into my life when I need it the most. Joy is a word that barely describes how I feel after a long tiring day of work or volunteering when I can relax and just share a meal, chill out with someone and we simply can just enjoy each others presence.

Up to now, with all the blessings, there have also been some challenging times when I didn't know what I was doing or what to expect. Everything from knowing how I should feel about my job to questioning my vision and to making some tough decisions about relationships.  All I know at this moment is that I am blessed with alot of opportunities, and its up to me to prioritize, find my gifts and use them towards a vision way bigger than myself. For that situation I am thankful beyond words.

As I go on taking the next challenges, I hope I can find something good to share with everyone.

Thanks for reading!