Ripple effects of transformational travel by Dr. Dolores Battle

When you drop a pebble in a bucket of water, you never really know how far the rings will spread.  I have had a professional interest in diversity in our country for a long time. More recent events have made me think about diversity and multicultural perspective in a global sense. The world is so vast yet so small. In order to understand our neighbors across the street, it is important to experience our neighbors across the globe. We need to understand who they are and where they came from in order to understand what they value and what they want to be, rather than let those decisions be ours based on our perspectives and our views of the world.

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In the last several years, I have travelled to China, Peru, South Africa and Cuba with Nanda Journeys.  As an educator and speech language pathologist, I never really thought about how enriching my life would in turn enrich the lives of generations of students that would follow me.

I recently received an email from a former colleague that talked about preparing teacher education students to be global citizens. It made me think about how one person can influence so many others for generations.  Dr. Wendy Paterson, Dean of the School of Education at SUNY Buffalo State, wrote:

 “I have been thinking of you a lot lately. As I have been reviewing some of my faculty for tenure and promotion, I remembered all that you did for me as you helped me attain the full professorship. Today I was reading the book 21st Century Skills and read two statements that immediately made me think of you: 1) “Diversity is one thing we all have in common.” 2) The skills to become socially adept, cross-culturally fluent global learners and citizens are more important than ever.”

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I wonder if you know how far-reaching your global initiative took us…we embarked on a process to emphasize the importance of global attitudes and multicultural knowledge for teachers.  In those first years, we engaged with some of our globally active faculty and were able to establish new PDS school contacts in Zambia and Chile. We are now on five continents with 6-8 active school sites where our students and faculty learn about education on a global scale. This has transformed Childhood and Exceptional Education…I just want you to see what you started.  As we say in teacher education, ‘The teacher will never know how much she (he) affects the future, only that she (he) will.’  You have most certainly had an impact on my life and on the lives of so many of our marvelous students.”

As one of her students said: “Travel is the one thing you spend money on, that actually can make you richer.” {Original author unknown}

Library & Information Services Journey to Peru. A reflection by Kenneth Schlesinger.

From November 25 – December 2, 2018, I participated in a Library and Information Services Journey to Peru, led by former American Library Association President Dr. Camila Alire.  Our group of eight consisted of academic and public library directors and some guests.  In addition to sightseeing and cultural immersion, our charge was to visit academic, public, and special libraries in Lima and Cusco to conduct facilitated discussions with our Peruvian library colleagues.

Lima is a bustling, cosmopolitan city of ten million located on the Pacific coast, serving as the the country’s commercial center.  One-third of the population lives there.  Combining restored Colonial buildings with modern architecture, its notorious traffic is reminiscent of Los Angeles.  Our first stop was Biblioteca Municipal de Lima [Municipal Library of Peru], located on the main plaza, serving as an archival repository of historical records of the region.

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Biblioteca Municipal de Lima

We had the opportunity to have an extended discussion with Maria Emma Mannarelli, Director of the Biblioteca Nacional de Peru [National Library of Peru].  The National Library is housed in an open, modern building celebrating the country’s prominent writers.  Committed to preserving Peru’s cultural patrimony, the Library contains impressive labs for conservation of historical manuscripts and vintage photographs.

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Preservation Lab, National Library of Peru

Not only does Sra. Mannarelli oversee the National Library, she is also responsible for the country’s network of public libraries.  She spoke candidly about the challenges of maintaining public library service throughout the country, particularly since funding is dependent on the local mayor, who may have other priorities in resource allocation.  Even a city as large as Lima only has in her estimation three functioning public library branches.

That afternoon we were able to visit one of these prime examples, the Public Library of Miraflores, considered the most attractive and vibrant in the city.  Library Chief Beatriz Prieto gave us a tour, and informed us about their proactive outreach activities including bringing books to senior centers, low-income communities, and even the beach!  This stimulated our perceptions about how we could more effectively serve our surrounding communities.

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Public Library of Miraflores

Perhaps the highlight of the trip was our meeting at Pontifical Catholic University [PUCP], an elite private university founded in 1917.  We engaged in a lively, interactive discussion with Library Director Kathia Hanza and her unit heads.  Not surprisingly, they face similar challenges of U.S. academic libraries:  how to most effectively embed library resources within the curriculum; build dynamic collections with limited resources; actively solicit the support of Deans and the Vice Rector [Provost].  One member of our group, Dean of Libraries at University of Nevada-Las Vegas, offered to send two of her faculty members to PUCP to advise on assessment and developing persuasive metrics.  Through the efforts of Lehman Library webmaster John DeLooper, we were able to advise PUCP how to incorporate LibGuides [Research Guides] into their course management system, a practice we had only recently developed.

Pontifical Catholic resides on a beautifully landscaped campus with noteworthy modern architecture.  Library colleagues showed us their brand new Engineering Library, an appealing, state-of-the-art edifice facilitating access to multimedia technologies and 3-D printing.  Every seat was taken by students working at the end of the semester.

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Engineering Library, Pontifical Catholic University

From Lima we ventured to Cusco, the original Incan capital, a gem of Colonial architecture surrounded by the Andes with dazzling, ever-changing light  Cusco is situated at 11,000 feet.  Unfortunately, our visit to Universidad San Antonio de Abad was cancelled due to a labor strike.  However, we toured El Centro Bartolome de las Casas [CBC Library], a unique special library of 53,000 volumes documenting Andean culture featuring anthropological, cultural, demographic, linguistic, and literary monographs.  We also visited the recently restored Convent of San Francisco de Asis, which has a manuscript library of 18th and 19th century tomes of ecclesiastical history undergoing preservation.

And we pursued some leisure activities, including the Larco Museum in Lima, which has an outstanding archeological collection of pre-Columbian artifacts.  On our final day, we visited a girls’ orphanage in Cusco, which involved both meaningful interactions and community service.  Dining was a consistent pleasure, partaking of Peru’s extensive produce (3,000 kinds of potatoes!), and sampling ceviche, alpaca, octopus, and guinea pig.  The Peruvian people, warm and gracious, were wonderful hosts.

No visit to Peru would be complete without a sojourn to Machu Picchu, the sacred ruins of Incan civilization, located within a breathtaking setting.  Justifiably one of the seven wonders of the world, this testament to Incan achievements in architecture, agriculture, and astronomy inspires awe, reflection, and sobriety.  While the invading Spanish ultimately decimated this advanced community, they nevertheless documented it through their historical journals and narratives, contributing to our knowledge of the legacy of this unique civilization.

Thank you to Kenneth Schlesinger, Chief Librarian, Lehman College for this article.

Japan: Ideal Destination, Ideal Nanda Journey

In October of 2018, Dr. Nada Stotland, an accomplished and world renowned psychiatrist, led a journey of fellow mental health professionals to Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan.

Dr. Stotland had previously enjoyed traveling to Japan with her family and was eager to return, in a professional capacity, to explore Japan’s attitudes and policy toward mental health care. She also remembered how kind and gracious her hosts were and was excited for her fellow mental health professionals to experience the warm hospitality of the Japanese people and the supreme beauty of Japan.

During their time in Japan, Dr. Stotland and colleagues visited with academics, clinicians, government officials and business owners all involved in the advancement of mental health policy and practice in Japan. The professional exchange allowed for roundtable discussions on current trends, challenges and new approaches to mental health in Japan.

Speaking with us ahead of the journey, Dr. Stotland said:

“The world is a big place.  Learning first-hand about mental health care in widely differing countries helps us to think outside our local boxes and to appreciate what can be done with different sets of resources, policies, and attitudes.”

Upon her return, Dr. Stotland wrote:

“Having led more than ten mental health journeys, to countries on six continents, and enjoyed excellent professional experiences, cultural enrichment, and travel logistics on each, I found that Japan offers a unique combination of exotic culture and modern development.

The Japanese insistence on the freshest seasonal produce and fish means that every snack and meal is interesting and everything is perfectly safe to eat and drink. Cultural norms are different from those in the West—but conveniently include order, punctuality, and safety. The neon and bustle of the Ginza contrasts with the beauty and serenity of mountains, rivers, forests, and the ocean. We especially loved being dressed in kimono (no plural) for a traditional tea ceremony. Don’t miss Japan!”

Each time we create a Nanda Journey, we do so with the utmost care given to ensuring our professional participants are afforded the opportunity to connect with fellow professionals in varied yet relevant professional settings. It is also important to us that we showcase the very best there is to see when in a new country. The goal is not to merely rush through the iconic locations, but rather to take a moment to immerse in the culture and engage with community members in meaningful ways.

It is always a proud moment for us when we receive kind words from our leaders and guests. It affirms our love of travel and why we do what we do! Our own little piece of Nanda (Joy in Sanskrit).
Thank you, Dr. Stotland, for over a decade of faith in our team. It is an honor and a privilege to be continually selected as your global professional travel partner.

We are excited for your Mental Health Journey to Iceland later this year.

Giving Spirit

By Dr. Lynn Brinckmeyer

As I reflect on the music education delegation to Argentina and Chile last summer, I keep picturing the young orchestra students at the Buen Consejo School (Buenos Aires, Argentina) who performed for us. They were so excited to have music teachers from the United States visit their school. Several members of our delegation donated instruments to the school because it was located in a poor community and it depended solely on donations to exist. When West Virginia teacher, Sherri Tadlock, presented a used flute to the school, the students were elated and the flute teacher was overcome with joy. With tears streaming down her face, she explained that one of the students needed to use her flute because they didn’t have enough instruments. I’ll never forget watching Sherri play with all of the other flute students and seeing the joy on everyone’s face.

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The staff members of Nanda Journeys go above and beyond what is required to ensure that the delegation has a safe, informative and experience-filled trip. We have a great time with our international guides and I have always felt safe and cared for in these delegations. It is important to me that we have an educational experience because I have an intense desire to learn about music education and the indigenous folk music wherever I travel.

The insights I’ve gained because of my travels to other countries goes beyond the limitation of language. I’ve learned that people are the same all of the world: they want a better life for their children; they have hopes and dreams just like we do; children are beautiful, curious and mischievous in every corner of the globe. More and more I appreciate all of the luxuries and experiences life in the US provides. My awareness of my privileged life is much stronger now than before I traveled abroad.

I didn’t know what to expect when we traveled to Morocco. The kaleidoscope of new architecture, mosaics, camels, flowing tapestries, fragrant/exotic spices and warm, friendly people expanded my mind and heart even more. We danced and played drums and other percussion instruments with musicians in several restaurants. And the food was AMAZING!

When you spend up to 10 days in another country with other colleagues from the US we share experiences that form deep bonds of friendship and respect. Everything is new and unfamiliar and the language differences can be a challenge at times. We are all supportive of each other and these trips have fostered deep friendships with people who might never have crossed my path. We share teaching strategies, stories about our families and unexpected experiences. Our bus broke down on the freeway on our way to a coastal city in Chile. Some people might have been upset or frustrated but we actually had a great time sitting and chatting with each other, so when the “rescue” van came to get us we were actually surprised to see it drive up.

I still feel connected to each of the delegation communities that have traveled together. Whenever I hear something in the news about a country we’ve visited memories immediately pour into my mind with images of moments we shared together and with the people we met on our trip.

It’s been my privilege to lead music education delegations for nearly ten years. Each time I venture to another country and meet people steeped in unfamiliar cultures I am reminded of our differences and, more importantly, our similarities as humans. I come home a different person after each trip and I am grateful for these opportunities and am eagerly looking forward to our next music education journey to Australia.

Dr. Lynn Brinckmeyer – Professor of Music and Director of Choral Music Education at Texas State University.

 

Tips for traveling with anxiety

Does Anxiety & Panic Keep You From Fulfilling Your Travel Dreams?

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It happens to the best of us. Those pesky gremlins inside our head telling us a whole manner of untruths that we simply can’t brush away. For some, traveling can be an anxiety trigger. At its worst anxiety may stop us from fulfilling our true potential including taking those long dreamed about global journeys.

Check out this article by She Explores Life for some fabulous tips on traveling with anxiety. Annette has some fabulous personal advice to offer and some great resources!

One of my favorites tips is #6  Find a travel companion who understands anxiety and panic: Take your first couple of trips with a friend, family member or partner who understands anxiety, panic and how to best support you. This is another approach to exposure therapy. Bonus: you get to make wonderful memories with someone you love!

 

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If you don’t have a travel buddy, consider joining a small group journey, maybe a weekend getaway close to home at first. As you add to your toolkit and practice anxiety busting techniques {maybe those suggested by Annette} you may soon feel the calling to branch further afield and take your first global journey.

The World is waiting, where will you go?

– Nicola Balmain

Professional Enrichment Travels with Nanda Journeys – A leader’s perspective.

How do you spell “first rate?”  I have travelled with Nanda Journeys to Peru, Cuba, and South Africa. The trips were worry-free, so we could concentrate on the cultural global experience.

I have included some photos from my travels.  The accommodations are always first rate.  The meals and cultural experiences are also top shelf.  With qualified guides, we had ample opportunity to learn not only about the people, but also about the place.  From safaris, to jungle river exploration, to arts and architecture—the trips helped enrich my personal and professional life.

The cultural experiences in hospitals and schools for us were varying and enlightening. I visited schools in the Andes mountains where the children spoke three languages; schools for the deaf in Johannesburg where all children had cochlear implants; and schools for the deaf in Havana where sign language was used. I visited a school in a township of Cape Town where the children’s hearing and vision was being tested using blue tooth technology since there was no electricity in the school. I visited the sparse polyclinics in Cuba,  a rehabilitation center in the Andes mountains of Peru, and a state-of-the-art hospital in Johannesburg. All the visits were varied and all showed that people everywhere are doing what they can to deliver services given their circumstances.

But the best feature of the travels is the opportunity to develop professional relationships with like-minded people. The friendships and relationships have extended beyond the time of the trips themselves. The travels have also enriched my professional life. Since returning from South Africa, I have made conference presentations at national conferences with my colleagues that I met in Johannesburg.  I have consulted on a publication about speech language services in South Africa and published an article on health care in Cuba.

I am looking forward to the next planned journey to Vietnam and Cambodia in the spring of 2019.  Because of the interest in interprofessional service delivery here, and because of the mode of delivery of services in southeast Asia, the spring trip is intended to be interprofessional with rehabilitation specialists.

About Dr. Dolores Battle

Dr. Battle is Professor Emeritus of Speech Language Pathology at SUNY Buffalo State. She is the former president of both the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP).  She has received numerous awards for her work in multicultural and global issues in the profession including Honors of ASHA, Honored member of the IALP, The Diversity Incentive award from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Science and Disorders.  She is widely published in communication disorders in culturally and linguistically diverse populations and  has traveled professionally to 37 countries on five continents including in Kenya, South Africa,  Brazil, Greece,  Switzerland, Denmark, Canada,  and Australia.

Family Recipes from Kerala

We were thrilled to hear from Anjan Mitra who shared just how inspired he and his Executive Chef, Arun Gupta were by their recent journey with us to Kerala, India. So inspired were they, that they have adapted their spring menu at their two San Francisco restaurants DOSA SF, to reflect the home-cooked tastes they experienced in India. Here they reflect on their journey and share some insights in to their Nanda Journeys, Kerala inspired menu! Thank you Anjan and Arun, we look forward to our next journey together and of course your new menu!

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The best dishes you can eat are definitely the home-cooked meals prepared in India that reflect the cuisine of the respective regions, the influences of their community, while using fresh, local ingredients in family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.  Many of these dishes never make their way to the restaurants in India, let alone the U.S. or London (which is certainly a hot spot for great Indian food).

Consider the rich diversity of delicious recipes prepared everyday by countless families in a country of 1.3 billion people and you realize that we have barely scratched the surface! 🙂

For this reason, Executive Chef Arun Gupta took a two-week culinary trip to India to cook with several families and local chefs in Kerala, along the West coast of Southern India.  This picturesque region has forty-four rivers that flow from the Western Ghats, and gently meander into the Arabian Sea to create a dense network of waterways known as the Backwaters; a picturesque ecosystem that defines not just the flora and fauna, but the lifestyle of the local people.   You will see miles of rice paddy fields, millions of coconut palms and thousands of fishing nets all across this thriving landscape.     The climate, topography and soil also makes it the spice capital in a land of many spices!

 

In addition to eating a various spots every day, Chef Arun Gupta explored the Spice plantations of Periyar and Kumarakom, enjoyed delicious family meals at the Home Stays of the Philipkutty’s Spice Plantation and the Kalaketty Rubber Plantation Estate.    This region has a relatively significant presence of Christians and Muslims who define their own non-vegetarian culinary styles with dishes such as Fish cooked in banana leaves, Mutton Biryani and Beef Chile Fry.

Many of these local dishes are currently on our Spring Tasting Menu at DOSA on Fillmore which includes different dishes that are prepared to be shared family-style, and start with light bites and a delicious spice-driven salads.  We promise it will transport you to this wonderful region of Southern India without being over indulgent.   Or you can opt for our a la carte dishes like the Phillipkutty Chicken Curry (the best one we’ve done to date), Lake Kochi Grilled Prawns, Asparagus Avial, Kerala Fish Fry or even the Periyar Curried Pork, which is only served at the DOSA on Valencia menu.   Of course, some ingredients change daily depending on what’s available at our local farmer’s markets in San Francisco.

We are exploring hyper-regional and obscure dishes from India that we love, but are unfamiliar to most people in the West!  We might not serve what people are commonly familiar with in the U.S., however, we deeply respect traditional Indian recipes, techniques and spices, to create dishes that use seasonal and local ingredients.   We are excited to help you explore this richly diverse cuisine that varies from region-to-region, city-to-city, and often household-to-household.

Should you find yourself in San Francisco, be sure to explore Arun’s new menu at DOSA on Valencia, or DOSA on Fillmore.

 

Rise and Shine Globally – Dr. Dolores Battle

What could a speech-language pathologist learn about clinical service by travelling to South Africa?

Imagine visiting a small Anglican school in a township outside of Cape Town South Africa, called Khayelitsha, which is home to 2.4 million black and colored persons who were displaced during the apartheid era. Imagine learning how the 3E Learning Project aims to screen the hearing and vision of 10,000 5-6-year-old children in underserved communities. Imagine a community where 40% of the residents are under the age of 19 years and where the annual income for a family of four is the equivalent of $1872 USD.   Imagine a school with no electricity and no running water and no indoor toilet facilities.  Imagine a school where the official language of instruction is English, but the language of the community is Xhosa, or Sotho, or any one of 11 other official languages in the country.  Imagine a school where books are not in evidence and where there is no computer or television.  Imagine hearing screening being done using bluetooth to deliver the sounds and an app on a mobile phone being used to test vision.  Despite all that there is, and all that there is not, imagine a mural painted on the wall of the school that says, “Rise and Shine Globally”.

Imagine visiting the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, home of Bishop Tutu, and the city of Johannesburg, home of Nelson Mandela.  Imagine visiting the island where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years and who later forgave those who retained him and later became the president of the country to lead its transformation to a country where equality is the goal of everyday life.  Imagine visiting the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, and the District 6 Museum in Cape Town, and talking with those who lived through apartheid and are now involved in transforming the diverse nation to  its place in modern society driven by a recognition of the value of diversity but the importance of equality.

Imagine standing on at the Cape of Good Hope and reflecting on a vast country with diverse people, diverse geography, diverse vegetation and amazingly diverse animal life.  Imagine being among the elephants, lions, rhinoceros and hippos within days of being among African penguins, seals and baboons.

Imagine what we can learn about the glories of the world around us, the wonder of what our fellow man has accomplished against all odds, and the challenges that remain and optimism of what the future holds.  Imagine what the world could be if we all took the advice from that school in Khayelitsha to “Rise and Shine Globally”.  What a wonderful world it would be.

Impressions —A Human Resources Journey Through Japan. Dr. David Miles

In November of 2017, I traveled with China Gorman and Gerry Crispin on a Nanda Journeys continuing education experience to Japan.  This is a random collection of thoughts and opinions seeing Tokyo and the surrounding areas with a group of loosely related HR executives.  Most of the group have travelled together on prior HR journeys with the Nanda Journeys team, to such areas as Cuba, India, China and other locations.  The focus was to experience the people, culture, education, business and labor environment in real time as well as to participate in the “farm to table” agricultural life.

This journey, like the ones before, provided an unforgettable experience.  Learning about world cultures and people is an awesome privilege.  A special thanks to all that made this possible from the team at Miles LeHane for their support; our clients; Nanda Journeys; the participants and of course all of the people in Japan who made sure that we had an educational, safe environment and an enjoyable learning 9-day experience.

Impression 1 – The People

ToykoDay to day life is played out in a very small geographical area with 13 million people in and around Tokyo.  Think lots of people in a total space about half the size we would be used to in the Tokyo metropolitan area.  Yes, physically they are smaller in stature and size (I should be that slender!) but are amongst the most courteous and helpful when engaged.  Some are shy, but culturally it is not appropriate to stand out and or make excessive noise or talk loudly.  While this may seem unnaturally quiet it is a norm you soon learn to appreciate.  In fact, you start adopting this approach when in a group setting, always mindful about others in a crowded space.

Impression 2 – The Environment

We may talk about common problems such as trash and litter.  The people in Japan live a life that is in my opinion very respectful of the environment.  For example, trash and litter are basically nonexistent.  There are no public trash cans except in food locations.  You are expected to carry your trash until you locate a receptacle.  It is the cleanest city, roads, highways and public areas I have ever witnessed.  While they do clean the public areas, they do this during the middle of the night to be efficient.  We even witnessed the cleaning of a bullet train of 9 cars to include “reversing each seats direction” in under 10 minutes by a crew of just a few workers. Homes, public spaces and businesses all follow a very strict level of cleanliness.

Impression 3 – Structure and Procedures

Hitotsubashi University round tableMuch of Japan follows a culture of compliance and structure as compared to the US. While on the surface this may seem negative to some, it certainly has advantages when integrated across all areas.  For example, education is very structured and provides a solid foundation that has universal meaning.  Employment is also structured in that ALL college graduates are offered equal starting salaries when graduating.  Literally all hiring is done over a few weeks. For example, it is expected that when a family decides to have children that the mother will take years off to raise their children.  In addition, the adult children will care for aging parents.

Impression 4 – Life on the privately held farm

Japanese Farm landsFood and dietary are much simpler in Japan.  Fresh food and an emphasis on fish from the surrounding waters of the country with a staple of a few starches such as sweet potatoes, other root vegetables, a variety of greens and of course rice; provide the basics at all meals.  Japan prides itself on a high level of self-sufficiency in feeding the population.  Given the environment-mountainous from volcanoes-think Mount Fuji- and being surrounded by ocean water, most items when served in balance provide an extremely nutritious diet.  Preparation, natural flavors and using some seasonings, provides a variety but healthful food culture.  Yes, there are fast food restaurants and other processed food items, but from a cost and diet perspective the people prefer to “eat healthy” and more natural.

Our journey included 2 nights and 3 days living with a “farm” family in their home and practicing traditional life style.  This was quite an eye opener experience.  First, sleeping on a floor with the traditional tatami mats is a concept I do not plan to adopt (I enjoy my Marriott plush foam 10” mattress too much). Eating at a low table on a cushion –no shoes of course- is something that I also will not adopt.  The simple life of minimal creature comforts along with the work of running a farm, is something I am pleased to have experienced but am glad to be back into my normal routine.  Believe me, they work hard and steady from sun up until the end of daylight.  I must admit that the meals were some of the freshest I have ever eaten.

Impression 5 – Trains, Planes, Automobiles and other

With so many people in a smaller geography, transportation is a key focus area.  It is amazing to view the highways (what we would call interstate roads) from a macro perspective.  ToykoAs you fly into Narita airport (90 minutes from downtown Tokyo) you are immediately focused on the number of waterways throughout the entire coastal area.  In conjunction with staying in harmony with the land, the major roads are created as elevated roadways along the “river” waterways therefore allowing the land for buildings.  Fortunately, snow is not common in Tokyo but the temperatures do drop below freezing.  These elevated roads connect with a series of bridges and tunnels that rival no other location I have visited.  The underground main tunnels through certain segments of the city make the Boston “big dig” look small.  As expected the tunnels were clean, did not leak or have pot holes, and appeared as accident free as you would hope.  A polite society also carries over to polite drivers.  Impressive!

Bullett Train.jpgThe cars were mostly those that are produced by Japan.  Yes, a few luxury imports but mostly Japanese cars.  Also, the government supports hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles which are abundant.  Since Japan has very limited natural energy sources, pure electric cars are at this time not very common.  With a population of approximately half of the United States and people clustered in key areas, public transportation is the lifeblood of most workers.  We rode a bullet train, which some utilize on a daily basis, at speeds of 140 plus miles per hour.  These trains then connect with other more local train s and rail options.  While buses are available they are not a primary source of transportation as many streets are narrow.  A surprising number of bicycles and moped supplement public transportation.

Impression 6 -Traditions

Japanese WeddingEverywhere you go in Japan has a long history and values tradition.  From the appropriate and respectful “nod” or “bow” to the presenting of your business card, is all done with respect for others.  What is more important is that the people do care about the meaning of these traditions and learn them from both the family and the education system. The joy of greeting and saying goodbye is equally important.  Taking time for these little gestures builds a feeling of respect amongst all.  We also had to opportunity to visit a couple of Temples and Shrines and observe 6 or more weddings.  Again, these sacred places are open for Weddings, Religious services, tourists and locals to enjoy all.  Most are free of charge to everyone except for Wedding Ceremonies.  Families come together from the youngest to the oldest.

Having formal tea is also a tradition with strong religious overtones. Many of the pottery cups and tea pots have significant design implications.  For example, we were served in special reserved cups that were made for the 1964 Olympics.  Note 2020 will bring the Olympics back to Tokyo.  The brewing processes, the tea leaves, and the small treat candy is all important to the gathering for Tea.  Respecting the past-celebrating the present-and hope for the future is all embedded in the ceremonies.

Impression 7 – Language-Kimonos-Calligraphy

Calligraphy LessonAs expected, language barriers are always difficult to navigate.  While living with our “farm family” the four of us and our hosts utilized simple body gestures and hand movements to attempt to communicate.  This proved both interesting and somewhat amusing.  In the end it all worked well. For all business meetings an interpreter was provided by our host.  While many government and professionals understand other languages, all speak Japanese on a daily basis.  Fortunately, with a little effort we were able to navigate.

One of our opportunities was to learn calligraphy, an art form in Japan.  This was to say the least, difficult for me.  But I did gain an appreciation of Japanese letters (3 styles over the centuries).  In addition, we also made decorative paper notes and were fitted with a Kimono for a Tea Ceremony by the Buddhist Priest. My thought -t hank goodness for word processes that make perfect Japanese letters!

Final Thoughts

Like prior journeys this will always be remembered. A smaller group of 14 allowed for more time to share and process our experiences. I will continue to mentally draw parallels and differences between prior trips.  What stands out most is the genuine “care” embedded in day to day life and relationships.  Yes, they really do care about you and your needs as a person.  The sincerity of how they interact, learn from you and share their knowledge is encouraging.  A highly successful culture that has endured for centuries looks forward to the future.  Yes, they too have issues: a declining birth rate of less than 1.4 / couple.  An aging population putting social programs under stress.  A shortage of talent in the work force and of course the ongoing global disruptors that we face also. But in summary the people of Japan are up for and open to the challenge.  It was a personal honor to have this experience which they made possible.

Dr. David Miles SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CMF
Chairman Miles LeHane Employable Talent

 

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“All in a day’s (or week’s) work…”

The path to entrepreneurship has been an enlightening one.  I have learned so much and been humbled by just how much it takes to launch and grow a new business. As a self-confessed procrastinator with “shiny new toy” syndrome, I found it difficult to create a routine for myself that ensured I focused on both the exciting, and not so exciting tasks required to manage my business. This challenge plagued me during my corporate career, however, with a more structured environment and project deadlines, I was able to course correct and ensure I didn’t drop the ball. Truth be told, procrastinators work best with hard deadlines, so the pressure served me well!

Today the responsibility sits firmly with me to determine my own priorities and ensure the needs of the business are met.  I’ll admit the task can sometimes fill me with dread while other days be a great joy. Free from structure, I’m able to allow my mind to explore new ideas unencumbered, but this is both a blessing and a curse. On the upside, I can let my imagination run wild and I can act quickly on a new idea. Conversely, I miss the energetic debates and conversations with my esteemed colleagues, the energy, the building upon an initial thought, the support and collaborative promotion of a new project.

In the last few months I began to realize I needed a little structure (not too much) and set about trying to find a solution that would fit my “busy brain” personality.  In February and March, I attended two very enlightening workshops for women entrepreneurs.  The first was a three-day Women Rocking Business Workshop with CEO and Founder Sage Lavine, The creator of the Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy and online Women’s Business Training Programs, she has shared the stage with Neale Donald Walsch, Jack Canfield, Janet Attwood and many more. Sage introduced the “Freedom Schedule” concept and how she works three weeks each month while running a multi-million-dollar business. That got me listening! While I do not presently aspire to that (in a year or two maybe…) the concepts Sage introduce resonated with me and started the wheels turning. She walked us through an exercise where we began to structure our week and allocate themes to each day to allow for a greater focus and allocation of time to specific tasks and projects.

Sage Lavine Freedom Schedule
Photo Credit Sage Lavine, Women Rocking Business

 

 

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Jackie Morgan MacDougall

Immediately following the Women Rocking Business event, I drove to LA for the launch of a dear friend’s new business Forty Thrive. Jackie Morgan MacDougall is passionate about helping women become the best version of themselves.  She is dedicated to supporting women in the best years of their lives to launch their dream business, get healthy, create and fulfill their bucket-lists, and live out the life they have envisioned for themselves. Jackie talked about committing to yourself and for me that spoke volumes. We can often commit to the business, but without commitment to yourself you are somewhat limiting the possibilities for yourself and your business.

 

So, what ultimately did I learn and what am I doing differently today? I now have a new approach to the work week that provides me with a structure that has some fluidity to it (allows the busy brain to play sometimes!) and creates focus where it is needed the most.

MARKETING MONDAYS – designed for all things marketing. Blog posts, social media ideas, PR and media, new web pages, promotional ideas, creative space

TEAM TUESDAYS – Nanda Journeys is a remote office with team members and partners across the US and the around the world. Each Tuesday we spend time connecting, catching up on our priorities, what’s new with everyone and how we can help each other stay on task

WHAMAZING WEDNESDAYS – my mid-week recharge! Today is about doing everything I love, connecting with my network groups, analyzing data (I love a good pivot table project!), and “me time” be that a yoga class, time to reflect or time to have fun

THRIVING THURSDAYS – Jackie taught me to focus on Thriving Forward, today is all about how we can grow the business and thrive. Connecting with potential leaders for our programs, looking at our prospects and designating projects to follow up and nurture our leads, new program ideas

FEARLESS FRIDAYS –  today is about tackling everything I have been avoiding or putting off! By clearing my “nagging” to do list I can go in to the weekend free of guilt and feeling accomplished.

I most certainly do not have my new week mastered, but I sure am seeing an improvement in my productivity and creativeness and the business is THRIVING  so I guess that tells its own story!

Share in the comments below how you organize your time, I’d love to hear your ideas.

Happy Thriving,

Nicola

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