Tuesday, August 28, 2018

One Time God Gave Me ¥400,000! (About $4,000!)

About 20 years ago or so, I was doing a very late night radio show and I would arrive home at about 3:00 ~ 3:30 am every night.

One night, when I got to my apartment, there was a bunch of trash on the street. I thought it must have been there from my oldest daughter (who was often making trouble with her wild friends) and was worried that the apartment attendant would complain so I began picking up the trash.

There was a lot of bags from McDonald's and empty drinks and french fries, hamburger wrappings.

Anyway, when I just about finished up cleaning, there was also an envelope on the street so I picked it up. When I did, I knew it felt different. I opened it and inside there were forty brand new ¥10,000 bills, in serial number order, inside of it. The envelope was plain and had no names or addresses or anything on it.

"Wow! I'm rich!" I thought.

While I was dreaming of all the bad things I could do with that money, I ran upstairs and told my wife Yuka, who was sound asleep that I had found a bunch of money. I asked her what I should do with it. She said, "I don't care. Do what you want!"

I started dreaming of drinking, gambling, prostitution... all those stupid things stupid guys do with their money. Then I went to sleep.

The next morning when I woke up, my wife and kids were already awake and my eldest daughter said, "Daddy! Give me ¥50,000!" I said, "Why?" She said, "Because you found that money!"

I then realized that the money might be a curse. I started thinking about it.

As a parent, you always teach your children to be honest and to do what's right. How could I say that and then keep the money? That would make me look like a hypocrite. And what about that money? What if it were alimony or child support payments for some poor mother with small children whose husband ran away? What if that money was needed by some handicapped or old person? No! I couldn't keep it.

I had to do what was right. I had to do what I told my children to always do. I had to be honest.

Later that day, I took the money to the police station and told them the story. They couldn't believe it. The envelope didn't have any writing on it at all. They said most people would just keep the money. But I told them about how I was worried that the money was intended for some poor mother with starving children or a handicapped or old person who really needs it.

They said, "You are an honest man!"

I said, "I'm not that honest... I thought about keeping the money at first."

Anyway, I gave the police the money and they told me that they would look for the owner and if someone didn't claim it, they'd let me know and I could keep the money.

I thought, "Sure! In America, you can bet that the police would surely "find" someone to take the money for you." I knew I'd never see the money again and I forgot about it....

Well, six months later, I came home and my wife was smiling brightly. She told me that a postcard had come from the police and that no one had claimed the money and to come to the police station and they'd give the money back to me."

"Wow! Japan is a wonderful country!" I thought.

When we went to get the money. The policeman handed it to me and then, of course, I immediately handed it all over to my wife.....

I felt good about myself. Not only had I done what's right, but I got to keep the money too! See? There is a god!

Later that night, I was going to work again and thinking about how lucky I am. As I was walking along, I saw this very old Catholic sister carrying two cases of beer. I thought it was strange to see a Catholic sister carrying beer. I wanted to take her picture. I stopped and told her that I would carry the beer for her. She was so happy.

So I took the cases of beer and carried them across the crosswalk and down the street toward a car where another sister was waiting.

Man! Those cases of beer were heavy and that old catholic sister looked like she was about 40 kilograms and 80-years old. "How in the heck did that old frail lady carry those beers?" I wondered.

When we finally got to the car, the two sisters were very grateful and invited me to their party at their church. I declined. I had to go to work and I couldn't imagine me at a party with a bunch of Catholic sisters. I would be like Satan hanging around a kindergarten class of little children. No way.

I said goodbye to the sisters and turned back to walk back to the train station. 

By helping the sisters, I went out of my way for about 4 minutes. As I walked towards the station, there was an intersection with about thirty people waiting to cross the street. They were all about 20 meters in front of me when the light turned green and they all crossed. I walked behind them and when I was halfway across the crosswalk, I was shocked to find a ¥10,000 bill just laying in the crosswalk. Everyone had walked right over it and stepped on it and yet no one saw it!? I couldn't believe it. I picked it up.

If I hadn't helped the Catholic sisters and gone out of my way, then I would have never seen that ¥10,000!


Not only had I gotten back the ¥400,000 yen earlier that day, then I did a kind deed for some of god's secretaries and was rewarded again by finding ¥10,000.

This is a true story and I have had a few experiences like this in my life.

It proves to me that: I am a lucky person and that there is a "god" or some sort of "grace"; and, of course, always doing what is right has its own rewards.

NOTE: What happened to the last ¥10,000 I asked my wife if I should take the last ¥10,000 I found to the police. She said, "No! Because it is not in a wrapper and is naked money. And if I go there and say that so soon, they might think that I am some insane foreigner who keeps trying to give away money or that I like talking to the police... So I kept it. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Matsuchiyo- Life of a Geisha to World Premiere at 2018 Raindance Film Festival London!

The line-up for the 2018 Raindance Film Festival in London has been announced! Raindance Film Festival is the premiere independent film festival in the entire world. Wonderslist shows Raindance at the "10 Most Prestigious Film Festivals Around The World." https://www.wonderslist.com/10-prestigious-film-festivals/ 

I am very happy to announce that a movie I helped produce and did some small parts for has been selected at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival. It is especially thrilling because this makes two years in a row, that a movie I helped write and produce was selected at Raindance.

This year, 2018, 'Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha' was selected. last year, "Ghostroads - A Rock n Roll Ghost Story" was selected. 

Here is the teaser:

Want to see more?

This years' 'Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha' will have two screenings at Raindance. 

1st: Wed 3rd Oct 15:00 at VUE Theater in Piccadilly London

Main: Fri 5th Oct 17:30 at VUE Theater in Piccadilly London

For more information and tickets check out the Raindance Matsuchiyo information page: 

BIG NEWS!!! There will be presents from Japan that can be won by drawing for guests at both screenings! Matsuchiyo folding Japanese fans will be given out by drawing to at least 50 lucky fans each night! So be there for the "trip" to the real Japan you've always wanted!

The Movie:

'Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha' is a documentary about one of the last surviving true geisha in Japan. The story begins with Matsuchiyo's wartime childhood in the Imperial Japanese puppet-state of Manchuria and, consequently, a narrow escape from the Soviet Army onslaught at the end of World War II. She only just escapes with her mother, the only two surviving members of the family. They drift across post-war Japan and finally settle down in a spa-resort town named Atami where Matsuchiyo joins an “Okiya” (a traditional geisha agency), to pay the family debts and support her aging mother. During her apprenticeship years, Matsuchiyo practices, works, and plays hard, to become a true geisha. 
In her adulthood, Matsuchiyo becomes one of the top geisha in the city of Atami, which was booming during 'Japan's post-war economic miracle' era. Living with strict geisha traditions, Matsuchiyo experiences romance, tearful farewells, being a mistress of married men, motherhood and tragic deaths. In her maturity, she acquires a somewhat zen-like attitude and wisdom towards life. 
Today, in her 80's, Matsuchiyo the geisha, is as motivated and inspiring as ever. She still delivers a mesmerizing performance on stage as she actively joins a relief effort for the victims of Japan’s 2011 earthquake, tsunami and following the nuclear disaster. And, like a true artist, Matsuchiyo genuinely enjoys every moment of her life. 
'Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha' is narrated by her own son and film director, Ken Nishikawa, and it is adorned with hundreds of beautiful photos from Japan's bygone era. This film illustrates the trials and tribulations of the ultimate Japanese cultural enigma that is - The Life of a Geisha.
This years' 'Matsuchiyo - Life of a Geisha' will have two screenings at Raindance. 

1st: Wed 3rd Oct 15:00 at VUE Theater in Piccadilly London

Main: Fri 5th Oct 17:30 at VUE Theater in Piccadilly London

For more information and tickets check out the Raindance Matsuchiyo information page: 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

How to Win at Life! - Positive Thinking Will Create Your Own Luck! The Joy is in the Action!

One of the greatest hockey players in history, Wayne Gretzky, once said, "The shots you will definitely miss are the ones you don't take."

About one year ago today, I wrote a blog post entitled, "Winning at Raffles, Bingo and Winning at Life Are Exactly the Same! Here's 5 Simple Tips on How to Win at All of Them!" I know that it must have been about one year ago today because last night was the annual Bingo tournament at the local international school again and, just like last year, my son won again... In fact, he won four times out of twelve games. Granted that there's six to eight winners every game, so out of twelve games, there's a total of about 72 prizes... But in an auditorium of 700~800 people and most people playing more than two or three bingo cards, the odds of winning four times in one sitting are pretty minuscule.

A family that can spend time together having fun is winning at life!

That wasn't his record, though, one time he won five times in one sitting.

Anyway, from that blog post a year ago, "Winning at Raffles, Bingo and Winning at Life Are Exactly the Same! Here's 5 Simple Tips on How to Win at All of Them!" I wrote: 

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. 

But before I go into theory and philosophy more, allow me to continue with 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."

Yesterday, again, when my son won the first time, people were laughing and saying, "There he goes again! He always wins!" By the time he won the second, third or even forth time, people seemed dumbfounded. Actually, I was sitting across from my son and watching him. He came awfully close to winning another six times or so. A few times, he sat with a card that almost immediately had four numbers in a row waiting for his final number to be called. But the numbers didn't come. A few times, the announcer called and called out another dozen numbers or so, until someone else finally called out "Bingo!" 

My son, after winning the four times, was going after a record-breaking (at least for him) sixth time.

Now, how does winning at bingo and winning at life relate to each other?

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... 

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. 

A happy kid who actually believes... This is the true lesson I want to teach him about life... Who cares about trinkets?

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 any way 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," it is in the "doing." Just being able to be here playing bingo is winning. This is fun and it is a wonderfully exciting time we spend together. Just by being here, 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? 

So, friends, think about what is really important! Is it a trinket? Think about it; how many others are suffering? How many families would love to visit bingo together as a family but one child is ill in the hospital with a deadly disease? How many people in this world can't enjoy even having shoes upon their feet? Yet these families can come to the bingo event with their children and enjoy a wonderful exciting time together! Spending this short fleeting time with ones children while you can is winning in every sense of the word.

If your kids are healthy and you have the time to spend with them at a school function playing Bingo, or even reading a book together then, trust me, you have already won..... You are alive. You are together. You and your child are healthy? You are a winner.

So remember, my friends, what winning really is. Is it getting a package of trinkets or tickets to go somewhere or is it spending a lovely time together and giving your child your complete and total self and your dedication and time? 

No! We have "won" simply because we are there together having fun! Who cares about some trinkets?

So for this morning, look at your children. Do you have a happy and healthy family? Yes? Then remember, that whether it is a bingo or a raffle or a drawing, daily life or whatever; if your children are healthy and you are spending a fun time together with them, that alone makes you a grand prize winner in life! Never forget that.

So smile and say, "Yes! I won!"

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?

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?

Again, yesterday, before bingo started, I met a few people who claimed that my family always wins and that their family never wins. Again, I said to them what I always say,

"With saying that, it is very difficult for you to win. Imagine the Wright Brothers! Do you think they could have flown in an airplane had they not believed they could fly? Don't you think that everyone told them it was impossible? If you think you won't win, isn't that a sort of 'self-fulling prophesy'?

Many people told the Wright Brothers that, "If god had meant man to fly, he'd have given man wings." But the Wright Brothers didn't listen. They believed and their belief made them succeed. Do you think they could succeed if they didn't believe? Everyone knows the power of positive thinking!

Take the story of Jesus walking on water. In my thinking, man cannot walk on water; it is impossible. But, I believe that this story about Jesus is not literal. What I believe it represents is Jesus preaching faith and belief (read: the power of positive thinking). Of course man cannot walk on water. Walking on water is impossible. But! If man believes that he can accomplish the impossible, then he can.

That's what the story about Jesus walking on water represents to me... So can man walk on water? No! That's impossible, but in Matthew 14, Jesus walked on water and accomplished the impossible. See what I mean? The story of Jesus walking on water seems a parable to me to mean that if you believe, if you really believe, you can move mountains.... 

Gee, moving a mountain is impossible too... But people do that too!"

Believe and you can win! It doesn't matter if it's something as silly as bingo or a raffle... But believe and be positive and you can win at much more important things like life, love and success.

And now, from that former post, here's tips on concrete things that you can do  to turn your situation around and make things better STARTING RIGHT NOW:

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.


NOTES: More tips on winning at life, being more positive and a better parent:

One Easy Step to Becoming a Better Parent and More Successful at Life

Pocket Notebooks - the Secret of Millionaires and People Won't Listen

How to Stop Worrying so much and Become More Successful at Life

Make Your Own Success

One Easy Step To Becoming a Better Parent and More Successful at Life 

Power of Positive Thinking and Self Fulfilling Prophesy 

Positive Thinking: The Story of A Guy Who Defeated 4th Stage Cancer - Two Sides of the Positive/Negative Thinking Coin 

Top 3 New Video Countdown for May 6, 2023! Floppy Pinkies, Jett Sett, Tetsuko!

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