Saturday, March 31, 2012

3 Ways To Make Yourself Feel Good

I have been living abroad for a long time now. In the past ten years, I have spent nine of them in Asia. As a Canadian who loves Canada a lot, that is a long time to be away from home. Why do I do it? Well, I am a teacher and I teach in Japan. I also have a family here.

When I was in my 20's and unmarried, I was quite a social butterfly. I would spend my nights and weekends hanging out with groups of other single expats living in Korea (lived there for a few years).

In 2012, I find myself in Japan with a family. I am also a runner. Running was something I truly started when I first came to Japan in 2008. After some time in Canada, getting my teaching certification, I let my self go physically. In Korea, I was a fun runner (short distances) and a gym rat. Once back in Canada, I became a student and pub aficionado. I gained a lot of weight.

When I came to Japan to teach in 2008, I told my wife I was going to run a marathon. It was on the "bucket list" so to speak. Months later, I achieved my goal. I ran the Osaka Yodogawa Marathon in 4 hours 44 minutes. It was slow, painful and amazing at the same time. I couldn't wait to do it again. I was hooked. I became a runner. Two years later, I ran the same race sub-4 hours. This year I hope to run it much faster than that!

Long story short....I was an expat runner in Japan.

If you have been living the life of an expat in any country that has a very different culture or language, for some time, you can become lonely. That definitely has been something I have had to deal with from time to time. You miss being able to understand all the conversations around you. You miss the culture, good and bad of your own country. You can become homesick.

I got into podcasts in a big way years ago. Canadian and American podcasts helped me feel a little grounded while living so far from home. They gave me the feeling of still being connected with my own culture in a way.

Once I became a runner I started to listen to some running podcasts. About a year ago I came across a running podcast that honestly, made me happy in so many ways.

I was listening to a show I had been subscribed to or a long time. Dirt Dawg's Running Diatribe is a great running podcast (a GREAT show) by a host named Mike living in Detroit, USA. He had mentioned a show called the "3 Non Joggers" a few times. Eventually I became curious and went home one morning after a run and subscribed to their show on iTunes.

I was immediately hooked. The 3 Non Joggers Podcast became not just my favorite running podcast, but my favorite podcast period.

Let me give you a rundown of why I LOVE the 3 Non Joggers podcast:

1. They talk about running and I am a runner.

2. They talk about running, but that is only about 30-50% of the show. The rest of the show is three hosts having INCREDIBLY funny banter!

3.  Russ extraordinaire. A former professional comedian, his delivery is witty, interesting and just damn awesome! He is also an ultra marathoner. He is awesomeness and a half!

4. Gary "the Vale" ... the "Rain Man" of running (referred to that by partners in crime on more than one occasion) is a dead-panned funny co-host sort of guy. He is a sub-3 hour marathoner and 100 mile ultra marathoner. This cat LOVES running and really knows his stuff about the topic.

5. Carl The Mailman ...the other host guy who is not a runner in any way. He is a mailman and funny as HELL! He has a wicked mouth and wicked wit as well! His intelligence shines and is only enhanced by his sharp sarcasm. Oh yeah...he's a creative documentary director as well. 

6. The three hosts have an amazing synergy (to use a cliched term from the tech word of the late 90's). Their off the cuff banter leaves me laughing....often in public where the Japanese people stare at me and judge me...judge me harshly.

7. This is a running podcast, but even people who don't run would probably like it. The back and forth between the hosts is enough to leave a smile on the crotchetiest (maybe not a real word) old fart's face!

8. This show got me through some pretty hard long runs while training for one ultra marathon and 2 regular marathons last year (All in order to raise money for tsunami relief here in Japan).

9. The episodes are so funny and fresh that I have been easily able to re-listen to them time and time again.

10. I have learned a lot about ultra running and have almost soiled myself in public on many occasions because the show is so funny!

ah yeah....

11. They like to drink! I like to drink. I am the kind of runner who loves an ice cold beer or three after a 30 km long run. They do too.....yum yum... (well..Carl don't run...or jog....but that's ok).

If you like running and have a sense of humor you should definitely subscribe to the 3 Non Joggers podcast on iTunes. At this point, they have 65 great episodes.

EVEN if you DON'T run...subscribe anyway. They have such a great rapport that you won't even care!

The 3 hosts of the show!

MOI, on my way to complete the first Osaka Marathon. I'm wearing a 3 Non Joggers technical shirt!

Find these cats on TWITTER here:
3 Non Joggers (Russ)

Shameless plug for can buy my new eBook "Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal" from Amazon...NOW....SO DO IT!!!!

Tips For New Teachers: Rules and Consequences

Tips for new teachers......

Rules and consequences

As a new teacher it is extremely important that you set very clear rules from day one with your students. You might want to ask the manager or owner of your school about this, but normally, one of the best ways to inform students about the rules is by posting them on the wall. Students will of course need to be constantly reminded of the rules orally, but a visual reminder often makes the rules more tangible.

Of course, what would rules be without consequences? You might not be able to make these up yourself because the school you work in may have certain policies already in place. On the opposite end of things, you may find yourself working at a school that is chaotic and prefers not to have rules for fear of “scaring off students.” The school I talked about in my “Disorganized School” story was one such school. The owner of that school in Korea didn’t want us to consequence students in any way, even if their behavior was bad because he was afraid the school would lose customers. Luckily not all schools are like that.

The consequences you choose to go with your new rules will of course have to be fair and not extreme. The most important thing for you as a new teacher to remember is that you must always maintain those consequences. Sometimes a teacher may say something like, “If you speak during quiet reading one more time then you will have an extra homework page.” The student then does speak again, the teacher tells them to be quiet, but forgets to give the homework page. Those students, as well as the others in the class, have just learned something very important about the teacher. They’ve learned that the teacher’s threats are hollow. From that moment on, the students will continue to probe and push, seeing how far they can get with their new teacher.

Many years ago, the first mentor teacher I had during a student teaching practicum in Canada told me, “Kevin, if you talk the talk you better walk the walk. If you tell students they will have to stay in at lunch as a punishment, be prepared to give up your own lunch to watch them.” Valuable words. If the kids in your class (this of course doesn’t apply to adult learners) know there will always be repercussions for breaking rules, most of them won’t break the rules or at least not as often.

This is a small excerpt from my eBook "Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal." For more teacher tips like this as well as stories and job hunting ideas, download the book for only $5.99.

You can also read an interview with me about self-publishing on the Our Man in Abiko blog! Check it out today.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Good Reviews of "Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal"

It has been more than 24 hours since my first book was published on the Amazon Kindle store. I am very happy that I was able to finally see this writing project come to fruition and so happy that people have been downloading the book.

I plan to work hard in the coming days, weeks and months to promote it and make sure it gets a wide audience. So far, many people having been saying kind things over Twitter and on Facebook. People have also been writing some AMAZING reviews on the Kindle Store itself.

Here are just some of the great tweets sent to me (@jlandkev) on Twitter:

There have been many other amazing tweets and I am saving everyone of them!

This morning I woke up to find an email from the well-known Korea-based blogger Steve miller, aka "qiranger" who already did a review of Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal for his blog and You Tube. Check out his review video!

I appreciate all the great feedback! Thanks everyone.

When new reviews or interviews about the book occur, I'll post all the information right here!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My First Book for Sale!

The day has finally come. After a lot of hard work, a labor of love is complete. After many years of receiving questions from hundreds of readers and You Tube viewers about teaching in South Korea and Japan, I have written a book about it!

If you are interested in coming to Japan or Korea to teach, this is the book for you. Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal is a great starting out point for your research!

Even if you do not plan to teach abroad, but have an interest in Asia, you may find my stories about life inside and outside the classroom entertaining.

Download it from the Amazon Kindle Store TODAY!

If you don't have a Kindle, you can read it on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android device! Download the free Kindle Reader here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The "Teaching in Asia" Home Stretch

Yes folks, we are on the home stretch. Just days away from the release of my first book, "Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal", I have to admit, I am having trouble sleeping at night. Why am I have this trouble? I suppose that is pretty simple. My mind is racing with thoughts of excitement, nervousness and some anxiety. I have put so much of my energy and free-time into this project and I of course hope it is a success.

I suppose the fact that, as a blogger, my first book will be published period, is a huge achievement itself. Now I know what I am capable of and what I need to do in order to improve. Now I am excited for the next writing project! Hey, if I can write one book, why not another after that? Ideas are already darting around in my brain and I have been jotting down notes.

As I have explained before, "Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal" is a "how to" guide for people interested in coming to Japan or Korea to teach. it is a great place to start your research. if you are not directly interested in coming abroad to Asia, I think you will sill find the stories entertaining. If you enjoy my writing style and are a regular reader of this blog, then it is basically my blog on steroids!

A question many people ask me is, "Kevin, can I read your eBook if I don't have a Kindle Reader?" Of course you can!

Amazon has a free Kindle reader app for iPhones, iPads, Android devices and of course, PC's and Macs. There is even the Kindle Cloud Reader! If you have a computer, you can read my book!

You can download the free Amazon Kindle readers here: Amazon Kindle Reader

I will be uploading the book to the Kindle Store early next week. If all goes well and there are no technical issues (I have never formatted a book and ePublished before), it will be good to go late next week!

I will make a series of You Tube videos on all my channels and announce it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and here of course!

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vacation in Japan

Hey there everyone! I have been on vacation for the past week and a half and luckily have more left. That is one of the perks of working where I work. I work my backside off, but I get more vacation than the average bear.

So what have I been up to lately?

1. Spending quality time with my wife and 20 month old son.

2. Running, Running, Running. I have found my passion again and am putting on a lot of kilometers.

3. Working on my Running VLOG You Tube channel called "RunCauseItsFun."

4. Wrapping up my eBook, "Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal." (Hopefully out late next week)

5. Not drinking beer. Decided to give up the suds for a few months to lose weight and become a faster runner!

6. Enjoying the dawn of spring in the Kansai area.

7. Beginning to think about the new school year that starts in two weeks.

8. Daydreaming about running goals for 2012 and beyond!

Here are a few pictures from the past week!

 My Steak and Guinness pie creation Saturday night. Every year for St. Patrick's Day I make this. 

A school bus toy i bought for my son the other day. The little guy is obsessed with vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

In HAT Kobe. This is an area I love to run in. If you look at this picture it is pretty obvious why. I took this while on a run a few days ago.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal (My FIRST book)

A month has passed since my last post and a lot has happened in that time. Most of what I have been doing is work related. Teaching and all of the other administrative things that go along with my job have been keeping my days and evenings full.

The school year has ended for me and I am beginning to enjoy a three-week vacation. I plan to stay in Kobe and finish up my biggest personal project to date.

Now, I haven’t been writing posts for this blog, but I have indeed been writing, rewriting, editing and revising.

Last summer, while out for a walk during a break at work, I was reading a blog I follow. I read that the blogger has just published an eBook about travel. My interest was caught. I went back to work and for the remainder of my break read about self-publishing. Seemed pretty straightforward as long as I had something to publish.

I decided I would write a short eBook about teaching in Asia. I have experience teaching in both South Korea and Japan. I worked as an ESL teacher for several years and then returned to Canada to get my teaching certification. After gaining some experience in Canadian classrooms, I then came to Japan where I have worked as a homeroom teacher at an international school since.

Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal is a “how to” guide of sorts. It is mostly for those interested in moving to Asia to teach. It will definitely be a helpful source of information for university students hoping to make the move abroad or professional teachers thinking of moving to Japan or Korea.

The “how to” aspect of the book is only part of it. The rest is filled with stories from the classroom as well as many stories about adventures and inspirational moments I have had outside the classroom. If you are a teacher or thinking of becoming one, Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal will be for you. If you simply have an interest in education or life in Asia, you’ll enjoy it too!

Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal will be available on the Amazon Kindle store soon.
For more information about the book, check out the new companion blog, TeachAsia. Loads of informational about the book and the topic are there.

Listen to my Teaching in Asia update podcast on Sound Cloud:

Here is the working cover for the book! Looks great, but there may be some changes in the next few weeks.