Tuesday, January 31, 2012

5 More Things I Hate About Japan

This is a continuation of yesterday's blog that took an ironic look at various things I "don't" like about Japan (irony folks...just in case you don't realize it).

1. The sense of safety: I can leave my laptop on a coffee shop table while I go to the washroom and when I return I know it will still be there. That pisses me off! I can leave my bag on the train and there's a very good chance it will be placed in lost and found. That's just ridiculous! Where I come from there would possibly be a fight in the coffee shop because too many people would try to steal my computer at the same time. I mean, at Christmas, when my wife bought me a Tim Hortons coffee tumbler, she was warned by staff not to leave it on a table unattended because someone will steal it. I expect the same level of thievery here in Japan, but it just doesn't exist. So disappointing.

2. Convenient and efficient public transportation: This is something that really chaps my ass. I want to be left waiting I freezing weather while unreliable buses don't show up on time. I want to live in a place where, I don't have a car, I'm pretty much screwed for getting around the city. Give me that Japan!

3. Japanese ramen: I hate it so much because it is so delicious. Every mouthful is packed with so much flavor that I want to eat it everyday. If I did eat it everyday I would most certainly die of a massive heart attack within the next 6 months!

4. Japanese green tea: Hey there Mr. Green Tea....you're full of anti-oxidants, your tasty and warm me up on cold winter nights! Get over yourself you fancy schmancy drink!

5. Really fast Internet speeds: I want the "snail paced" speeds that Canadian "high speed" Internet offers. I mean...come on, you don't even throttle people's Internet like back home. If I want to download something it happens in the blink of an eye. That's just bullshit if you ask me!

There ya go folks. 5 more things about Japan that I "hate." I you liked this post and the previous post, come on over to a new blog "experiment" mine. I'll make one short daily post about something I "hate" in life (The I Hate Project). Eventually all the posts will be compiled into a silly eBook of sorts!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

10 Things I Hate About Japan

Before you get yourself all worked up in a lather thinking another "complainer foreigner" is getting down on Japan, I want to STOP you! This is a tongue and cheek post. I like Japan a lot and am just having a little fun as I lay in bed, sick as a dog. Why not write a short little blog post on my iPhone as I hack and wheeze my brains out?

So, here we go. 10 things about Japan that drive me nuts!

1. Mini Food: Food portions at restaurants are too damn small! How am I supposed to be a stereotypical "fat cat" foreigner if servings at restaurants are all under 1000 calories? Get it together folks. I want massive amounts of greasy food everywhere I go. I am a Canadian after all!

2. Speaking Japanese: What's with everyone speaking Japanese everywhere I go? Come on people. Get with the program! English is the international language of commerce. Why isn't everyone speaking it here in Japan? I mean do you really expect me to learn some
Japanese if I live here in Japan? You gotta be kidding me?

3. Heated toilet seats! That's just by as fun as the shock when you sit on a cold toilet seat in the middle of a freezing winter's night. Toughen up people and lets get back to the cold toilet seats that once dominated the fecal landscape!

4. Lack of bland food! I'm from the East Coast of Canada and if it ain't boiled potatoes and boiled steak then it's just crap. Japanese food is delicious an chalked full of so many flavors. It's not fair. I want my food hard to chew and lacking taste!

5. Beautiful women everywhere: For the love of God, what's with all the hot women everywhere here in Japan? Don't they know they keep distracting me and causing me to lose my train of thought in mid.....

6. Cosplay! I hate Cosplay. How dare you take a bunch if young women, make them dress up in revealing fantasy type costumes and have them prance around in public! It's just cruel of you Japan.

7. Earthquakes! Ok....no humor here. I really do hate them.

8. CC Lemon: A pop so delicious I want to drink it all the time. If I did drink it as much as I want to, all of my teeth would rot and fall out. I would only have Japan to blame. They created this beverage and would be responsible for Kevin's dentures at an early age.

9. Did I mention all of the beautiful women?

10. Interesting lifestyles: The final thing I hate about Japan is that it's given me an interesting and exciting life. I was really counting on a boring and mundane existence, but oh no...oh no Japan!

Nuff said...

You can follow me on Twitter @jlandkev

Check me on You Tube here and here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Beaten By My Wife's Common Sense

This weekend was supposed to involve two really great runs. I have been lazy throughout the week and simply haven't been getting out there early in the morning and putting the kilometres I should be under my feet. I could make many excuses, but laziness is the only true reason.

The plan was to go for a run this afternoon while my son was taking a nap. There's a little problem though. I woke up several times throughout the night coughing and hacking. by 5:00 am this morning I was pretty much completely awake and laying in bed coughing up a lung. I can't remember if it was the right or left one, but it felt like one of those rascally lungs was trying to crawl out of my mouth and scamper away under the bed.

My wife and I took my son to Kobe Women's University later on in the morning. I want him to start chasing women early, so I thought that would be the perfect location! Ok….maybe I lie. We actually took him to the university because they have an early child care program there and once a month they have an open house. They have a great mock classroom facility with tons of cool toys. the student teachers have a chance to interact with children and I had a chance to take a load of cute pictures!

Soon after that we were back home and I continued to cough up a lung. There is a chance I may have been coughing up two lungs.....but definitely not three!

My planned run was snuffed when my wife, using her common sense told me I probably shouldn't. "Kevin, last time you went running with a chest cold, you made it worse." I lowered my head and admitted that her common sense beat my need to run.

So, here I sit, making worksheets for my students for next week's classes and writing a blog post. The coughing is getting worse and I'm wearing a little sad face.


Here are some scenes from Sannomiya in downtown Kobe, Japan. I took these last night on my way home from work.
This is my favourite Starbucks location in downtown Kobe.

This is the Nescafe Cafe close to my favorite Starbucks.

A pile of sad looking teddies. Took this picture of a crane game close to Sannomiya Station.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Don't Step in the Shit

Don't step in the shit! Why not? Isn't the shit the stuff that's going to get you all the viewers on You Tube and al of the readers on your blog? Well, what I mean by "shit" is controversy. Controversy is something that gets people watching videos on your video blog or reading your blog posts. Being edgy and controversial is interesting if done well. It is exciting if thought through. Controversial views are often the key to success in the world of content creation. Being a hot young lady also works if you are on You Tube!

As a mid 30-something guy, my hot lady days are far behind me. Come to think of it, they never existed. So, what is a mid 30-something Canadian blogger with a receding hairline to do in order to get tens of thousands of people to read my posts and millions to watch his videos? I could take my shirt off! Wait a second...that might cause a violent physical reaction known as "vomiting." I could simply show more cleavage! Wait a second....my chest hair might impede the view.

What's a guy to do?

Ah....that's right. I can get edgy and controversial. BUUUUTTT...I don't want to. I don't want that sort of attention. Don't get me wrong. I love attention. If I didn't love attention I never would have become a drama freak in university or done improv theatre after university. I never would have played music in so many bands. If I didn't love attention I wouldn't have three You Tube channels and this blog. I wouldn't be such a Twitter whore (btw...you can follow me here)!

In the past I have made some edgy videos and they have done well. A lot of people watched them. On a former blog, I used to write some edgy posts and many people read them. The problem was and I'm sure still would be that I attracted negative attention. I was noticed by normal readers and viewers, but at the same time I was noticed by internet trolls.

More than fours years ago I was in the Canadian capital city of Ottawa and there were duel protests on Parliament Hill (Canadian houses of government). There were are very large number of pro-China supporters and some Free-Tibet people (with heavy police protection) a block away. This was just before the Beijing Olympics. I shot a video of each group and as I did, shared some of my thoughts on the issues at hand. That night I posted the video and went to sleep. The next morning I awoke to thousands of hits which I initially thought was very cool. Then I noticed that I had dozens of very insane/nationalistic/threatening comments on my page by Chinese netizens. Some of my loyal viewers tried to support me in the comment section and then they were attacked by large numbers of netizens. After a few days of FAR TOO MUCH ATTENTION, I decided it would be in the best interest of my You Tube channel to just pull the video down. I didn't post another video for a few weeks and by then, the storm had calmed.

A few years later, while here in Japan, I made a video defending English teachers in South Korea. I worked there for more than five years and it is pretty common knowledge that there are certain nationalistic segments of society there that like to use teachers as scapegoats. There has also been a history of tabloid journalists there doing the same. I made a very frank and abrasive video (I was pissed off at the time about the topic) defending teachers and "poo pooing" their detractors. I posted the video and it immediately began to get lots of hits. Soon after that though, I started to attract the trolls. I left that video up for more than a year though. I didn't care, but every once and awhile a very nasty and persistent troll would rear his ugly head.

Fast forward to now. In 2012, I am still an attention whore. I would love for my videos and blog posts to all be popular and viral. Heck, I'd love to even be able to make a living doing this hobby that I love so much! BUT….I now refuse to be controversial. Well, a little edgy is ok. Some bloggers and video bloggers obviously pander to their audiences and only say positive things. Some never speak their minds freely.

I intend to speak my mind, but I never go looking for a fight. What is the point? I am not a very angry person. At times I become a little disgruntled about things in life, but we all do. I don't want to get myself noticed because I am negative or angry. I'm just not that sort of person. I suppose I could pretend to be angry and that would probably get some hits. Many people have online personas and it works for them. In my case though, that just isn't the "angle" I am shooting for. In fact, I don't have an angle. I'm just Kevin sharing his non-angry thoughts with all of you folks out there.

Being controversial definitely works if you want to be noticed online. BEWARE though. With all that attention, some negatives are bound to be included!

Monday, January 23, 2012

How Blogging has Kept Me Sane!

Blogging isn’t for everyone. Video blogging is even more “not” for everyone.

When we blog we sit down in front of our computers and pour out our thoughts and feeling on various topics. When blogs first started to emerge in the late 1990’s they tended to be an almost diary style form of online writing. Even in 2012, many people who write bogs follow a similar style.

I began writing blogs in the late 1990’s. My first blog was a fan page for an indie musician based in Canada. I stopped maintaining the site and stopped doing the “blog thing” by 2000. Just a few years later, I was living and working in South Korea and I decided to jump back into my old hobby. It had become so much easier. I could simply write something in Blogger and hit “post.” In the 1990’s I would write all of my web page language in HTML using Notepad on my Windows machine as my main editing tool. I would upload all text and photos using a File Transfer Protocol app called Cute FTP. I thought it was a lot of fun at the time, but it was also a lot of work.

Jump ahead to 2006. I began to make video blogs on You Tube. I now had a blog and vlog presence on the Internet. It was a fun way to let off steam, complain about stuff that annoyed me in Korea, play around with technology and be a little creative.

Jump ahead to 2012 and I have three You Tube channels, two blogs and have tried my hand at podcasting. I would probably attempt to do more, but having a family and “non-online” life luckily keeps me from attempting to take on more.

I’ve been in Asia for almost ten years now. While I’ve been here I’ve made some amazing friends and then inevitably said goodbye to them. Once I became married and started a family I became even more cocooned I my little world far away from home. Sometimes I miss communication with other native English speakers and those who share a similar cultural understanding. Luckily, blogging and vlogging have given me an outlet. They have given me a way to reach out to like-minded folks around the world.

Through this amazing hobby I have been able to share my experiences in Korea, Japan and as a teacher with those around the world who are interested in those very things. Not only have I been able to meet amazing folks from all over the globe, but also I have been able to meet so many wonderful people in person right here in Japan.

Blogging has given me the chance to meet new people as well as share my thoughts, feelings and knowledge.

If you have the ability to read this blog then you have the ability to start your own. I highly recommend it. It’s been lifesaver for me!

Some of the great things you can see while living in Asia...worth blogging about!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Things I Shouldn't Have Done in Korea

I received an email today from a You Tube viewer who is soon heading to South Korea to be a teacher. They asked me some questions about getting prepared for their big move. Obviously there are so many things one can do to prepare in advance of such a life-changing endeavor.

The question I liked was along the lines of, “Looking back on your time in Korea, what would you have done differently?” That is a great question. It immediately got me thinking about some of the bad choices I made so many years ago when I first went abroad to teach.

Now, I have of course made some great choices over the years, but I had had my fair share of “bad calls.” Writing this post in 2012, I am a dedicated and hard working teacher. I love what I do and really feel that I’m good at it. I take what I do seriously and love helping others who hope to become teachers or current teachers who wish to become better ones.

In 2002 I wasn’t the teacher I am now. I wasn’t even the same person I am now.

Let’s just jump into a short list of some things I would have done differently during my first year in South Korea:

Taken my job more seriously! I know for a fact that I wasn’t a very hard worker and didn’t really care much about my teaching. I was having an “adventure” in Korea. I was drinking and having a yearlong party. I was the type of “teacher” who annoys the Hell out of me now. I was the sort of teacher that in my current position in 2012, I would probably fire!

I wouldn’t have partied so much. I was so excited to be so far away from everything I knew. I was having too much fun in bars, pubs and clubs with other like-minded “party animal” teachers. As I look back on those days, I lament all of the amazing things I could have or should have done while in Korea. I was too busy going out and drinking beer to travel extensively or really learn about my host country.

I would have avoided the “human train wrecks.” I associated with too many people who were out of control. I met too many teachers who simply went overboard and felt that there were no boundaries for them. I was hanging around with men and women who drank too much, got into fights and generally gave foreigners in Korea a bad name. I wish I hadn’t spent any time with people like that.

I wish I had traveled more. I lived in three different cities in Korea and explored them extensively, but really wish I had spent more time exploring the more rural areas of Korea and the culture they had to offer.

I wish I liked seafood back then. I like seafood now. I didn’t eat it in 2002. Now that I think about it, I missed so many amazing culinary experiences. Korea has amazing food and I should have eaten more of it.

I wish I spent more time becoming a better teacher. I wish I had taken the time to learn about being a better teacher. I taught some great kids during my first year in Korea and I wished I had done a better job educating them.

Now of course I had many wonderful experiences in Korea during that first year. I went on to spend five years in total there. In the end, I made more good decisions than bad ones.

If Korea or Japan is the place you want to go, there are countless ways to research them these days. Spend time on blogs and watching vlogs. Take your time though. It’s never a good idea to rush into anything and remember, try to do things the “right” way!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Japan...May I Leave?

Now that I have your attention, let's begin!

Daydreaming of non-Japan

It’s been almost ten years since I first stepped foot in Asia to live. I have lived in both Korea and Japan. I have learned a lot along the way. I have had many jobs at many schools. In the last ten years I traveled, had too much fun, received a teaching degree, got married, settled down and started a family.

Things are pretty good.

There is just one problem though. I just cannot seem to stop thinking about life elsewhere. I just can’t stop thinking about living in Canada. I suppose that is natural. I am a Canadian after all. My wife knows this and is very loving and supportive. Sadly, her love and support cannot fix the massive teacher surplus in Canada; a surplus that basically makes my teaching credentials and experience almost useless.

I cannot stop thinking about living in Canada. Living in a place where I understand the language and the television programs. Living in a place where children don’t stare at me and point. Living in a place where high school girls don’t giggle as I walk past. I daydream about a place that I really haven’t seen much of for the majority of my adult life to this point.

I never forget that I am very lucky to have what I have here. I have an amazing wife and a beautiful son. I have a good job and good coworkers. I live in a place that is never dull and always fascinating, but it isn’t the place I think about when I close my eyes at night.

Many of my readers and You Tube videos viewers would simply shake their heads at hearing this. “What do you mean Kevin? How could you want to leave Japan? I have always dreamed of living there!”

I understand where they are coming from. I once dreamed of living in an exciting foreign country. I made the move and it was amazing. I had adventures and loved being immersed in new cultures and experiences. In time though, after many years, that way of thinking changed. I began to long not for new far away places, but the place I originally come from. I started to long for my roots. Not everyone in my situation feels this way, but I do.

I won’t be going anywhere soon, but I will be going somewhere eventually. That’s the plan for my family and I.

Of course, even when we do settle somewhere else, Japan will be a place we will always be connected closely too. My wife is Japanese and my son is half Japanese. We always want him to be closely connected to his family and culture here. Yearly trips to Japan will probably be a reality.

For now though, I am here. I am here and will be positive about the blessings I have.

I can’t stop daydreaming about where I came from though.

A shot I took while waiting for the train the other night. There are many amazing things about Japan. One of them is the fact that almost every moment is an amazing photo opportunity!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cold Turkey from Vlogging!

It’s time to go cold turkey! That’s right. I have to quit. Well, maybe not quite, but at least go on hiatus for a while. Yup, I just can’t get things done if I keep going at the same pace as I am now.

If there is one thing that I am absolutely amazing at, it is spreading myself too thin. Jumping into too many projects all at once is something I’ve always been a little more than proficient at. Let’s see. What are the various projects I have on the go at the moment?

  • youtube.com/busankevin – my main video blog (or vlog) channel that I’ve run for more than 5 years. Videos about life in Asia/Canada/food/ranting/ramblings/travel destinations and more. At least one edited video (normally more) posted each week.
  • youtube.com/jlandkev –my unedited, usually uploaded directly from my iPhone vlog channel showing snippets of my every day life here in Japan. Normally I upload 2-3 videos a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
  • Youtube.com/runcauseitsfun – a new vlog channel all about running. More than a dozen videos about running uploaded since Christmas.
  • Running – I have run on average, about 40km a week this year and plan to ramp that up to 60-80km a week soon.
  • Blogging – I have this blog (not very active and sorry about that) as well as my “Running to Help Japan” blog.
  • Hair brained fundraising schemes to help children in need in northern Japan.
  • My BOOK! “Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal.” The first draft is a hair away from completion.
  • Wonderful wife and son.
  • Full time job as a teacher at an international school.
  • Nothing to add here…..just wanted 10 things…

As you can see, there is a reason I average four hours of sleep a night. Seriously, that is all I normally get and some things are starting to bother me (aside from my ever-present dark circles under my eyes).

I NEED to get my book completed. I am so close to being finished and so excited about that fact that I have to wrap it up ASAP! There is nothing ground breaking about my written work, but I know it will be an entertaining read and have a lot of useful and fun information for those out there interested in coming to either Japan or South Korea to teach.

Originally I intended to have it completed by October and ready to hit the Amazon Kindle store before Christmas. That didn’t happen. Why not? Well, I started to get obsessive about my video blogging once again. That’s the issue with me. My You Tube presence gets me so excited that I forget about all of the other important projects I have on the go. Those important projects get put on the back burner and don’t seem to move forward.

I’ve decided there’s only one thing I can do to make sure I get my first draft of “Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal” finished, proofread and sent off to some other editorial eyes in the next month or two. The only way is to go You Tube cold turkey! That’s right. No You Tube for the entire month of February. I have done this sort of thing in the past when I was feeling “You Tube” burnout, but this time it’s different. At the moment I am having a great deal of fun with You Tube and video blogging, but I am spending too much time focused on that and not enough time writing.

I have to post several planned videos in the next week or so, but come February 1st, I will not log into You Tube for a month. In that time I will set aside at least an hour or two each day to work on my book and maybe write some blog posts here. I will also remain active on Twitter. I won’t be going into a tech blackout, just a You Tube hiatus.

When I return in March, hopefully, I’ll have a book close to completion and an accompanying website to promote it! I’m looking forward to getting this big (for me) project wrapped up!

Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

BE PREPARED! : Advice for Classroom Newbies

I am both a teacher and a story teller. In September 2011, I began writing "Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal." This book is basically aimed at anyone out there who is interested in coming to Asia, more specifically South Korea or Japan to teach English. After many years of blogging and making videos about teaching on You Tube, I decided that the best way for me to share my knowledge and experience with everyone was in book format. Hopefully, within the next few months, the eBook version will be available in the Kindle Store.

Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal will be a combination of practical "how to" information as well as some interesting and entertaining tales from my years overseas (where I still am). If you have followed my BusanKevin You Tube channel for any time you may be familiar with my story telling videos. I have definitely lead and interesting life to this point and love to share my stories with pretty much anyone who will listen. This book will help you find a job, become a better teacher and hopefully, entertain you all at the same time.

Here is a brief snippet from a section about preparing when you have little or no teaching experience:

Lesson Preparation:

There is no such thing as being too prepared. Being prepared and even better, being over-prepared can be a very comforting thing in the first days of your teaching career.

A few years ago, while working as a head teacher at a private school I was responsible for observing new teachers. A recently hired teacher was going to be conducting a lesson on one of his first days in the classroom. He was to give me his lesson plan and I would quietly sit in the back of his classroom watching him teach and interact with his students. I was looking for many things while I observed. Was his lesson meeting curriculum needs? Was his lesson well planned and engaging for the students? Did he transition well between different activities? Did he manage the students well? How did the students respond to his teaching style and delivery? The list goes on.

What I saw was a nervous teacher speed through his lesson in half the time he had planned and then freeze. He quickly raced through his class material, not really stopping to see if the students were understanding and when he reached the end of his lesson, or should I say his lesson plan (there were still 30 minutes left in class), he literally stopped speaking. He nervously looked at the students and then me before rummaging through his teacher resource basket for a few moments. He then looked at me and said, “That’s all I have. I don’t know what to do.” His class was confused and looked at me. I told him he had 30 minutes to go and he had to do something for that time since it was his class. He panicked and I had to step in front of the class and off the cuff, create a writing exercise for them to do for the remaining time in that class period.

Although that teacher had clearly spent a lot of time planning his lesson, he wasn’t able to execute it the way he had hoped because he was simply too nervous. This is of course a very normal thing for someone who doesn’t have experience. The problem was that he didn’t have the experience necessary in order to have a “bag of tricks.” He wasn’t able to think of something off the cuff when his lesson didn’t go the way he had planned.

That teacher and many others out there in both Japan and Korea could save themselves from this uncomfortable if not terrifying experience if they just “over-plan” before their first few lessons. You might want to even do it for the first few weeks until you start to get more familiar with your new role as a teacher.

That teacher I observed should have created extra teaching material aside from his language lesson. Maybe he could have created or found a journal worksheet online. The students could have drawn a picture and written about whatever the class topic was. Maybe he could have had a few puzzles in his resource basket. He could have gone online and researched a few ESL or phonics games he could play with the children if his planned lesson came to an end faster than expected. All of these extra activities would have been a small “bag of tricks” for him in a time of need.

Another great thing about planning too much in the beginning of your teaching career is that those lessons or activities that you planned and did not use are by no means a waste of time. You can create and label some folders and store them away for later use. You might not use them today, but you may want to next week or next month. In time, as you become more experienced and capable as a teacher, you might even want to share those resources with newer staff members in your school. You may be new to your job, but near the end of your first contract, you will be the veteran teacher helping someone new who has started working for your school.

In time, and you will know when, you won’t need to prepare as much. As you become better at managing a class and creating effective lessons and lesson pacing, you won’t have to spend so much time preparing. Again, you will know when this happens. Some people very quickly become comfortable in a classroom environment while other teachers may take some more time.

I always felt more relaxed when I knew I had more than enough activities prepared for my class. You definitely will too.

Over the next few weeks I will share some more snippets of Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal. I will also keep you updated on the progress of the book (first draft is almost complete).

Here is a BusanKevin "classic" video. This was shot in 2009 and in it I'm telling a story about my first day teaching in South Korea in 2002. It also happened to be my first day teaching ever. It was a disaster to say the least!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Run Cause It's Fun

Running is something I am passionate about and that is why I created the You Tube channel named "Run CauseItsFun." I have 16 videos on my new channel and this was my first interview with a fellow runner! Hope you enjoy.

Canada and Back Again

It's been awhile folks. Actually, it's been a long while. More than one month has passed since I made my last post. Things have been busy. That is actually an understatement! things have been "gosh darn" busy (my apologies for the harsh language).

I went to Canada for the better part of December with my family. It was a fabulous time. My family in Canada had the chance to see my son for the first time and I have the opportunity to gain some weight. I worked very hard to put on about 3kg and I was happy with the results. the steady intake of Canadian craft beer, pizza and chocolate worked. 3kg heavier, I found myself back in Kobe at the end of the month and ready to rock in the new year! btw...HAPPY 2012 EVERYONE!!!!

Since coming back to Japan I have been focusing a lot on my running again. Last year was a great year for running. I ran a 60km (38 mile) home made ultra marathon and raised almost $4000USD for Save the Children and their work with the young survivors of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. I also ran both the Osaka and Kobe Marathons. Duing my Xmas break in canada I started a new You Tube channel (just what I need...another project to spread me thinner) all about running. You can check out Run Cause It's Fun and let me know what you think!

In non-running news, I almost completed the first draft of my upcoming self-published (Kindle Store) book, Teaching in Asia:Tales and the Real Deal. It is a mixture of practical advice and stories for those of you out there who are interested in coming to either South Korea or Japan to be a teacher. I'm hoping this project will be finished soon!

Be sure to check out my Running to Help Japan blog of course. I am starting 2012 with some more fundraising ideas for my charity project. I am tossing around the idea of running 8 marathons in 8 weeks to raise money for Save the Children Japan. You can read more about it on the Running to Help Japan blog!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE and thank you for reading!