Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Saying Hello Part 2

I watch a lot of videos on youtube and one video I watch a few months ago was talking about engaging with people around you. I know a lot of us walk around in a complete daze, eyes forever fixed on our smartphones and we don't really look at what is going on around us. We could miss history being made or your soul mate could walk past and you wouldn't even know it.

What I like about one particular video that I saw was that the guy on the video said that he would go into the local convenience store everyday and because of that he struck up quite a good friendship with the guy behind the counter, James I think the guy behind the counter was called.

They would talk to each other and basically shoot the s**t.

This morning I was at a convenience store in which I have been going to a couple of times a week for the last couple of months. I usually go at the same time and I have seen another foreign guy there engaging with the woman behind the counter. It is quite impressive and it is quite nice to see. Sometimes with service people and in Japan in particular the service can be quite robotic, so it is nice to see two people engaging with no scripts and the are just literally passing the time of day.

I find this difficult to do, even to look people in the eye sometimes. I know that when I go to the convenience store that is the least that I should do.

For shy people I think that it starts with eye contact and then you say a greeting and then you mention something. You observe something about them and then the conversation starts.

For me practicing eye contact, I will walk along the street and if I see someone that I find attractive I will look at them in the eye, smile and see who is the first one to break eye contact. If she does, it always gives me a little boost in confidence.

I think with practicing greetings it might be just saying hello or even saying thank you. Don't do as I do and grunt thank you so that the only person who can hear it is myself. Say it loud and proud.

With the observation, that takes a bit more guts but I assure you it works and it can get you in conversation with most people.

"That's a nice watch. Where did you get it?"

"That's an interesting coloured bag. What colour would you call that?"

These are just a couple of examples that you could use.

So rather than doing what this guy is doing:

You can do what this guy is doing and look at people in the eye. Maybe he should have smiled but he is looking at you which is the main thing.

Next he will say something and before you know it, you are in a conversation that is a million times better than looking at a screen and trying to type fast enough.

Get out there and say hello. Give them something that is extremely precious, give them your time.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The new digs

For the last year and a half I have lived in a small 20 square metre apartment in the middle of Tokyo. Just down the road from Tokyo Tower with a view of some big Tokyo buildings. It was ideal because it was cheap to move into. (Moving into a new place in Japan can be helluva expensive) It was quite convenient in terms of transport with four or five stations within walking distance and my favourite sports bar just five minutes walk down the road. What more could you ask for right?

Well I wanted something a little bit more spacious. Something where I could come home at night and watch TV in a lounge. Somewhere where I could cook my food in a reasonable sized kitchen and not worry about smoking out my bedroom so that I would be coughing myself to sleep. I wanted somewhere where I could have a separate toilet. Where I could have a big bathroom and even a dressing room with a big mirror with plenty of storage space.

Well, I found it and it is pretty cool. It is in a great location for me. The train stations are pretty close and the place where I do a lot of my work is now a 5 minute walk away as opposed to a 20 minute uphill walk. It's fantastic. I've been using my work space a lot more and because of that I have been able to keep this blogging exercise going.

I have always wanted to live in a big apartment in the middle of the city. A few years ago I had that opportunity and it was great. It was an older apartment. At that time it was about 35 years old. The carpet was quite old but it reminded me a lot of my grandparents' old house. I think the white carpet and the underfloor heating were the reason I remembered that. However I couldn't live there forever and due to a reason that had nothing to do with me at all I was asked to leave. In fact the landlord couple told me that they had an argument about it over me. One wanted me to stay and the other wanted me to leave. Anyway, the apartment I'm living in now is twice the size of that one and it something that I have longed for.

Of course I do have other goals in mind and maybe buy my own place in the near future but there is a lot of work to be done before that happens and this blog post is just a small step.

The whole point of this is if you want something bad enough you will find a way to get it. It may not be the conventional way but it will in the end get you the result that want. You may have to move things around and maybe cut a couple of things here and there but in the end as I said if you want it bad enough, you will find a way. This goes for anything, whether it be finding an apartment, getting a new job, starting your own business, accomplishing a goal in sport. Whatever it is, you will find a way.

Now, I have some work to do to accomplish my next goal. I hope you are all working hard trying to accomplish yours.

I've put a couple of photos below of my new place. It's so cool. My bathroom is almost the same size as my old apartment. I wish I had some photos of the old place so you can compare.

Monday, 29 August 2016


Listen up guys, this is going to be short and sweet. If you make a mistake and it is ok to make mistakes because you are a human being. What is not ok is to keep on making the same mistakes over and over and over again as I did. It is not cool as it slowly wears away at you until it totally erodes your confidence and everything about you.

If you make a mistake, try to quickly find the lesson from it and try to make sure that it never happens again.

Don't dwell too much on it. This can be almost as bad as making the mistake itself. Sure think about what you did. Try to come up with ideas about what you are going to do if you are in that situation again and if you find yourself in that situation recognise what it is and do something differently. 

If you are feeling down about making that mistake don't hide yourself away. This will just make you feel even worse. 

Get out of bed. Get out of bed with a purpose, with a mission, go and do what you have to do that day. Go to the gym as the young man in the picture below did.

Look! He is sticking his tongue out at his mistake and saying, this is not going to beat me. And it won't. The only way your mistakes are going to beat you are if you let them. 

Since you are reading this blog I know that you are not going to keep on making the same mistake like I did. You are going to learn from me so you don't have to.

Finally for people who have been the target of mistakes remember that when you truly care for someone their mistakes never change your feelings because it's your mind that gets mad but your heart still cares. 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

My bucket list

Some people have bucket lists. Things that they want to do before they die. It might be a list of places they want to travel to. Things they may want to do before they die. Skydive, bungy jump, ski down Mount Everest. (I don't think you can do the last one but I'm sure that it is on someone's list.)

You have probably guessed if you are a regular reader that I like my sports and a few years ago I made a bucket list of sporting events that I would like to witness. I would like to share that list with you today. You might have your own sporting bucket list and I would love to hear what you would have in your list.

I have divided my list up into sports. So lets have a look.


Rangers v Celtic - This is one of the most emotionally charged derbies in world football and it would be absolutely awesome to experience the atmosphere.

Look at this video from an Old Firm derby match at Ibrox, the home ground of Rangers. This is in the minutes before the kickoff.

FA Cup Final at Wembley - I remember watching my first FA Cup final when I was 7. Tottenham drew with Manchester City from memory. It went to a replay later in the week. I think that because of the popularity of European competitions, the FA Cup has lost a little of its lustre but I would still love to go to the final. (Hmm, I wonder who I know in London. I wonder if I can stay with them.)

World Cup Football - I don't care what game it is I think that it would be so cool to go to a World Cup football match. I would have loved to have been in Rustenburg when Winston Reid equalised in the 93rd minute to grab a draw for the All Whites (New Zealand) against Slovakia at the 2010 Fifa World Cup.


As a New Zealander I am obligated to put this one in. This is going to include a few All Black games right. In fact it is probably only going to be All Black games.

All Blacks v Wales at Cardiff - New Zealand and Wales are basically the only two countries where rugby is the main sport and ever since 1905 when Wales beat New Zealand with a disputed try they have had an ongoing rivalry. I think that the atmosphere at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff would be awesome.

All Blacks v South Africa in Johannesburg - My father went to this game in 2012. It was played in Soweto which was very symbolic at the time. I think that it would be good to go to Ellis Park which is the spiritual home of Springbok rugby. I'm sure being a Kiwi in that lot would be a very interesting experience.

All Blacks v Australia in Sydney - It's Australia. Do I really need to explain more?

All Blacks v England at Twickenham - This is one of the biggest rugby stadiums in the world and everyone seems to want to beat the 'Poms.' Maybe it is because of the colonial past or the fact that it is really annoying when they win. I don't know. It is just good to beat England.


I'm not a petrolhead by any means but there are a couple of events that take my fancy.

Monte Carlo Grand Prix - This to me is what Formula One seems. Glamour, exotic locations, money. I would be amazing to experience it and then go and lose some of that money at the casino. That would be a pretty cool day. I might even see James Bond there.

Daytona 500 - A few years ago I got interested in NASCAR. I don't know why, it is quite boring because they just go round and round in a circle unlike the Formula One where at least they have some curves and hairpins. I think what attracts me to it is that it is a real southern sport in the US. I think the culture in that part of the world would be fascinating.


Tour de France in the Pyrenees  - I'm informed that this is the largest annual sporting event in the world and I think that it would be fascinating to follow it around for a week or so. You would get to see some amazing French countryside and I'm sure the hospitality would be great. French people have told me that it is like a different universe between Paris and the French countryside.


Lords test match - This is the home of cricket and any game between England and another team would be awesome. Obviously it would be good if it was New Zealand but I'm not going to be fussy.

Cricket in the West Indies - From what I have seen on the television cricket in the Caribbean looks very cool. The drums, the dancing. The pools on the side of the ground. It looks like it would be the antithesis of a Lords test match. What do you think?

Chennai Superkings game in Chennai - This is a IPL (Indian Premier League) team. Actually anywhere in India would be great but since I am a Chennai fan then I go to go to Chennai.

New Zealand v Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) - Another New Zealand Australia rivalry. I have been to the Melbourne Cricket Ground before but for me the SCG seems to have that little bit more history and it is smaller than the MCG so think would have a better atmosphere.


Masters at Augusta - I think for most golf people this is the most exciting tournament of the year. I think that I first took notice of it in 1996 when Nick Faldo overturned a 5 shot deficit to beat Greg Norman by 6 shots. It seems to always provide drama every year. Also another reason is similar to the Daytona 500 in that you get to experience the southern culture. That would be interesting.

The Open at St. Andrews - This like Lords is the home of golf. The tradition is something that would draw me to this tournament. You would have to take a jacket or two and I don't mean a green jacket. It can get very, very cold.


Because it is the Olympics.


Wimbledon - I don't know this for certain but I think this is the number one tournament of the year. I think it's because of the tradition and the rules. I like the fact that they can only wear white. Although I think the best thing that I want to do is have strawberries and cream. Yummy!


New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - This seems to be a real fierce baseball rivalry. I loved to go to Boston and watch a game. I'm sure that the insults would fly at the New York players.

World Boxing Title Fight in Las Vegas - It would be good if it was a heavyweight fight but it doesn't matter. Maybe Joseph Parker in a few years.

New York City Marathon - I've always wanted to run a marathon and this one seems to be the best but the thing is I don't like running so maybe I will never do it. We shall see.

State of Origin Rugby League match - This is arguably the best rugby league in the world. The passion and energy they show is amazing.

PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace  - It looks so much fun on television. Whoever thought that darts would be a great spectator sport? They have turned it into one though.

There we have it. What is on your bucket list? Do you have a plan about how you are going to do it? That's what we have to work out next, right?

Saturday, 27 August 2016

What can Usain Bolt teach us?

After Muhammad Ali passed away I wrote this post where I suggested that if it wasn't for his out of the ring antics and his undoubted ability to talk then he would have only have been remembered as a good boxer as opposed to the 'Greatest' that everyone knows him as.

I came across this article talking about Usain Bolt. We all know him as the 3 time 100, 200 and 4 by 100 metre relay Olympic gold medalist. Just in case mathematics isn't your strong suit, that's 9 Olympic gold medals. Not bad. But this article says that there is a lot more to Usain Bolt than just his running. He is charismatic and he is interesting. The public don't seem to mind his philandering. I suppose in the end it makes him seem like us or we live vicariously through him.

There are a couple of videos of Usain Bolt that I really like. I think that they are both from the London 2012 Olympics.

The first one is when is interviewed by a Spanish television station and he stops the interview to stand in silence for the American national anthem.

I can hear the more cynical of you out there saying he only did that because he was been interviewed. OK, fair enough that might be true but the fact is he did it and I'm sure that he won a few admirers because of it.

The second video I like is when he gives the volunteer a fist bump. I think it made the volunteer's year not just day.

Both of these videos show that Usain Bolt is much more than a fast runner and we love him for it. When we see him do these things and then the next minute we see him at a nightclub with a harem we think that's cool. It is part of his persona and that is fine. At least he doesn't hide it.

Someone like Tiger Woods tried to hide it and show us that he was a good old family man. I'm sure if Tiger Woods had been honest right from the get go then he would still be winning majors now. He would have blown past the record 20 major wins of Jack Nicklaus.

My point is that Usain Bolt like Muhammad Ali is much more than just their respective sports. They had a bit of personality and we love them for that.

The one person that I have to disagree with in the article is Novak Djokovic. The author says that he struggles to get people to pick up a tennis racquet. I don't know about that. He comes across as being quite funny with a lot of personality. Look at the video below and tell what you think.

I think that he comes across very well. He speaks a number of languages and I'm sure that his number of fans grows with every win.

The author of the article says that there are exceptions to the rule and one I can think of is Richie McCaw the former All Black captain. I wouldn't say that he is the most charismatic person out there but he is so good that we don't care. I think every mother in New Zealand would love him as a son-in-law because he comes across as very polite and humble. (That word, humble, seems to be a bit of a buzz word in the New Zealand rugby scene.)

The point is today, is that you may have to do something a little bit different to get the attention of some people. I know that stepping out of your comfort zone scares the you know what out of you but those kind of things do get noticed and it does allow you to come out of the shadows and maybe help you build your confidence so you can achieve everything that you want in your life.

What's your point of difference going to be?

Friday, 26 August 2016

To work at home or not to work at home, that is a very good question

I read a very interesting article this morning. Please click here to read the article about working from home or more precisely, not working from home.

I would like to look at this article and look at it from an introvert's perspective.

First of all it might suit an introvert to work from home. As we all should know by now introverts are energised by being alone or with a small group of selected people while extroverts are energised by being around people and socialising and the author of this article does talk about socialising on a couple of occasions. By definition because you are in an office with a big number of people then it must be an extroverted environment and the author says this a couple of times in the article.

Lets go through the points that the author makes in this article and relate it to the introvert.

First of all he says that if you are working from home then you are out of sight and out of mind. This maybe true but surely if you are doing the work and doing it to a high standard then it shouldn't matter where you park yourself during the day.

Although when I think about this point I think about the following scene from the hit comedy show of the 1990s and 2000s, Friends.

In this scene, Rachel (my favourite character. Fans of the show will know why) discovers because she doesn't smoke she is missing out on important work matters. The one that comes to mind is that her boss decides to ask one of Rachel's colleagues to go on a trip to Paris with her. Rachel is shall we say, not amused.

Could this happen in real life? Quite possibly. You create a good relationship with your boss through a shared habit and then the boss may look at you to do the job and get the credit. So, yes out of sight, out of mind could be a problem. I know that a lot of people here in Japan go out with the boss after work, not because they like drinking or that they particularly like their boss but they know that if they want to climb the corporate ladder then they need to socialise with the boss and other colleagues.

The author says this "Working from home is socially isolating. Tightly knit groups of people are impossible in a work from home environment."

This is interesting isn't it? Obviously this guy is an extrovert and it is all about the social things that working at a centralised place brings. I just don't think he understands that half the population doesn't work well in groups. They are much better and productive when they are let go by themselves.

This brings us to productivity. He says when you are working remotely it takes away from the fact that you can get up and ask someone in the same room a question or you can run your ideas to the group quicker than by mail.

This is all very well and good but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, half the population do not do well in this kind of environment. For some people the constant distraction of people coming up to them makes them lose their focus and concentration and their work output goes down. The extroverted person loves this kind of social interaction and as a result their output goes up.

I don't think this author understands the other half i.e. introverts because he energises by being in the group setting then he thinks that everyone must energise this way. For the introvert it must be a real pain in the you know where.

The next section he talks about is communication and finally he and I agree on something. Email and other communication tools are no substitute for the traditional face to face. Even the face to face is better than the phone and phone is way better than mail. How many times have to tried to organise something over email? Does it frustrate the hell out of you as it does me? You are trying to organise a time and you have to go back and forth for what seems to be hours until you get a consensus. All of this could have taken three minutes with a phone call.

There are many distractions at home which would affect the workers concentration on his or her work. So I can appreciate this as being a problem for working from home. Children crying, dogs barking, the lure of the television and the fully stocked fridge also the fact that you are working by yourself may mean that you want to look at various websites that you shouldn't really do and you wouldn't be able to in an office situation. So chalk one up to working at an office.

The final part of his article is about trust and let me write out what he says:

"Being social, we have a tendency to trust those whose faces we see every day. Working from home is a sterilizer for many human behaviors and feelings - of which trust and appreciation are the worst recipients. The last 20 or so years of communication technology evolution can not undo millions of years of our own evolution. In the end most of us are social creatures."

I'm sorry sir this goes back to my previous point. Do you want your workers to do a good job or do you want them to attend a party? Yes, I agree we are social creatures but I don't know how many times I can say this but some people work better by themselves. You can't make someone become instantly a social animal. You can help them become comfortable in that environment but they are always going to be better working by themselves.

So, is working from home better? Well I'm going to give a very definite case by case. I know for me personally I don't like working from home that is why I go to the library to work. Just the idea of getting out of my room and going somewhere motivates me to do some work because of the aforementioned distractions.

Working from home does have its benefits both for the individual and the company and it shouldn't be discounted. I wonder how many traditional companies here in Japan will go that way. The trains in the morning will certainly become less crowded.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Do your best or should you?

WARNING: There is some foul language below. Continue at your own discretion.

Have you ever seen the movie The Rock? It makes me feel old just thinking about it as it came out 20 years ago. OMG! Was it that long ago?

My favourite scene from this movie is this scene below:

For those of you who didn't click on the link (you should, it is only 22 seconds) here is the script:

Sean Connery: Are you sure you are ready for this?
Nicholas Cage: I'll do my best
Sean Connery: Your 'behsht!' Losers always whine about their 'behsht.' Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.
Nicholas Cage: Carla was the prom queen.
Sean Connery: Really?
Nicholas Cage: Yeah.

Classic movie scene that. I love the way Sean Connery says the word "best."

What can we learn from this scene?

Well, plenty as a matter of fact even though it is only 22 seconds long.

First of all Sean Connery tried to assert his power on the situation. He didn't have much confidence in Nicholas Cage's character to do the job and Cage responded with the time honoured 'best' line which in my mind is perfectly acceptable. Isn't that all we were asked? To give our best and if we finished knowing that we have done our best then we should be happy.

Well, not according to Connery, maybe that's why I didn't fuck the prom queen in high school, although in New Zealand we didn't have proms we had school balls.

So, is it good enough to do your best? Well, yes and no. Everyone's best is different. Today at Crossfit I was able to complete five rounds of 15 dumbbell exercises and a 600 metre run. I thought that I did my best and I couldn't run any faster. It was more than 30 degrees and the last run was torture for the first 200 metres but I managed to complete the workout and feel good about it.

However, I think what Connery is saying is that unless you really knock it out of the park then you are not going to get the rewards that come along with it. Unless you really kick ass you are not going to get the material things you dream of.

I'm not an expert in American culture but from what I know from watching American movies the prom queen is the most popular girl school, probably the most beautiful and any guy would be lucky to fuck her as Sean Connery so eloquently puts it.

I don't want to sound like a sexist pig but to get the prom queen is just a symbol for getting what you want but you have to really put in the hard yards. You have to have the early mornings and the late nights. You have to sacrifice those Friday and Saturday nights to work on getting what you want and if you achieve it then you will get the chance to fuck the prom queen.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Getting your message across as an introvert

If you are anything like me then you tend to think too much about what you are going to do. So much so that you might not even start at all. This blog post is a great example. I've been thinking all day about what I am going to write that it is almost 6pm as I write this and I'm still none the wiser about what I'm going to scribe about.

It is very easy to think that until you get that perfect idea you won't do anything but the best ideas are when you start something and then the ideas flow. I know that in the last 144 days the best blog posts are the ones that I have just written something and then I got on a roll and before I knew it I had 500 words and counting.

I'm an unusual being in that I might think and think and think about things but on other things I just do it and decide to face whatever consequences there will be after. I think my problem is that I choose the wrong things to think and think and think about while the ones that I jump into I should have really taken a step back and thought about it for awhile.

We are all on this journey together and I think one of the things about making the leap from an introverted person to a more extroverted one is just getting started and not waiting for the right moment.

In my experience people who have ideas get excited about them and they want to do something to make their ideas come true. So they start something. They become passionate about it. Us introverts tend to be a little low key, so much so that no one would listen to us.

I heard that Al Gore was trying to show his evidence of global warming to members of the Congress in the United States. Al Gore is an introvert and the extroverted Congress members were not exactly excited about a couple of photos of a crack in the ice so he had to make a movie. Then they would listen.

So if you want your ideas heard you are going to have to shout it from the rooftops. People are not going to take any notice of you otherwise.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Read, but read with care.

There is so much information out there about all sorts of things and even now with me writing this I am putting more "information" out there for millions (dozens) of people to look at.

So how do you sort out the wheat from the chaff? The simple answer is I don't know. I think it is just trial and error. You have to trust your own judgement.

Because there is so much information out there for free you can afford to cherry pick information and use your own intelligence to work out if it is any good for you and your situation.

You might try something and if it doesn't work then what have you lost? A little bit of time? A little bit of money? Obviously to lose time or money is not good but if you haven't tried then you wouldn't have known and you would have died wondering.

Remember to look at the information objectively don't do as I have done in the past and think that the information that I am reading is not telling me what I want to read so I disregard it to my peril.

Read with care, read with intelligence, read with some kind of goal in mind and you might find the information that you are looking for that, who knows, it might change your life.

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Anatomy of a Blind Date

I was reading this article today. I found it very interesting as the author was telling us about her blind dating experience. The writer of the article went through 13 blind dates with various experiences and she came up with 10 lessons she got from the dates.

I thought that I would give my take on what her lessons were. I have had a bit of experience with this through things like Tinder or so I feel qualified to comment on it and to tell you what might or might not be going on. Of course I am doing this from a male perspective and it might be different from a female perspective. Although sometimes I just don't know.

The ten lessons:

1. Test your assumptions

Yep, you don't know what is going on in the other person's mind. Sometimes you can tell and other times you are going to get it terribly wrong. What you have to realise it that because such and such happened last time doesn't mean that the same thing will happen with this guy or woman. You have to to go with your gut. I must admit with blind dates, 50% to 60% of the time nothing is going to happen and you both know it.

2. Rejection isn't personal 

I just want to clarify this one, this is after the first blind date. This has nothing to do with if you have been seeing someone for awhile and they reject you after a few months. That is a different kettle of fish. This might be you like him or her but there is nothing from them and they might reject your second date proposal. I've never had a problem with that because how much of a connection can you get after only one date? Although in saying that I had a Tinder date earlier this year. Eveything seemed good. We had a fun date. We got a little bit drunk. She even asked when she could see me again. I told her the date. She agreed and then postponed to the following day and then proceeded to disappear off the face of the earth. Was it something I did or said? I very much doubt it.

3. Remember what you want

I know exactly what I want and when I meet her I know pretty much straight away and this might be a flaw in my character because I may push too much and of course this would make a woman lose attraction for you you pretty quickly and vice-versa.

Isn't human nature fascinating? To show another human being that you like them you can't show that you like them. It is completely annoying sometimes but I didn't make the rules I just have to follow them and to this stage not very successfully.

4. You will be surprised by who is attracted to you

I was in the Kansai area earlier this year and I thought that I would see what Tinder was like. I met one woman who to put it mildly could have any guy that she wanted but for whatever reason she took a fancy to me. I must have be entertaining and I think that night I was pretty straight up and didn't mess around. She seemed to like it but because of distance we haven't been able to meet up since. My point is she was quite young. She seemed to be quite social active and she was attracted to a slightly overweight grey haired single guy from New Zealand.

Coach Corey Wayne says that attraction is not a choice and maybe that night it wasn't.

5. First impressions can shift as quickly as they are created

Yep. I have had many times the experience where my first impression of her was not great but by the end of the date I have had a great time and I'm looking for a second date. I have even had the experience where my first impression was not good. It turned out to be what I thought was an awesome date and then she rejected me.

They say that first impressions are everything. I'm sorry, that is bullshit.

6. Appreciate friendship

This is an interesting one and the writer is saying in the article that we are so trying to find love that even if we are not romantically interested in them we can still be friends them which is fine. I would agree with that because the more contacts you have in your life will surely help you in the future. The thing I learned is that if one is romantically interested in the other but the other is not then there is no point in a friendship because if I am romantically interested and she isn't and she says to be friends then my argument is "every time we meet, which will be never, I will want to rip your clothes off. Can you see how painful that would be for me?"

7. Recognise your safety nets

I know what I like to talk about but very rarely do women, especially here in Japan know let alone like cricket so I will have to talk about different topics. I remember in the past we would talk about our blind date experiences but I learned quite quickly not to do that. What's the point? I think that it is not what you say it is how you say it. You might be talking about marine biology and the woman opposite you doesn't have any interest in science at all but if you talk about it with passion and enthusiasm you will probably get some kind of interest.

8. Finding someone you connect with is rare

This is very true. Unfortunately with blind dates some people expect to meet Prince Charming or Cinderella after meeting one or two people. It doesn't work like that. You might have to send out 10 CV's (resumes) before you even get a sniff of an interview. The same is with blind dating. It's a numbers game. Some people hate to hear that but it is true.

9. Focus on actions not words

I'll take you back to my earlier date I mentioned. Her words were "when can I see you again?" Her action was to delete me from the messaging service we were using to communicate.

10. The only survey that counts is your own

I better explain this one, in the article she gave the men a survey at the end of the date. For example do you want to see me again or never or do you want to have sex etc. (That would be interesting) In the end and I agree it doesn't matter what they think. You have to be happy with yourself and if you are happy with yourself then you are going to attract someone that you deserve.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Is working in a company the best thing for an introvert?

I work by myself. Of course I go and see clients and talk with them but I'm basically me. On days when I'm not busy I come to where I am writing this now the Ark Hills Library. There are usually a lot of people here at all hours of the day and night and it is quite a nice atmosphere to write a blog post or do some reading or some other kind of work.

I quite enjoy this kind of lifestyle even though the money can be a little up and down it does however mean that I have time to myself during the day where I can do my own work and do some exercise.

I was thinking the other day about what it would be like to work in a company. I was trying to come up with the pros and cons of having a job in lets say a big company.

First of all lets have a look at the pros:

1. Secure income
2. Benefits
3. Job security
4. Friends from work. (My father referred to it as collegiality one day. I had to go and look it up.)
5. One work place
6. Chance of promotion and higher and higher income

OK, next the cons.

1. You have to go to the same place everyday.
2. You can only take a holiday when it is best for the company, not for you.
3. You can't control your income
4. You could get stuck with an idiot of a boss or not so cooperative colleagues.
5. You are just a pawn in a mammoth organisation.
6. You have very little freedom to explore other opportunities.

The reason I am writing this is I actually thought about getting a job at a company for a few seconds yesterday and then my introverted nature took over and thought, "Shit Blair, you will have to interact with people and see them everyday." I felt scared for a few seconds.

I have been to Shinagawa Station in Tokyo at 9am on a weekday morning and it is just an endless stream of people going to work. It is honestly like an army of ants going to work. Have a look at this photo and you will get some kind of idea what I mean.

I think that the reason I do what I do is that I don't want that collegiality as my father would say, I can enjoy my solitude and work at my own pace. My father is a bit more extroverted than me so he enjoys the parties and the beers after work and the golf rounds on the weekend with his colleagues. I'm not him so that kind of thing is not important to me.

I've seen some pretty miserable faces in Shinagawa Station on weekday mornings and I can imagine that the faces stay miserable until 7pm or 8pm or until the boss says they are going to have a drink.

When you are choosing a job think about whether or not you want to be in a large group. Think about whether you can handle the uncertainty of basically working by yourself where you can enjoy a bit more alone time.

These things are all important but we don't think about it mostly, we just decide to get a job not thinking what is best for our personality.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Should you date an extrovert or an introvert? It doesn't matter as long as you know what energises them.

If an introvert is energised by being alone or maybe with one other close friend and an extrovert is energised by being with a large number of people and an ambivert is somewhere in the middle of the two how does this relate to relationships?

I'm one with the theory that opposites attract. I believe that an introverted person and an extroverted person are a good match in a yin and yang way. They complement each other's strengths and weaknesses.

I've only figured this out in the last few years. Of course it would have been nice to know this information earlier in my life but they say that the information comes only when the receiver is ready for it and I obviously wasn't ready for it at that time.

One of my first girlfriends was very nice but she was very introverted and I can tell you that it was very hard work.

I have quite a large family and I have never had a problem in that situation. Probably because of the uchibenkei theory that I wrote about here. Uchibenkei is a person who is not so social outside the house and very social inside the house. Anyway my girlfriend at that time was not comfortable at all. It even brought her to tears on a couple of occasions.

Another women I was seeing actually walked away from me and when I think about it I got it all wrong. I thought that she was an introvert but in hindsight she was probably more in the ambivert to the extrovert side of the spectrum whereas I treated her like an introvert which is not going to go down too well. Extroverts need that social almost party like atmosphere from time to time and dinner and drinks with me, although fun, probably didn't work with her all the time.

I wish that I could see both of these women and apologise to both of them for putting them in situations that they obviously were not too comfortable with.

If you are reading this and you know who you are, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for being an insensitive jerk and I wish that I can make it up to you sometime in the future.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Are stereotypes dangerous?

Stereotypes. We all have our stereotypes, don't we? One thing I have always wondered is what is the New Zealand stereotype? When other countries think of New Zealand, what do they think? I can hazard a guess. "What? Where? When? Isn't it somewhere near Iceland?"

I was watching this video about the various stereotypes in the Japanese prefectures. For example, Tokyo people are cold or Okinawa people are always late. Talk about island time.

Obviously these stereotypes have to come from somewhere and there might be an element of truth to it. Yes there are some cold people in Tokyo, but I'm 100% sure that there are cold people in Nagoya or Fukuoka too.

I'm sure that there are late people in Okinawa, but believe me, there are millions of people in Tokyo who turn up late especially for social appointments. Don't get me started on this. The cellular phone has a lot to answer for.

So, what is the stereotype for an extrovert? What do you reckon? Let me list what I think:

  • Loud 
  • Brash
  • Dominating the room
  • Did I say loud?
  • Always have an alcoholic drink in their hand
  • Energetic
  • Drinks lots of Red Bull

OK, now we have the introvert's turn. What do you think about this one?

  • Bookworm 
  • Quiet
  • Shy
  • Anti-social
  • Did I say quiet?
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Lazy

You could dispel all of these stereotypes for both introverts and extroverts. I'm sure there are some teetotaller extroverts out there and even some who don't like Red Bull.

Likewise, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are introverts and no one could call them lazy.

What I am saying is that if you do decide to label people don't think they will decline your invitation to go for a beer because they are introverted just expect that they might go home earlier than everyone "just when the party is getting started."

Don't expect that person to dominate the discussion as they may want to listen to the other people's ideas and opinions. That's why they turned up.

When we watch comedians like Russell Peters he comments on the stereotypes of different nationalities and it is funny. I've always believed that you should be able to laugh at yourself. People who can't are dangerous in my opinion but be careful with the stereotypes as you could be missing out on engaging with some awesome people. 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

What we can learn from KY.


It's Japanese lesson time again. Have a look at the phrase above:

Do you know what this says? It says Kuuki Yomenai (KY). Literally it means 'cant read the air.' In other words you are, lets say a little incompetent in the social situation. You aren't able to read the clues that people are giving.

Lets think of a couple of examples.

Maybe you are an extrovert and your partner is more introverted. You are both are at a party and you are having a great time talking to everyone. Your partner however has had enough socialising and wants to go home. Your partners body language, facial expressions and words and saying everything to you that he or she wants to go home however you ignore it. This could be an example of Kuuki Yomenai (KY).

Another example would be you are at the same party but this time you are alone. The party continues and you are having a fantastic time, basically dominating the room. However what you don't notice  is that the host wants people to go home so they can go to bed. You don't notice this at all and just continue to drink and talk and rave. In the end the hosts literally have to kick you out of the house. You could have prevented that embarrassment by being wary of what is going on but you chose, deliberately or otherwise to ignore it.

My father and I were in Kyoto recently doing some sightseeing. If you haven't been to Kyoto, you should put it on your list of things to do because it is pretty cool.

Anyway we were there on a very hot day. Kyoto can get very, very hot in the summer. Be warned.

We were sitting in the shade planning our next strategy when a family, they sounded as though they were from North America came by. There were the two parents and three teenage children. My father started talking to one of the children. It was obvious that she had had enough sightseeing for the day and just wanted to sit by the pool or do nothing however it was also obvious that the father had made a plan and he was going to stick by the plan come hell or high water.

The father obviously didn't read the situation with his daughter. He was on a mission and he had his blinkers on. He wanted to see as many sights as possible. His daughter did not share his enthusiasm.

Sometimes people are just so absorbed in what they are doing that they don't see what other people are doing or wanting.

When you are in a group of mixed introverts and extroverts be aware that the other people might not share your enthusiasm for the situation and let them do their own thing. They will feel a lot better with your understanding.

I suppose that last paragraph is for extroverts. So in saying that:

Dear Extroverted people of the world,

If your introverted friend wants to leave, let them. They are not being rude to you, they are being true to themselves. In fact, the one being rude is you for almost forcing them to stay there in a situation that they are not feeling comfortable with.

Read the atmosphere my extroverted friend. Anyway, you will still have a great time with or without your introverted friend because you can seem to make friends at will.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Introversion and Extroversion of the Olympic Games

The Rio Olympics are well into their second week and New Zealand so far have got three gold medals. Woooo Hoooo! Some people don't like the Olympics. They think it is a big waste of money but I quite enjoy it as we, the sport fans get to see people who may not be on our TV screens every week.

In fact, a friend of mine said to me a couple of weeks ago that if the Olympics isn't the pinnacle of your sport then it shouldn't be in the event. That's an interesting thought because if you look at the current list of sports in the Olympics, probably Basketball, Football, Golf, Rugby Sevens and Tennis would be the sports to miss out.

In saying that though, maybe for NBA players, the Olympics is a bit of a sideshow but for other non-NBA players then it is a big deal.

For football players, definitely the World Cup is the sports biggest showpiece and to be honest, I want to see the best players in the world not under-23 players.

Golf and tennis professionals seem to be split on their participation. I think Rory McIlroy said that he didn't grow up dreaming of an Olympic gold medal. He was more focused on a green jacket or a claret jug. Although in saying that, according to this article, it seems that McIlroy has changed his tune. I say good on him. It will interesting to see if golf remains at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Rugby Sevens is just a new sport in the Olympics and that it might become a popular sports in Olympics to come. I personally don't really enjoy it. Maybe I'm a traditionalist. It is like I prefer test match cricket to T20 cricket even though I know that the ICC are lobbying for T20 cricket to be included at the Olympics. That would be interesting. Where would they build the cricket stadium in Tokyo?

I was thinking the other morning while I was watching the build up to the 100 metres final about whether you could classify each sport as an introvert sport or an extrovert sport. I thought that sport brings together all sorts so you are going to have some extroverts and some introverts in all sports but I wonder what sports attract certain kinds of people.

I can only speculate and this is my take on five sports that are on the programme at the 2016 Rio Olympics.


My answer to this would be both. This is very much an individual sport but the sprinters seem to be more exuberant and it seems that they train in groups while the field competitors I can imagine would spend hours and hours either by themselves or with a coach. Quite a lonely existence, right? Perfect for the introverted athlete.


I grew up playing hockey. By the way, for my Canadian readers, this is the hockey played on artificial turf not ice. Of course like in any team sports you are going to get a mixture of players and personalities. I think for any team sport you have to have certain level of extroversion in you while the introverted player would have to really love the sport or may have been coerced into the sport by friends, parents or teachers. So, I think that hockey would be an extroverted sport with some ambiverts to provide the balance in the team.


I'm sorry this has introversion written all over it. I don't know anything about this sport but it just seems that it is perfect for people who want some alone time and they want to get rid of stress by firing some arrows at a board. I wonder if William Tell was an introvert. Robin Hood probably wasn't because he had his posse.


This is one sport that I haven't taken to much. I used to not like playing it at all. (Probably because I was useless) Also I don't like watching it on television. It tends to my eyes to be serve, dig, set and then monster spike and then occasionally the opposition will get it back. However, from what I see this is definitely an extroverted sport. First of all it is a team sport and secondly they really get quite emotional after every point. In football they get emotional after they score a goal but usually they only score two or three goals. In volleyball you have to score 75 points to win a game. Extroverts apply here.



This is an introverted sport. It's an individual sport and I can imagine the golfers being on the practice range hitting balls by themselves hour after hour in all sorts of weather. I believe that Tiger Woods is an introvert who really wanted to be an extrovert and he used his stardom to do what he did. I kind of wish he wasn't found out about his "extra-curricular" activities because who knows what he could have achieved. The 20 majors of Jack Nicklaus would have been surpassed long ago.

There you have it. Different sports are good for different personalities but if you really like it then it won't matter if you enjoy spending time with people or you don't because you really enjoy it and that is all that matters.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Why you should talk to everyone.

I was watching a video on Youtube the other day and it was talking about engaging with people in shops and restaurants and places like that.

I know that I am the worst at it. I will go into a place like I did for lunch the other day. It is a make your own sandwich kind of place, very much like Subway. I go in there quite often. It would be a perfect chance for me to just say hi and to talk to the shop staff as an equal but I don't do it.

I'm not talking about flirting for you people wondering if I'm talking about that. If you are a guy, say hello to the guy behind the counter. Say something unusual, it might even make his day.

I know with shop staff I can get a little bit shy. By that I mean that I don't look them in the eye. I might not even grunt thank you to them.

If you start talking to shop staff, you are building your skills and then it makes it easier to talk to other people at events, in a business situation, on the street, basically anywhere.

I've been into a particular convenience store a couple of mornings a week for the last few weeks. A few times I have noticed another foreign guy talking to the shop staff. Not your normal small talk mind you but what looks to me to be a proper conversation.

I'm not sure if I'm correct but I am willing to bet that he goes into the shop everyday and he struck up a conversation with the staff so that now when he goes in he is made to feel welcome and the staff may even give him a discount or two. But the point is he sees the same people everyday and he has engaged with them.

I, nine times out of ten write my blog posts at a private library in which I am a member of. People use it as a study space, some use it to read, while there are obvious companies that work out of here as well. Have I engaged with people that I see here everyday? No, not at all. The only people I talk to are people that I know from outside the library. I sometimes I don't even say hello to the staff members who always greet the members. Isn't that terrible?

Here is my challenge to myself and to you, if you wish to accept it. Engage with one person a day who is behind the counter of a shop or serving you at a restaurant or anywhere really. You might be filling up your car. Chat with the people at the service station.

The picture you see of me above, I asked one of the library staff to take and then we chatted a little bit. She was more than happy to help me and I was friendly and I'm sure that next time I ask a favour that she will help me.

So is that my one for the day taken care of? No, I might have to find another place to engage with people.

Good luck to you and good luck to me.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Should you say something or be quiet?

A few years ago I had a friend of mine staying with me and he mentioned something that I hadn't noticed before and now when I do it I'm very conscious of it.

When I meet people I'm very conscious of what I say and what I do. You know how some people can just come straight out and say things to another person and they instantly become friends? That certainly is not me.

I remember a few years ago, a former work colleague saying that when he first met me that I was very standoffish and he thought that I was a little snobbish but was relieved to find out that I wasn't.

Anyway, when my friend was staying with me, he overheard me talking to a colleague on the phone. Apparently I wasn't holding back and I was joking and making stupid comments and the like.

As soon as I got off the phone my friend mentioned that I must be very comfortable with that colleague because I was very outgoing. The ironic thing is if I met that colleague today I would be very guarded as I haven't seen that colleague for a few years and that person can run quite hot and cold depending on the situation.

The other day at my gym I was talking to a guy who I may have only spoken to a handful of times. For some reason I must have felt comfortable so I said some things that if I think about it, probably wasn't very appropriate. Considering his nationality and our previous conversations I thought that it was OK but now when I think about it I may have crossed the line with a couple of things I said.

This is the problem with us introverted people. Sometimes we can't read the social situation and we can come across as being idiots. Of course extroverted people can do the same but the different between introverted people and extroverted people is that the extroverts just don't care. They are having fun and reenergising themselves by talking to people so they are just doing what comes naturally.

Introverts need a little bit more practice and this an be achieved by you being the one asking the questions. You can control the conversation and at the end of it the other person is going to think that you are a great person because they did all the talking and believe me if there is one thing that people love talking about it is themselves.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

How to come out of your shell?

Isn't it amazing how one song can change everything?

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a darts fan. I find it fascinating how they have basically taken a pub sport and turned it into a spectacle. I can't think of an appropriate adjective. It is very cool.

Before I continue, I would like you to have a look at this video below:

This is a video of the walk-on to the stage of Vincent van der Voort. I think the last time I read he was ranked about 15th or 16th in the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) so not one of the elite but still a very good darts player.

I suppose you could describe Vincent van der Voort as a journeyman but he is very popular because of two reasons:

1. He plays quite quickly which means it is interesting to watch.

2. The crowd like, no I mean they LOVE his walk-on song. The commentators reckon the crowd                 waits all night just to sing his walk-on song.

Isn't it amazing that one song can change a whole person's persona?

I must admit that I haven't watched many of Vincent van der Voort's matches but he doesn't come across as a crowd favourite. Someone like Peter Wright does however come across as a crowd favourite. Have a look at this video below:

Peter Wright loves to play to the crowd, dancing around. Look at his haircut, that colour seems to change everyday. Peter Wright seems much more charismatic. He seems to play to the crowd and they love him.

Vincent van der Voort on the other hand does not seem that charismatic at all. He is a good professional darts player but that is it. At the start of his walk-on video his punch in the air looks very uncomfortable and even when he is high-fiving the crowd it doesn't look right. The only time he looks natural is when he greets the young boy in the Where's Wally (Waldo) costume.

What Vincent van der Voort has done is that he has chosen wisely with his choice of song. I presume they choose their songs themselves. The song is a popular one and it is easy to sing a long with that it has helped what I think is an introverted darts player come out of his shell and it has probably helped his career no end.

In everyday life not necessarily in the darting world you too can come out of your shell by maybe wearing something a little different that stands out. People will have no option but to ask you about it.

You could have an unusual business card. I've seen some interesting ones over the years and they are memorable.

Another idea is that you could take on a Sasha Fierce type alter ego. (Sasha Fierce is Beyonce's alter ego.) This would be I imagine very difficult for most introverted people but if you can pull it off then all power to you.

Having that little bit something different can really help you get to another level in your development. What are you going to do to make that next step?

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Do millions of vending machines make an introverted country?

I've heard or read that there are one of these for every 6 people in Japan. Can you believe that? Are there 20 million vending machines in Japan. Actually, you see them everywhere so I wouldn't be surprised if yes there are that many. 

You can buy almost anything in these vending machines. You can see in this picture it is a generic coca cola one. Just around the corner are another two. One of them is a Suntory one and the other I can't remember what company it was.

You can buy chocolate bars in vending machines. I've seen nappy vending machines. (For North American readers, a nappy is a diaper.) Of course you can buy newspapers from vending machines.

Two vending machines that I can remember were what I call the quintessential Japanese vending machine. 

One vending machine I found in a very rural area in Chiba Prefecture. It was basically in the middle of nowhere and lets just say it was selling some very provocative literature and entertainment goods. It was hidden away behind a wall which piqued my curiosity. However when I found out what it was, I got out of there very, very, very quickly. News of you frequenting places like that gets around pretty quickly in rural areas like that. 

Another vending machine I did not even notice until I had been standing beside it for ten minutes or so which as you are about to learn would make me look like a very dodgy character. It was in a suburban area in Tokyo on one of the busiest roads in the metropolis. 

From memory I was waiting for a friend outside this shop and as is usual with me I arrived early. So I did what I normally do, I waited. After about ten minutes I noticed a vending machine behind me, so I had a look at what they were selling and to my shock and a little bit of excitement to be honest, I found a vending machine that I had heard of but I had never seen before, the type of vending machine where teenage girls sell their underwear. How dodgy I must have looked standing there for more than ten minutes.

Enough with the funny stories and let me ask you a question, why are there so many vending machines in Japan? I'm going to hazard a guess. 

I consider Japan an introvert country. An introvert country? What is that I hear you ask. 

Well lets just say that the United States of America is an extrovert country. I believe that you have to be a little loud and bold to get anywhere in the USA whereas Japanese are stereotypically a little bit more reserved. Japan is a group based culture which means that they find it difficult to talk to people outside their group which is introverted isn't it? 

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. I mean there are millions of introverted Americans and millions of extroverted Japanese it is just on the whole I believe these countries are extroverted and introverted respectively. 

So, is it possible that there are many vending machines in Japan to help people not to interact with each other? People want to go and buy their coca cola or chocolate bar without having to answer questions like do you want a bag or is the amount of money you have just given the right amount of money that you want to give. (Don't worry, it sounds much better when you say that previous sentence in Japanese.) 

I know that there are vending machines in other countries but it is plausible that there are so many  because of the introvert idea. 

Whatever the number of vending machines is I wonder when the time will be when all convenience stores are run by robots. I've heard that in Nagasaki there is a hotel that is staffed by robots. That sounds kind of fun and creepy at the same time.

Vending machines everywhere, hotels run by robots. What is going to be next? That is a very interesting question. I see in a news article on a New Zealand news website that bank branches might be going the way of the dodo.

Are more and more people going to show introvert tendencies because of the lack of human contact? It would be interesting to come back in 100 years to find out. Quite possibly. 

Friday, 12 August 2016

Are you like Schwarzenegger or are you like Ferrigno?

I like movies that would be classified as a documentary. I think of Michael Moore movies or even the one where the guy ate McDonalds for 30 days. Super Size Me I think it was called.

One of the more famous ones would be Pumping Iron. It came out in 1977 and focused around the 1975 Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest in Pretoria, South Africa.

This movie basically made Arnold Schwarzenegger into a household name. At that time bodybuilding was very much a niche sport, but Arnold made it into a mainstream sport as well as launching his movie career. The rest the say is history.

Pumping Iron does have some scripted parts in it which makes for interesting viewing but what I can see in the movie and what I believe is very very real in the movie is the relationship between Arnold and what he thinks is his main competitor, Lou Ferrigno.

For people of my generation, you will know Lou Ferrigno as the character in this clip below:

The Incredible Hulk! That brings back the memories. Lou Ferrigno played the Hulk, just in case you didn't realise.

In the movie Pumping Iron, there is a perfect representation of the difference between an extrovert and an introvert.

In case you haven't figured it out, Arnold is the extrovert and Lou is the introvert.

Arnold is shown working out at the gym surrounded by other body builders. Helping them out if they ask him too. He is the centre of attention. Basically he holds court. Everyone knows him and he loves it. He loves the attention and admiration because he is 'the man.'

Contrastingly, Lou works out with his father in the basement of their house. He is quiet but equally determined to finally knock Arnold of his perch.

One of the more famous scenes in the movie is when Arnold, Lou and Lou's father are having breakfast together. As you would imagine Arnold is doing all the talking. We find out that it is all part of the psychological warfare in bodybuilding and Arnold appears to be a master of it. Lou's father tries to say some things but Arnold won't let him. Lou says very little.

So, what does this all mean? Does it mean that you have to be like Arnold to be successful? That answer for that is yes and no. Sure you are going to have to put yourself out there on occasions but the quieter ones can also be successful. You have to find what you are good at and really apply yourself to get better and better at it. You need to apply yourself to become the best in the world.

Just because you are quiet and you don't want to be around a lot of people and have reporters and beautiful people following you everywhere it doesn't mean that you can't become someone of note.

Compared to Arnold, Lou may not have been a success, but he made it in movies, he made it on television and he was one of the best bodybuilders of his time. He was probably more successful than 99% of people out there.

Just because you are quiet, it doesn't mean that you can't make a name for yourself. It just means that you might have to get out of your hut a few more times than you want to...