Tuesday, November 17, 2015

History Repeats Itself: The "Stars of Silent Films Are Alive" Today (But not well!)

History Repeats Itself: The "Stars of Silent Films Are Alive" Today (But not well!)

Most will probably find the title of this blog to be a bit curious. But history is repeating itself right now and the "Stars of Silent Films" are "alive" today! Well, maybe not those exact people, but people who follow in their footsteps and fail to learn the lesson that they taught us....

History is truly repeating itself in front of our very eyes in the TV and radio world and the reaction of many TV and radio "stars" - and even broadcasting company management - towards the Internet.

And, just as it was in the 1920s, the silent film stars who were able to survive - and actually make more money, along with the production companies who profited handsomely from "Talkies" - the stars who survive and prosper will be the ones who embrace the new technology and use it to their advantage. 

The ones who do not, will fade away. (It's actually curious to think, that after all this time, there are mass media talent and company management who refuse to consider the internet as a profitable promotional tool or revenue stream, but I know a few... I understand if they are over 60-years-old. But under 60? I don't "get it." This seems like complete denial of reality.)

Silent films were big entertainment from about 1910 ("Birth of a Nation" in 1913 was the biggest grossing silent film of all time) until the beginning of the end in 1927 with Al Jolson's "Jazz Singer" and the abrupt ending of all Silent Films by 1937. 

So, from the advent of "Talkies," until the death of the Silent Movie Star, was only a few decades - or even less than 20 years, depending upon how you look at it.

When Talkies first arrived, many of the world's biggest stars refused to accept it. Even the great Charles Chaplin said of Talkies, "Talkies are spoiling the oldest art in the world— the art of pantomime. They are ruining the great beauty of silence. They are defeating the meaning of the screen." 

Yet, even Charles Chaplin could not deny progress and he stayed silent no longer. Just six days after Britain declared war on Germany, in 1939, he started work on "The Great Dictator". It would be a stroke of genius - as well as the acceptance of the inevitable - that helped solidify Chaplin's place as one of the greatest film makers of all time and a worldwide superstar - even to this day.

Many stars, though, simply refused to embrace the new technology and they faded away. 

It is said that many of the silent film stars insisted that their fame and talent was good enough and that their audience were loyal enough that they would never abandon them because they 'could speak with their eyes, therefore they didn't need sound or Talkies.'

In hindsight, anyone can see that this sort of thinking is foolish. 

I wonder why some of today's radio and TV stars refuse to do the Internet... I know a few who refuse to even do simple ones like Facebook or Twitter! I can understand not having the confidence in writing ability to not do a blog (how about taking, photos?) but not using FB or Twitter to keep your name in front of the audience and potential sponsors, is basically the same as "shooting yourself in the foot." 

Many of the old silent film stars obstinately refused the Talkies for the very same illogical, self-defeating and completely impractical reasons. 

I can't blame them for being artists, but I can blame them for being stupid.

They faded away, right? 

After long avoidance, some finally did try, but found they didn't have the voice to match the face...

What should we call a TV or radio star today who refuses to participate in the internet besides "someone in denial"?

From Forbes (April 10, 2014): 

"Perhaps the iconic pose of our era is someone squinting at a smartphone screen–replacing another iconic pose, the couch potato pointing a remote at the TV screen. That stark change is apparent in a new report that says for the first time, Internet ad revenues have passed those of broadcast TV."

From a guy who has worked in the mass media for over 30 years, I can tell you for a fact that, even though many won't say it, many of today's TV and radio "talent" and broadcasting station management think the exact same thing about the Internet: They foolishly believe they don't need it and they refuse to participate in it; as if it is "below" them... Just as the Silent Stars once did

They think TV and radio are going to survive in their current form for the next twenty years and giving them a livelihood; just like the Silent Stars believed about the Silent Film industry.

Starting to see a connection here? I do. And this is why I state that "History is repeating itself right in front of our eyes." 

Here's a list of 10 former Silent Film superstars who didn't make it through the transition to Talkies for various reasons.

The World Wide Web began in 1990 and now has mass acceptance. It's been 25 years now. Talkies destroyed Silent Films completely in about 25 years or so.

How many of us can see the writing on the wall? 

It figures that if you do not do the internet (Facebook, blogging, Twitter, Instagram), you'll be out of a job within 2 ~ 5 years. 

So, TV and radio star, ignore the internet at your own peril... 

They can predict the future by following the examples shown perfectly by the Silent Film stars who proceeded them: some adapted; some didn't.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Charles Bukowski, Gary North and Me

The original title of this blog post was: "Charles Bukowski, Gary North and Me - The Best Writers Don't Care What People Think," but I changed that because it sounds like I think I am one of the "best" writers....

Shit! I wish. I just hope I can be a fraction of what Bukowski or North are. They are great... They don't care what you think. The best writers, I mean. I read the famous ones a lot. I think, sometimes, I read new, young ones that could be really good or great someday.

Alas, I am not a great writer but I had a guy as a sort of teacher and advisor to me who is a great writer. In fact, I had two of them who really influenced me greatly. I'm not talking about some writer whom I have never come in to contact with excepting their written words in books I've bought, I'm talking about two who I have actually corresponded with who have written notes and letters to me. Those two guys really influenced me. Their names are Gary North and Charles Bukowski. Everyone knows Charles Bukowski today. He died a few years back. In the early 80's, he was a cult writer and few knew him. After he died, he became famous. Gary North is well known in political and historical circles. He is still alive. I expect that he will be very famous after his demise.

Gary North

Not to be too flippant, but dying is very bad for someone's health but I think it does wonders for an artist's or a writer's career... 

I will always be grateful that Gary North, years ago, would volunteer advice to me as to how to be a better writer as well as  helping me to publish my book. I'll get to Charles Bukowski in a minute.

One of the best pieces of advice Gary North ever gave me was something along the lines of "find your topic. Create a thesis. Study it well, write it and rewrite it. Rewrite it again after that. And finally, stick by your guns until someone can prove you wrong with facts or data. If new data comes up then rethink your position."

No, really. I don't give a shit if you buy this book or not. In fact, don't! The proceeds are supposed to go to a home for retired persons but my dad died a few years ago and these assholes from the publisher keep the money, I think.... I will put the entire thing for free online ASAP!

That was important advice for me. It was important because all writers  want people to like what they wrote. All writers want to think that they are correct in their thinking. All writers want to be popular and for everyone to like them.

But that is just dreaming and not realistic thinking whatsoever. The writer who writes in an attempt to please everyone - will be relegated to writing boring fiction and fantasy (which could be an honorable profession and much more profitable than writing nonfiction, by the way). 

The best writers, actually, are the ones who don't care what you or I think. The best writers know that readers really loving them or hating them with a passion is the best way to be. When people don't care either way, that's the death knell of any art. People must love you or hate you. That's what Charles Bukowski taught me. 

The following story about Charles Bukowski and me is pretty unbelievable - if you don't know me very well. I know my friend's will hear this story and say, "Yeah? That sounds exactly like something Rogers would do." I have lots of stories like this. Stories where I met the Ramones, Blondie, Arnold Schwartzneggar, George H.W. Bush, Phil Spector and a bunch of other people that I can't recall at the moment.... 

The underground 'zine: 60 Miles North
TRIVIA! That's my eldest daughter on the cover.

Anyway, here's the story about Bukowski and how he affected me... 

In the early 1980s my best friend, Jeff Hughart, and I started a free underground magazine in Southern California called Sixty Miles North. It was a punk underground rag that got pretty popular in a very short time. At that time, free underground magazines were a novel and new idea. Ours was one of the first.

At that time, there was this old man who was a popular poet and writer in the underground who (pardon my French) didn't give a sh*t what you thought. He had written a few books about how crappy his work life was and Jeff and I thought those books were awesome. His name was Charles Bukowski. Since my friend and I were ex-punk rockers we thought everything in mass pop culture and modern consumerist society was horrible crap so we gravitated towards "dark" writers and artists like Joy Division and Charles Bukowski. Bukowski's novels, we thought, showed total disgust and contempt for modern society and modern life and we liked that a lot.

It seemed it was obvious that Bukowski didn't care if people liked his writing or not. Bukowski thought everything was sh*tty and said so. That's why we thought he was way cool. 

Back in those days, Bukowski wasn't popular in the mainstream and was a cult artist. Bukowski lived in Los Angeles and it was well known that he liked the horse races. That was convenient for me because I lived near Los Angeles and so did my parents. In fact, my folks liked the horse races. They were horse race crazy too and, this is no exaggeration, by the time I was 15 years old, I had been to every race track in Southern California  a hundred times. As kids, we'd run around the horse races areas and knew all the best places to hide and play.

Great, eh? As a small child, my weekends were spent playing with other fucked up kids at the horse race track while my parents bet.... Now do you wonder why I am so screwed up today?

Jeff and I spent a lot of time on that magazine. It was our release from our jobs and it was fun. It was our creative outlet. We thought that we could get Bukowski to write for our underground magazine. 

I got a photo of Bukowski and showed it to my dad and mom and asked them if they had seen this guy down at the track. They weren't sure. Since Bukowski was a published author, and pretty old, I figured that he'd relax in the horse track's "Club House." In the Club House it is not crowded as tables cost a few dollars and one can sit, relax and not have to deal with massive crowds of people. Bukowski wrote that he hated the humanity at the horse track. From being there hundreds of times, I knew exactly what he meant, so from that, I also knew he must have sat in the Club House. (If you've ever been to the horse track you know the "smell of humanity": sweat, sh*t and stale cigar smoke....) In the Club House you could have your space and not be pushed and shoved. The Club House was relaxed. Like I said, my parents were regulars so they knew most of the people in the Club House. There were lots of famous retired actors and actresses there. The most famous one that I can remember was Mickey Rooney. He and my dad would often sit at tables next to each other and talk. 

My parents saw the photo but couldn't remember if they'd seen Bukowski or not. So, I went to look for him. Seriously. If you don't know about horse racing, this might seem impossible to do, but if you go to the track a lot and know that certain race tracks are closed when others are open and that there is only one Club House where the regulars hang out, you'd know it shouldn't be so hard to find some old guy betting on the horses. It's be akin to walking into a huge bar with, maybe, 200 customers or so and finding your guy.

Mickey Rooney played Mr. Yuniyoshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's

So, I went looking for Bukowski at the horse racing track... I figured if I found him, I could give buy him a coffee and hand him a magazine, and a stamped envelope addressed with our mailing address (this was way back before the days of the Internet) and ask him to jot down some junk and send it to us for publication in the magazine. 

At the track, I showed his photo to some of my parents friends, the workers there and Mickey Rooney. People said they recognized him but hadn't seen him for a while. I tried three different times but I never found Bukowski at the Club House. I gave up.

Jeff, on the other hand, tried an approached that I thought would never work in a million years. Jeff then sent him a letter out of the blue to his publisher and included the same sort of stamped envelope with the same tack that I tried. I figured my way at least had a small chance. I figured that if I could just speak to Bukowski personally, I could convince him to write for us. Jeff had other ideas.

In Jeff's envelope he included a sample of the magazine and a letter asking for a short poem or submission with a "Thank you." Jeff sent it off and we forgot about it.

Well, you can imagine our shock and surprise when the envelope came back to us from Bukowski two weeks later. We were thrilled... You can also imagine our disappointment when Bukowski hand wrote on our letter a "No thank you!" message saying he wasn't interested in writing for our magazine. We were, as Southern California people said back in those days, "Bummed out!"

But not to be deterred and being two guys with a huge sense of humor (and this is the part where you'll think, "That sounds like Rogers"), we decided to run his rejection letter as "Bukowski's writing for our magazine." I think we called it, "Rejection from Bukowski." We printed his rejection letter as is and told the story. We bragged how our "zine" had finally hit the "big time" as even famous writers like Bukowski refused to write for us (remember we were a punk rock underground magazine so that was cool!) I have that magazine around here somewhere, stacked inside of some boxes so I'll have to find it and show it to you sometime.

After that magazine came out, we, once again, sent one to Bukowski with another note. This time he wrote back to us something along the lines of, "I can't believe you guys are so hard up for material that you'd print my rejection letter." He then added two or three (I can't remember how many) short poems that we printed in the next issue.

U2's Bono is a wanker

From that I learned a great lesson in life and from Bukowski. The lesson in life I learned was anything is worth a try and you can't achieve the impossible until you try to do so and, you have to do what you want. Bukowski's writing, at that time, was very hard core and seemed extremely negative to me (OK. I was negative when I was in "punk mode.") I could have never guessed at that time he'd become so famous and popular. So popular, in fact, that wankers like Bono from U2 would try to increase his coolness factor by acting like he is a friend with Bukowski.

Oh, and that reminds me. I do recall one poem he wrote much later, after our initial correspondence. Here is what Bukowski wrote about the time when Bono from U2 called him: (this is from my memory so it isn't word for word):

Bukowski: I got a call from Bono the other day...
He said "Hi!" 
I said "Hi!" and asked how Cher was doing...
We didn't talk for 
long after

Isn't that hilarious? Bono from U2 is so conceited that he thinks everyone knows who he is so he calls Bukowski to kiss his a*s. But Bukowski is not impressed (or he really doesn't know) and puts him down with the comment about Sonny and Cher! Sensational!

Today, I still read material by Gary North and Charles Bukowski sometimes and other great and famous writers. Now, thanks to the Internet and blogging, I think I can spot almost immediately some of those people with potential to be good or even great writers someday. In the day of print and paper, it was more difficult and costly for writers to say what they wanted to say. They had to tone down their message. Now, thanks to blogging, writers can say what they want.

The best writers start off as arrogant and obnoxious. They have the raw material to become good someday. These are the young people, though, who need to read and study and refine and write and rewrite. These are the people who need to open their minds and realize that they have so much potential if only they'd throw away preconceived notions.

It is as a famous Zen story goes:

A Cup of Tea
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
Fellow bloggers, especially you that are young, become great writers! 
Here is my advice to you: Find your topic. Create a thesis. Study it well, write it and rewrite it. Rewrite it again after that. And finally, stick by your guns until someone can prove you wrong with facts or data. If new data comes up then rethink your position. 

Always, do not care too much what other people think... Good art is not democratic.

And, ALWAYS keep an open mind and realize that many of the ideas we believed at 25 we find out at the age of 50 are completely wrong.

Lastly, let me leave you with this quote (and get off my soapbox):

"We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40 - and half the things he knows at 40 hadn't been discovered when he was 20?" - Arthur C. Clarke

Psst! Sonny and Cher (Bono) were way cooler than U2's poseur vocalist Bono could ever be! Bukowski was an old man in the eighties. He wouldn't know about U2. Here's the Bono he must have thought he was talking to...
And, when U2 Bono hung up the phone, do you think Bukowski cared? 
Nope. Most probably not.

For Ryu, Andrew, Jp and Allison

Thursday, November 12, 2015

ビジネスのウェブページ 用テレビクオリティのビデオは(30秒)¥70,000~ (60秒)¥80,000!プロフェッショナルTVスタッフが作成いたします。

ビジネスのウェブページ (フェイスブック,Youtube, Twitter)用テレビクオリティのビデオは(30秒)¥70,000 ~ (60秒)¥80,000 (English OK!) 現役プロフェッショナルTVスタッフが作成いたします。もちろん、英語のビデオの制作も可!We have professional native English speakers on staff! 

全部はHDクオリティ!英語のビデオOK! We have professional English native speakers!



ROBOT55 はビジネス、商業、製品紹介動画の制作のみならず、アートや音楽の映像も創っております。ビジネス動画においてはウェブ動画時代の到来に合わせ、お求めや すい¥70,000という格安価格より承ります。ご予算に応じて皆様にご満足のいく高品質動画を制作致します。勿論インディー・バンド向けPV制作も行っ ております。よ! コチラよりお気軽にお問い合わせ下さいませ♬ 

Open Borders Immigration? How's that working out for you?

There are many who claim that Japan should open her borders and allow mass immigration. I think that's crazy.

There are a few writers here (mostly foreigners) who think we should allow immigration like the USA and Europe does. They point to Europe and the USA as to good examples of how Open Borders works out.

I wonder what planet they are living on? There's a reason Japan has a basically zero unemployment problem. There's also a reason why Japan leads in robotics and in many areas of that type of technology.

Japan has lots of problems, the last thing Japan needs is a bunch of unskilled migrants and a high unemployment number.

Or events like this video from Europe.

This is a scary video that's gone viral all throughout the world.

Japan's Next Generation of Youth: Latchkey Kids.

I was walking by a nursery/kindergarten the other day. It was one of the many that have popped up in my neighborhood over the last few years. 

I wondered why, if the birthrate is so low in Japan - along with the smallest population of children since WWII, and all these pre-schools and nurseries are being built (three new ones in my neighborhood over the last 2 years or so - a neighborhood full of senior citizens), then why has the Japanese government reported that there are over "23,000 children on waiting lists to get into pre-school"? (There were over 44,000 in 2014). Why have two of my close friends told me that they, "Couldn't find a nursery or preschool to put their 1-year-old into" while they go to work.

I got it! It's simple really, when you stop to think about it.... 

Even though the birthrate is dropping seriously, the economy is is the shitcan; families can no longer depend upon the husband's job nor support the family on one income... Hence, the wives have started working... 

When the wives have to work, they have to put the kid's into daycare. Pretty simple, right?

The same phenomenon happened in the USA... Then throughout the 80s. Remember, "Latchkey Kids"


We are brewing an entire new generation of Latchkey Kids now in Japan too because of the BS the government is doing to the currency and the economy; which leads to more and more debt and a situation whereby the mother has to work in order for the family to survive financially.

I think this is terrible. How well did this situation serve the United States and American families?

You can judge for yourself if this is a desirable condition or not.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It's the 2016 New Year's Party of the Year! Free!

It's the 2016 New Year's Party of the Year! (Does that make sense?) The Neatbeats, the 50 Kaitenz and the Privates! These are Japan's best underground Rock n roll bands! Click the link below (in blue) to get a free ticket!

Tickets? Click here: マイクとタロヲの渋谷Milkywayの新年会 2016年1月20日(水)開催決定!

Featuring! The Neatbeats, The 50 Kaitenz, The Privates!

参加希望の方は(限定200名)入場料 (1 Drink@door ¥500)
Entrance is free! (Pay ¥500 at the door for one drink ticket) Tickets limited to 200 people - first come, first served.

Reserve your tickets now here: 早いもの勝ち!予約希望者→予約:http://bit.ly/1PkdMck

*この日は映画の撮影もあり、新年会参加者は全員映画のエキストラになっていただきます。従いましてご応募頂く事で本映画で使用される映像の権利は全て制作のROBOT55合同会社(担当Mike Rogers)が保有することに同意したものとみなします。

There will be a movie shoot at this event. By reservation of a ticket, you agree to be a possible extra in the movie and understand and agree that the filmmakers have the right to use your image for the film, TV, promotion, etc. as they see fit for the entire universe forever.  People who do not agree to this arrangement will not be allowed into the event.

Reserve your tickets now here: 早いもの勝ち!予約希望者→予約:http://bit.ly/1PkdMck

渋 谷Milkywayの新年会 2016年1月20日(水)開催決定!The Neatbeats, 50 Kaitenz, The Privates! 入場料 (1 Drink@door ¥500)早いもの勝ち!予約希望者→予約:http://bit.ly/1PkdMck
*この日は映画の撮影もあり、新年会参加者は全員映画のエキストラになっていただきます。従いましてご応募頂く事で本映画で使用される映像の権利は全て制作のROBOT55合同会社(担当Mike Rogers)が保有することに同意したものとみなします。


ROBOT55 はビジネス、商業、製品紹介動画の制作のみならず、アートや音楽の映像も創っております。ビジネス動画においてはウェブ動画時代の到来に合わせ、お求めや すい¥70,000という格安価格より承ります。ご予算に応じて皆様にご満足のいく高品質動画を制作致します。勿論インディー・バンド向けPV制作も行っ ております。よ!


格 安ビデオ制作, 格安, ロボット・ゴー・ゴー,  格安, Top 3 Videos, ビジネスビデオ制作, ロボット・ゴー・ゴー, 撮影, 格安, ビデオ制作, 動画, 紹介動画, Top 3 Videos, ビデオ, 東京, 撮影,ビデオ編集, 動画制作, ROBOT55, Top 3 Videos, Top 3 New Artist Videos

Friday, October 30, 2015

George Williams on Natalie!

George Williams on Natalie! Natalie is one of Japan's most popular internet music sites!

特集] オトガタリ Vol. 1 大谷ノブ彦(ダイノジ)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Gaijin Gourmet! Eating Healthy at a Japanese Festival (Matsuri)!

Welcome once again to another edition of the Gaijin Gourmet - It's our first "Travel Edition"!

It's coming to the end of the year and that means lots of parties, drinking and eating too much, get-togethers, drinking, Thanksgiving, eating and drinking too much, Christmas, more drinking, falling down, acting like an idiot, New Year's parties, and eating and drinking too much (and just all-around being an embarrassment to myself and everyone else when I'm drunk and making an ass of myself).

And, if you live in Japan, of course this time of the year also means, year-end "Matsuri" (Japanese Festival).

The Gaijin Gourmet acting important!
The Gaijin Gourmet at the matsuri trying to act like he is important and doing something useful!

Of course with all these parties and dinners we have to attend, we must also watch what we eat and be careful of our stomachs and bulging waistlines. In particular, once 'we fine diners' (that's you and me, dear reader!) get past 50-years-old, we have a checklist of things we can and cannot eat - or, if we do partake, we do so in moderation. We enjoy in moderation because we don't want to have to take all sorts of medicines and nasty chemicals from that pesky doctor who keeps warning us about inconveniences like “myocardial infarction,” “intracerebral hemorrhages,” “pulmonary embolism,” “hyperuricemia” blah, blah blah!

Oh, doctor! Those are big words! I’m so scared!

Sorry, doc, I'm busy! I don't have time for your Ivy-League graduate big words! I only worry about foods that may cause real problems like: heart attacks, stokes, blockages of the arteries, Gout and sudden death.

I worry about real problems… Like the hangover I have right now; it’s not a pretty sight!... Especially when it is me looking in the mirror at myself and - damn! I don't remember coming home last night!

The local villagers all gather round at this time of year to greet and pay respects and thank the gods for a good harvest for the year. It is a ritual that goes back a thousand years. At the shrine, people toss in coins and pray to the gods for family health, happiness, prosperity, world peace and a winning lottery ticket.

So, with that in mind, let's try to cut out all sweets, carbohydrates, alcohol and other foods high in cholesterol and very bad for our health and enjoy the festivities and food at the Japanese matsuri!

It's till early. The Gaijin Gourmet doesn't like huge crowds so we always get there early!
Early hours. The festival grounds are not crowded yet. The Gaijin Gourmet always avoids crowds.

Today we're going to the matsuri near my house in Setagaya! Yeah!

They hold the matsuri every year around mid-October. Usually, I eat tons of food and drink too much but this year we're on that "Health-Kick" that quack doctor ordered. Let's see what kind of delicious food we can eat at the festival and still stick to my "Doctor's orders" diet!

okonomiyakiOh, my god! First thing I see is one of my favorites! Okonomiyaki! Okonomiyaki is kind of like a Japanese pancake... But it's not like a western style pancake; it isn't sweet. It is filled with vegetables and a little bacon or pork in an egg and flour batter! Delicious!... Oh, wait a minute! I can't eat any carbohydrates and the bacon is filled with cholesterol. I guess we'll just have to skip the Okonomiyaki this year! But, fear not! There's still plenty more!

Onward and upward my palates!

yaki-sobaThis is Yakisoba. This is the staple of any Japanese festival or event: It is noodles fried on a flat skittle with mixed in vegetables and pork... I love it! I'll have one, please....Oops!... No. I can't have one. The noodles are made from flour, there's pork in it and it is fried in oil! Probably Cholesterol City (not to mention it has carbohydrates!)...

The wife orders one anyway. She says it tastes pretty good. But, hey! Why is it that sometimes the Yakisoba at the matsuri doesn't have any pork in it? Cheapskates!

Next up, by far my favorite food of them all! Takoyaki! They are delicious! Foreigners call Takoyaki, "Octopus Balls." Octopus Balls? You know like “Men’s balls!” Yuck! Sounds awful! But Takoyaki tastes great! I want some!

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion and then sprinkled with green dried sea weed (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi).

Oh, but, come to think of it, I can't eat octopus either because the doctor says it is really high in cholesterol so it is really bad for me - squid too... So, no Takoyaki this year!

On to the next stand… I’m sure there is something that isn’t high in cholesterol and full of carbohydrates!

Japanese weiners!?
Pork or made of fish? I don't know, but I'm guessing that these are extremely high in cholesterol and just looking at them makes me feel like I’m having a heart attack!

But they do look so good, don’t they? At least these don't have any carbohydrates in them! Come on! One bite couldn't hurt....

"No! Absolutely not!" I imagine my doctor yelling into my ear!
Yakitori-standAh? My totally all-time favorite food: Yakitori. Yakitori is Japanese style barbecued chicken on sticks.

If there is only one type of Japanese food in heaven, it has to be Yakitori! I’ll bet even God eats Yakitori! I could eat it everyday forever! This is the ultimate Japanese tasty food that goes along great with any drinks and on any occasion.

As I am about to yell, “Give me ten sticks, please!” I see my wife glaring at me. I can read her mind! She is thinking, "I know if you start eating Yakitori, you'll start drinking beer too; and then if you start drinking beer, you won't be able to control yourself and you'll start drinking more and eat everything in sight!"

Wow! She's right! How did she know that?! We've only been married for just over twenty years!

This year, I'll pass on the Yakitori, but, ummmm.... That sure smells good!

Hey, what's the deal here? There's absolutely nothing I can eat at the festival that doesn't have carbohydrates or very high cholesterol! No fair!

Wait! What? There is at least two things at the matsuri to eat that don’t have any carbohydrates or cholesterol? What are they?
Kakigori: Shaved ice with sugar flavored syrup... The kids love it, especially on hot summer days. It has lots of calories but not nearly as bad as ice cream...
Kakigori: Shaved ice with sugar flavored syrup... The kids love it, especially on hot summer days. It has lots of calories but not nearly as fattening nearly as ice cream...

Kakigori?! No way! I have to eat something healthy for dinner before I can start eating sweets...

I need a healthy snack!
Chocolate covered bananas
Chocolate covered bananas?

Oh, yeah… Right! “Please give me a chocolate covered banana without the chocolate!"

Is there nothing at the matsuri that a health-conscious guy like the Gaijin Gourmet can eat and still have fun while on our Weight-Watchers Diet?
There is?
Raw cucumber on a stick! Healthy and delicious... Not too much fun, though!
Raw cucumber on a stick! Healthy and delicious... Not too much fun, though!

A raw cucumber on a stick! Mmmmm... Just like mom used to make... I can eat these. In fact I do, everyday at home! This cucumber cost ¥200 each (about $1.70 USD each)... Kind of expensive for a cucumber... Very salty too!

So, finally, at the entire matsuri, I had a bottle of water and a cucumber.

So, in summation, if you are going to a matsuri and you want to have fun, then toss the diet plan for that one night... Otherwise, about the only thing you'll be able to eat and drink are raw vegetables (if they have those) and green tea or water.

... Just like if you were staying at home!

And just like I always say to my wife at home when we are arguing because she wants to go out to dinner and I want to stay home, I say, "What's the point of going out if we are just going to come back home anyway?"

She has no intelligent retort to say when confronted with brilliant logic like that!

Well, that's it! I hope you enjoyed our culinary journey to sample the aromas, drinks, and fine dining at the local matsuri. I hope to see you here next time when I go to another festival where the food is great.

That is, if I don't have to do some "Doctor's Stop" diet and I can eat anything or drink anything I like. Including a lot of booze!

...Otherwise I am staying home!


Looking for a delicious healthy meal in Tokyo, the world's most expensive and crowded city for under $5 (USD)? Here's a bunch of them linked below!

Gaijin Gourmet - Delicious, Healthy Meal in Tokyo for Under $3 (USD) - Yoshi Soba! robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-delicious-healthy-meal-in-tokyo-for-under-3-usd-yoshi-soba/

Gaijin Gourmet - Delicious, Healthy Meal in Tokyo for Under $3 (USD) - Komoro Soba! robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-delicious-healthy-meal-in-tokyo-for-under-3-usd-komoro-soba/

Gaijin Gourmet - Fuji Soba Tokyo's Top 3 Soba Chain Restaurants robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-fuji-soba-tokyos-top-3-soba-chain-restaurants/

Gaijin Gourmet: 「モンスターMOGULLA!東京の地下からこんにちは」 robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-「モンスターmogulla!東京の地下からこんにちは/

Gaijin Gourmet! The Best, Most Delicious Soba Restaurant in Shibuya and Shinjuku robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-the-best-most-delicious-soba-restaurant-in-shibuya-and-shinjuku/

Gaijin Gourmet – Hamazushi! Tokyo’s Best Robot Sushi! robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-hamazushi-tokyos-best-robot-sushi/

Gaijin Gourmet – Sukiya! Japan’s Best Gyudon (Beef Bowl) robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-sukiya-japans-best-gyudon-beef-bowl/

Gaijin Gourmet Advice for Foreign Gentlemen Living in Japan!

Gaijin Gourmet – Best Soba Chain in Tokyo?Yude Taro and ¥220 Draft Beer?! robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-best-soba-chain-in-tokyo?yude-taro-and-¥220-draft-beer/

Gaijin Gourmet: The Best Premium Salad Bar in Tokyo? – Sizzler in Setagaya robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-the-best-premium-salad-bar-in-tokyo-sizzler-in-setagaya/

Gaijin Gourmet! Great Cheap and Delicious Soba in Gaienmae on Ginza Line! robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-great-cheap-and-delicious-soba-in-gaienmae-on-ginza-line/

The Gaijin Gourmet: The Best Salad Bar Deal in Tokyo at Big Boy – My Favorite Rock N Roll Diner!! robot55.jp/blog/the-gaijin-gourmet-the-best-salad-bar-deal-in-tokyo-at-big-boy-my-favorite-rock-n-roll-diner/

The Gaijin Gourmet: Soba Wars At Hanzomon Station in Tokyo robot55.jp/blog/gaijin-gourmet-soba-wars-at-hanzomon-station-in-tokyo/


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ROBOT55 はビジネス、商業、製品紹介動画の制作のみならず、アートや音楽の映像も創っております。ビジネス動画においてはウェブ動画時代の到来に合わせ、お求めや すい¥70,000という格安価格より承ります。ご予算に応じて皆様にご満足のいく高品質動画を制作致します。勿論インディー・バンド向けPV制作も行っ ております。よ!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Winning at Raffles, Bingo and Winning at Life Are the Same! Here's 5 Simple Tips on How to Win at All of Them!

(This post originally ran in July 2013.)

Once again, yesterday my son won the Top Grand Prizes at a Raffle contest at one of the big international schools here in Tokyo. The prize was a trip for two, all expenses paid, to New York, New York, or another destination of our choice.

My son with his grand prize certificate. Actually, besides the Top Prize, we also won two of the other Top 50 prizes. Count that in with a day outside helping friends and volunteering to make this world a better place, it was a day of constant winning! (Look at that smile! Any child who is that happy all the time has just got to win, right?)

It is about the fourteenth time he has won one of the big prizes at a raffle or bingo in the last four years. We always win. We have come to expect to win. In fact, if we don't win (at least a trinket), it has come to seem strange to me. 

Mar. 2011: Wins 11 games in four years. Grand Prize three times. Not a bad winning 
percentage. You really can do that too! 

Winning at raffles, bingo and winning at life are very, almost eerily, similar and I'd like to talk to you about that today. I think, if there is anything that I have been a massive success in my life at is that is being able to convince my children that they will "win." I have shown them that the way to "win" is by first believing that you will win. I have even convinced - may I suggest that I brainwashed - my third daughter into believing that she would conquer "incurable" forth stage cancer. 

I do not mean here that you can believe yourself into winning a game of chance; I mean you can become a winner simply by changing your attitude and better understand of what it means to "win."

But before I go into theory and philosophy more, allow me to continue (brag like a looney) by telling you about the past and our "luck" and wins in all sorts of games and winning at bingo.

Two years ago, we won the very top prize of a vacation to Okinawa that included hotel and airfare. Yesterday, he won the trip to New York. In February  of this year, he won a gift certificate worth several hundred dollars at a very famous store in Tokyo. Last year, he won five times out of a total of 12 games or so in one tournament. Think about that; there are seven hundred people all competing at bingo trying to win the prize. To win once is enough to bring wide smiles and cheers to anybody's face. But he won five games in one night! That must be a record. Every time my son won, people were astounded. By the forth time he won, everyone was clapping for him. By the fifth time, people were verbally shouting, "That's incredible!" "I've never heard of such a thing."

The lady sitting next to us at our table last night has worked for the organization that ran last night's bingo for thirty years. She told me that she had been coming to this event twice a year, every year, and she and her husband had never won even once!

One of my son's former teachers knows my son won at bingo again and she wrote him this note by email:

"Congratulations! I just can't believe you did it again and I'm so happy for you. I believe you went to Bingo with a purpose in mind and had your heart set on the Grand Prize.

We can all learn a lot from you."

She wrote, "We can all learn a lot from you." Indeed. We can. My son's former teacher is very much a woman who understands a positive mental attitude and what that can do for a self-fullfilling prophesy.

Now, if you've ever played bingo, then you know that winning any prize is very difficult. People play all their lives and never win a Grand Prize. But winning it several times is almost unheard of. Last night, there were probably about seven hundred people playing and yet he won. It's always that way; seven hundred to one-thousand people playing and we always win. 

But, even before my son was born, I was lucky at winning these things. My wife too. And, don't think it is just luck. There is something to be said for a positive mental attitude or, may I go on a limb here? ESP.

My family and I have won at least a dozen grand prizes and at least seven free vacations to places all around the world.

But this is not a blog to brag to you about how lucky I am or we are. It is a blog to tell you how you can become this way. It's a not blog post to tell you how you can start winning Bingo. But, believe it or not, folks, winning at bingo and winning at life are EXACTLY the same thing. 

Winning is easy! It is easy, actually... Well, let me say that it should be easy... But people need to understand what "Winning" actually is. For most people, with a confused idea as to the definition of "Winning," it's "easier said than done." And you know why? Because most people are so negative and defeatist all the time. People are their own worst enemy. 

Think back to your school days. Think back to that guy or girl you remember that you envied. You thought they had everything didn't you? They always won. They were the best looking, they had the nicest car; they were popular, they always won at everything. They became class king or class queen. They had the coolest parents, the most beautiful girlfriend or boyfriend. They were truly lucky. You wanted to be like them.* 

My high school class king & queen. I thought they looked like movie stars!

Well, I hate sounding like a salesman, because I'm not selling you anything, but I'm here to tell you right now you can become one of those lucky people... Read on.

There are two really important things that you need to understand about becoming one of these lucky people. One is understanding what exactly it is that we are doing and its purpose in our life; and the second part is how these things affect your entire belief system. These two go hand in hand. 

The first part about understanding what it is that we are doing is, perhaps, the most important part. Today, we're using bingo as an example, so let's go with that. Think about this; is winning at bingo the best part of going to bingo? Is winning everything? I don't think so.

At bingo, I meet friends and other parents and always smile and shake their hands and say, "Hi!" We are all at bingo so, of course, the subject quickly turns to bingo. I always try to be extremely positive and say, "I always win!" They laugh. They don't believe me (the ones who knows us well don't laugh). Invariably, they all say the same thing,

"I never win." 

They say this with a voice of exasperation and defeat. Poor folks. They are totally and completely missing the point. They are really missing the boat in the bad lesson that they are unknowingly teaching their children subconsciously. Get this: I suggest to you that they are teaching their children defeatism and a losing attitude. 

I can imagine this family in my head; after "losing" at bingo (I mean, they don't win a "prize"), they hop in the car and go home. Dad and mom and kids are sad because they "didn't win." When they get into the house, dad takes off his coat and gives out a very loud sigh. "We lost again!" He says.

Is that any way to teach your children how to win? Is that anyway to teach your children how to be positive?  

Here is what I always tell my son before we play bingo;

"Remember the best part of bingo is not in the winning of trinkets or prizes, it is in the doing. Just being able to be here playing bingo with friends and family is winning. That is the "win." This is fun and it is a wonderfully exciting time we spend together. Just by being here together, we have already won. So smile and let's have fun!" 

It is. Playing bingo with my wife and son is a great memory and it is so very much fun. 

I tell my son this because I want him to be a winner. I want him to understand what "being a winner" truly is. This sort of thinking, this positive attitude, actually, I learned from an old Zen Buddhist saying,

"The joy is in the action, not in the result."

Can you understand this concept? The joy is in the action, not the result. Get it? I think people who truly love to paint or fish or golf, etc., can understand this. For the painter, a beautiful work is nice, but the true value and joy is not the finished painting, it is in the action of painting. For the fisherman, of course catching a fish is fun, but the true joy is standing there alone in front of nature and contemplating life - the joy is in the doing; for the golfer, the winning score is interesting, but soon forgotten; the real joy is in the day and the time considering the play. For all of them, the real value is in the action, not in the result. 

This is what is meant by, "The joy is in the action, not in the result."

Now, do you understand why, whether or not my son wins a big prize (a trinket), he knows, he believes and knows in his heart that he is a true winner? Can anyone deny that, regardless of prize, that we won merely by being able to go and play together and enjoy this moment together on our short time on this earth? 

Some people will scoff at this (they have a losing attitude). But let me ask you to consider this question: There are two children. They both have to go to school. One wakes up in the morning and says, "I don't want to go to school. School is no fun." The other wakes up and says, "I want to go to school. School is fun." Which kid gets good grades at school? Which kid becomes successful at school? Which kid is positive, is popular, gets the best girlfriend or boyfriend and becomes class king or class queen? And is considered a "Winner"

Simple, isn't it? It is the old chicken and the egg problem. Which came first? The kid liking school or the positive attitude? Which came first? Hating school or the negative attitude? And how did these children get these attitudes?

How do these attitudes affect our belief system? How can we change these attitudes? And, if we have children, how can we stop teaching them bad attitudes and start teaching them beneficial ones?

I think it is obvious how these attitudes affect our belief system. In the example above, do you want to be like the father above who comes home exasperated and continually expressed doubt and a defeatist attitude to himself or his children, or, do you want to be the person who understands that the joy is in the action and not the result?

Think about that: The family who thinks they "lost;" They just spent a wonderful time together, probably a rare time together, and they are so focused on winning some "stuff," (usually junk) that they fail to see the true value of what they have just done and they fail to see that just by being alive and being together that they've won the greatest prize of all!

I see this with people I meet everyday. They are worried about their job and the economy. They fear for the future. Almost everyone I see is this way nowadays.

But consider this, my friends; you are still here. I would wager a donut that you have had these fears and worries on and off for the last 5 to 10 years; "Will I have a job?" "What am I going to do?" "How will I survive?" With all of these worries what you are actually saying is, "How can I win?" Or, perhaps, "I never win."

Guess what? Thinking like that you probably won't ever win at bingo, and I'll bet that, even if you are winning, with that attitude, you'll never realize it either...

Today, many of my friends and many people are worried about their life and the future. It is natural to worry. I do it too! But I fight it. You should, you must, fight it too. Worrying, like saying "I never win at bingo," is creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. Stop it right now. If you say, "I never win," you won't win.

You need to start saying that you are winning (not "I'm going to win." You must say, "I am winning." In the present tense). Saying first. Repeating. This will start and plant the seeds of belief. When you believe, really believe, you can move mountains.  

From today, here's five things that you need to do to start on the track to believing that you can win at bingo and win at life:

1) Write down on three pieces of paper the saying, "The joy is in the action, not in the result." Tape one of the pieces of paper to the refrigerator and tape one in your car where you see it constantly and the last one in your wallet. Think about that phrase a lot. Repeat it out loud whenever or wherever you can.

2) Get a dollar notebook and start writing down your top 10 goals for your life and do it everyday! Here's how.

3) Wake up in the morning and the first thing you MUST do is think: "Smile! Today is going to be a great day!" If you can't remember to do this by yourself, then write it in large red letters on a piece of paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror.

4) Start using the Law of Attraction and positivity to create a good self-fulling prophesy to help you. Here's how

5) Start greeting everyone you meet with a happy and healthy "Hello!" or "Good Morning!" Stop sounding like you are dead to the world. If you greet people with an un-energetic salutation then you sound like you are losing. Stop it immediately. Everyone is searching for positive people. You should be that person. Instead of being "dark" and absorbing light like a sponge, you should give out light. People are attracted to light.

And, number six, OK, I said there'd be only five, so sue me...

6) Call your mom or dad or kids and tell them you love them and do it RIGHT NOW! Don't hesitate! Or, better yet, give them a great big hug and tell them yourself how much you love them and how beautiful they are. Realize that today is a fantastic day and you all are the luckiest people in the world... (Oh, and of you do go to bingo, take grandma... She's lucky, right?) 

Some people read this and think that I am a very lucky person. I am. But I've been through two divorces, a war with cancer, family members dying in bizarre car accidents, worrying about work as we all do (nothing special)... I've been through a lot of difficult times... But you know what? I never forget something special; I know that projecting negativity will just make things worse; I know that projecting positivity, in the face of great challenges, is creating a good outcome for myself and my loved ones through the power of the Law of Attraction. I know that, by being happy and thankful that I create a better situation for you and a better situation for myself.

Remember my friends, "The joy is in the action, not in the result."

Stay happy. Stay positive. Spread positivity. You already possess the greatest prize of all.

* Did you know that those people you envied in high school who you thought were truly lucky had parents that went through a terrible divorce or a parent who died when they were young? Or they had a sibling who was terribly handicapped? Or they had a younger brother or sister who died at birth? The difference between these people and negative people? These people didn't allow these things to create dark clouds on their horizons. They took the challenges and learned from them and those challenges helped them to grow into better, more positive, more loving people.... Think about it. Everything happens for a reason. Look for the positive and you'll find it - or create it yourself.

For my friends: Dale Yost, Naomi Yamada, Allison Sayne, Jp Valentine, Julie Rogers, Sheena Rogers, George Williams, George Chumly Cockle, Takatoshi Uchiyama; and also a thanks to the positivity of the Moxxor gang of JT, James Turner, Jared Turner and John Saylor! You guys all rock!