People You Meet: Ms. JJ Walsh

People You Meet: Ms. JJ Walsh

People You Meet: Ms. JJ Walsh

People You Meet: Ms. JJ Walsh

Also know as the “Inbound Ambassador.”

The joyful and exuberant Joy Jarman-Walsh (@jjwalsh) grew up in Hawaii and is a decades-long veteran of Japan.

Inbound Ambassador Join Button JJ Walsh

A psychologist by training, Ms. Walsh first experienced life in Japan as an ALT on the Mombusho sponsored JET program, many moons ago now.

Teaching and travel around Japan opened Ms. Walsh’s mind to new possibilities for work, culture, and lifestyle prompting her to settle into a long-term relationship with Amaterasu.

Perhaps her heart, like the heart of so many having come to Japan at that particular point in history, was touched by the spirit of the Japanese and their unique way of life.

Ms. Walsh is a powerful activist for sustainable solutions to the pressing issues facing our living planet.

JJ Walsh and Nishimura Kazuhiro at JapaneseFabric'MAEKAKE'~Anything

Looking for sustainable alternatives to industrial age material, Ms. Walsh is gracious enough to sacrifice her time to build a like-minded community throughout Japan, and by extension the world for positive motion toward our shared sustainable planet.

She host a daily online talk show interviewing guests who share visions, hopes, and desires.

There they explore what is fundamentally important to all of us as human beings, a healthy and sustainable environment for all in our shared world and for those who will come after.

One of the many fine characteristics I found in Ms. Walsh, is her deep sense of purpose and her sustained perseverance in her noble quest to change the world for the better.

Her wonderful laugh and variety of eyewear make her interviews sparkle with positive joy and a deep sense of community building.

In the depth of Ms. Walsh’s heart lies the spirit of high-quality customer service, and the need to align the changing face of Japan with the necessity of preserve culture, traditions, heritage as well as the daily quality of life of the local communities throughout Japan.

おもてなし

Her sustainability activism mandates that operations in the new tourism paradigm of Japan must also be done with targets to improve the quality of the natural environment through efficiency, zero-waste policies, and active stewardship.

She, as a visionary, emphasizes the balance between the needs to create sustainable business models, which balance profits with the needs of people and our planet.

Weaving a symphony of good will not only among the foreign community in Japan, but indeed along with her Japanese allies, globally she has taken a leadership position among those desiring a sustainable future.

Hearing the calling long ago now, along with her partner, Paul Walsh they also co-founded GetHiroshima in 1999.

Map of Hiroshima

There they developed close ties to residents, visitors, and local businesses in their community over many years.

Furthermore, raising two bilingual children in Hiroshima bound her even more tightly into her community while broadening her ether connections to wider and wider circles of friends, allies and her like-minded audience.

Starting in 2019, Inbound Ambassador is her platform to encourage businesses and entrepreneurs to adopt sustainable business practices.

It is also a place to promote positive examples and case studies of sustainable business success.

The mission is for these stories to promote awareness and more general adoption of sustainable, long-term-focused business strategy, for the good of the whole.

Ms. Walsh was kind enough to conduct an interview, and we had a really fun time talking about many things.

Interview is here.

Indeed, one has thought, could the Inbound Ambassador be the embodiment the sustainable spirit of hospitality as these novel and wise clean practices are adopted and are flowed into the mainstream?

Perhaps in this new tourism paradigm, Japan will now start to receive respectful guests not unlike pilgrims, where they can enjoy the multitude of unique Japanese flavours tickling each individual fancy in a way that is respectful to the Japanese, our society and the ancient culture of the Japanese.

Ms JJ Walsh Banner

Tale of Two Princesses

Tale of Two Princesses

Tale of Two Princesses

Tale of Two Princesses

It’s always interesting to observe the contrasting behaviour between different  royal households.

Recently there has been somewhat of a kerfuffle in the house of Windsor.

Serious allegation have been made by a new member of the House of Windsor against the royal family.

meghan markle in a tiara

Prince Harry, being the product of a broken home, looks to still be having a tough go, regardless of the obvious privilege that comes along with being a prince.

Having one’s beloved mother, Princess Dianna dying at the vulnerable age of 13, undoubtedly has left deep and lifelong scars on the heart and soul of this melancholy prince.

Prince Harry military uniform

Furthermore, with these unpleasant family dynamics playing out in the gossipy world media, he must be thinking just as his mother said as she was taking her last breath’s at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, after her assassination, she said “just leave me alone!”

Princess Diana

In Japan as well there has been somewhat of a mini scandal recently.

Thankfully, this issue greatly pales in comparison to the systemic problems facing the house of Windsor.

The fiancé of princess Mako, Kei Komuro’s mother had some type of financial dispute with her former fiancé, concerning the education fees he shouldered for Mr. Komuro’s education.

Princes Mako with Komuro Kei

When this issue came to light, the marriage was quickly postponed while this family’s issue was resolved in private.

The word dignity comes to mind when contemplating how the younger generation of the royal family should conduct themselves as public figures.

One would think, a royal family member would carry out their duties with dignity and honour, regardless of how they happen to feel.

Life is full of choices, and luckily for princess Mako, she gets to exit the cloister world of the Japanese imperial household, and become a commoner after her marriage to Mr. Komuro.

I’m sure she is anxiously awaiting her departure from the Japanese imperial household agency, which is known for its extremely strict protocols, just ask Empress Masako.

Imperial palace of Japan

Alas, the same thing cannot be said for princess Meghan, as she signed up to enter the House of Windsor when she married prince Harry, and all things such a marrriage entails.

Windsor Castle, The Oldest Castles in The World

Regardless of one’s position in society, one does not just marrying the object of mutual love, but one also marries the entire family, crazy or otherwise.

Let’s examine what the meaning of dignity is:

Our beloved Empress Masako for example, was a very promising diplomat, destined for important positions inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

But no, she sacrificed her career to marry the emperor and by extension also married Japan, and become our Empress.

How this woman’s life would have been so vastly different if she had not become the empress one can only imagine.

However, bound by a deep sense of duty towards the nation of Japan, she indeed sacrificed her life, and has lived most of her adult days under the thumb of the hidebound Imperial Household Agency.

Furthermore, in any other circumstance, even having just one child is looked upon as a family blessing.

This is not the case for Empress Masako, as she and  Emperor Naruhito have one daughter, Princess Aiko.

The problem lies with a law imposed by the GHQ after the war decreeing only male heirs can succeed the Chrysanthemum Throne.

However, the male heirs to the Chrysanthemum throne has dwindled to just three.

Practically speaking, in terms of age, there is only one other person, Prince of Akishino, the Emperor’s younger brother to take the throne.

Recently, a real dialogue about gender equality in Japan has been stirred up again, and one believes this is an excellent opportunities for Japan to shake off the GHQ edict and make its own rules in what is strictly a private Japanese matter.

Why not princess Aiko taking a husband in the Japanese tradition known as “mukoiri”, which is not uncommon in Japan whatsoever.

The main wish for the Japanese royal family is for them to continue carrying out their official duties with dignity and honour, as they acts as representatives of the Japanese people, and as a symbol of peace and unity between Japan and the rest of the world.

Japanese Royal Family

Goodbye Greedy JC

Goodbye Greedy JC

Goodbye Greedy JC

Goodbye Greedy JC

Putting oneself out there truly brings unique opportunities.

More so than the monetary compensation, these freelance assignments also offer extremely valuable life lessons, both pleasant and unpleasant.

An opportunity came along many years ago to interpret for a network marketing company attempting to enter the Japanese market.

My job was to support an American, “JC”, coming to “open up” Japan.

Here, one really got an in-depth look at a specific kind of American mind-set, in particular the mind-set of selfishness and greed.

Selfish Habits

This work entailed making calls on his behalf, interpreting in meetings, and other fundamental tasks he was not capable of due to the significant language barrier.

Japanese cultural barriers hiding beneath the surface can be much more deeply problematic when the guest also carry with them an air of cultural superiority and arrogance, especially when they know little to absolutely nothing about Japan.

All the more Mickey Mouse and somewhat farcical was that JC’s was clinically obese, a redhead with a goatee, and spoke in a high-pitched whiny voice.

The contradictions abounded, as the company he was trying to bring to Japan in a network marketing format was a health supplement company, and this very unhealthy man, both physically and mentally was a extremely poor, and ultimately failed choice to represent his company’s health and wellness story.

One recalls always being aghast as he constantly stomped all over the Japanese sensibilities with his boorish behaviour, and gruff and boisterous mannerisms, which is where one coined the term, “The Honky Stomp”.

He also thought it was appropriate to yell and curse over the phone for one of his own mistakes.

Greedy Boorish American Cursing into a Phone

Smiling to oneself while he yelled into the phone, one could visualize his redhead with flames shooting out, along with a very bright crimson face and highly elevated blood pressure.

Man With The Flaming Head

There was also some deep verbal drubbings in person as one came to the role of not only interpreter and guide inside the murky waters of Japanese business, but also to play his whipping boy.

Cultural Note: This is what is known as yatsu atari (八つ当たり).

One is certainly glad to have been in Japan for many years by then with a good sense of calmness and Stoicism in the face of this agitated, aggressive, and greedy American.

He would often make snide comments that whenever he looked at a Japanese person’s face all he could see was ¥10,000 notes.

1万円札

He would also refer to the prospective Japanese clients as “my retirement fund.”

This aligned with one’s understanding of this particularly sleazy type of American.

Many things about this belligerent and ultimate repulsive beast exuded heaps of negative energy, the kind of energy one associates with the culture of greed and selfishness.

This is where all people are looked upon as somewhere to extract money, as much money as possible, without any regard for the person at the opposite end of the transaction.

Understanding Selfishness in Our Society

Perhaps his company should have selected someone with a little more cultural awareness as this company, like so many other network marketing company trying to come to Japan soon failed, never to return.

Read about this kind of arrogant and selfish attitude in the post entitled “The Mickey Mousification of Japan.”

As with all stories, there is always an end, and JC’s came via a massive heart attack in his late 50s.

Heart Attack Killed JC

Regardless of how much money JC may have had flow through his grubby fingers during his life, one believes he lived a futile and meaningless life, for no matter how much material one accumulates  throughout a lifetime, the old adage will eternally ring true: You can’t take it with you.

For he could never be satisfied, nor could he stop comparing himself to others, which left him frustrated and ultimately bitter throughout his pointless life.

Many valuable lessons, some of them quite harsh, were not lost on his interpreter whatsoever.

For this confirmed one’s understanding that selfishness and greed are a form of self deception, which ultimately leads to a frustrating, empty, and meaningless life.

Greed as a Mental-Health Disorder

To be clear, the importance money and how to handle it properly is critical to a peaceful and fulfilling life, and money must be looked upon as a neutral conduit of energy only.

However, the accumulation of money for its own sake, and as one’s ultimate purpose in life can be viewed as an abject failure in the art of living, in what can only be considered an inconsequential life.

Indeed, a life well lived is ultimately made up of unique experiences and the people one meet while on this fleeting one-time journey.

unique experience

Bonus: Read more about the the importance of “once in a lifetime”, ichigo ichie below.

一期一会 〜 一生に一度 〜

Jomon or Yayoi?

Jomon or Yayoi?

Jomon or Yayoi?

Jomon or Yayoi?

One’s friend jokingly (or not), asked whether one is Jomon or Yayoi.

Image of Jomon People

Somewhat taken aback, one had to look into this question more deeply, and ponder it carefully, as these ancient eras at the dawn of Japanese civilization are not something that comes to mind naturally.

These two periods, Jomon and Yayoi are truly most fascinating in the history of the Japanese.

Jomon long house

Jomon and Yayoi each possess distinctive DNA-level characteristics to which a Japanese will posses both, with one of them being stronger than the other.

Jomon is regarded as the dawn of civilization on the archipelagos of Yamato. This is where the indigenous population as hunter gatherers came into full fruition.

Hunter gatherer civilizations live a seasonal lifestyle, entailing collecting buds in the Spring, fishing in the Summer, gathering nuts and grains during the Autumn, and hunting during the Winter.

Jomon hunter gatherer

There is evidence of animism having started during Jomon, and families being buried in clan groupings, suggesting the very earliest roots of the ceremonial veneration of one’s ancestors.

Cultural note: Veneration of one’s ancestors is the foundation of Japanese culture and society, and these conventions can be observe in action throughout Japan into this modern day.

Moreover, there are some important historical artifacts such as a certain pottery style, which was characteristic of the first phases of the Jōmon culture.

Jomon Pottery Example-01

These ancient objects were decorated by impressing hemp cords into the surface of wet clay, and these remnants of an ancient civilization are generally accepted to be among the oldest in the world.

Jomon Pottery Example-02

Interestingly enough, one can also see Jomon period clay figurines on display, and these figurines were assumed to have been used in fertility rites.

jomon fertility rights pottery

Indeed, old customs die hard here in the Land Of The Rising Son, and one can still see fertility rituals being carried on even now in modern Japan.

Honen Sai Matsuri (Fertility Festival) of Tagata Shrine in Komaki-City, Japanese here.

Yayoi is where a major influx of others came from the big land mass over yonder, and through this meaningful connecting with the outside world, the Bronze age occurred from around the beginning of Yayoi.

Yayoi Pottery 02

In fact, one could actually say these travelers from afar were the very first “gaijin” to land upon the shores of Japan, no visa necessary.

Not clear on what a “gaijin” is?

Translation: “outside person”

The Japanese language uses this two-character compound (外人) to discern people who are not original from the archipelagos of Japan, post Yayoi.

These newly arriving immigrants were racially different from the citizens of Jomon, and the intermarriage between the Korean and Chinese immigrants, and the original Jomon residents have resulted in the Japanese of today.

The population also expanded dramatically during this period to around 1 million inhabitants.

Note: It really looks like the fertility rituals worked!

This is also where along with the wide-spread implementation of wet-rice farming culture came seasonal rituals based on planting and harvesting.

apan's Vanishing Terraced Rice Fields

This could very well be considered the dawn of Shintoism, as there is evidence these citizens were the first to leave artifacts that can reasonably be linked to the development of Shinto.

So, a hunter gatherer (Jomon) or a wet rice farmer (Yayoi)?

My beloved and dear friend is definitely Jomon!

He has 7 children and a deep rooted hunting spirit. He leaves his dwelling daily and hunts for deals and treasure, and bringing home the bacon for his hungry clan at the end of the day.

The author of this story, however, is most defiantly Yayoi, as one came from afar away distant land, metaphorically still sometimes stinks of butter, and will always be unable to hide the fact of being born of a different skin tone than the Japanese.

Here one submits:

Do not judge a book by its cover..

One can not change birth circumstances, but can only make the choice to free oneself from the shackles of the past, as all join in commonalty and build a shared future as one.

Join other like-spirited fellow travelers where contributions are made to each others journey, as all travel one’s own unique journey

Heart-Head Dogu Heart Head Dogu, Gunma Prefecture, Important Cultural Property-Jomon

​Bonus: More Pottery Examples Here

I Don’t Love You, I Like You A Lot

I Don’t Love You, I Like You A Lot

I Don’t Love You, I Like You A Lot

I Don’t Love You, I Like You A Lot

I love you: aishiteiru.

I like you a lot: daisuki.

There is a significant contrast in the way the Japanese think about love as compared to the Occidental mindset.

Here is an experiment for you dear reader.

Ask your Japanese friend if they have ever said to their partner “aishiteru.”

愛書道

If the answer is yes, then ask how many times.

Unlike English, this powerful word is rarely spoken in Japanese, as ai (love), is something to feel, not talk about.

Of course, the answers will vary depending on the exposure they have had to Occidentals influence and their specific generation.

In particular, if asking an older Japanese person, they will probably answer, “Whaaat?”, and then seem a touch embarrassed.

Indeed, members of this generation have probably never even uttered the words daisuki, let along aishiteiru, to their significant other.

Daisuki, is what the Japanese would actually say to each other when they wish to express affection towards their partner.

The chances of them having used the word ai in Japanese, is minimal at best.

In this shared journey on the blog, we have discussed many different aspects of the Japanese mindset in the series entitled “language is a concept.

Indeed, love is also a concept, and the meaning it holds differ from culture to culture without a doubt.

For the Japanese do not conceptualize love as in the Occidental mindset.

Of course the Japanese feel love, as all humans do (unless you are a psychopath, narcissist, or solipsistic), they simply do not verbally express affection using the word ai to their object of endearment.

Indeed, if these words were ever uttered from the lips of one of the middle-aged or older generation of Japanese, their wife would look up on them with suspicion.

怒る主婦

This also goes for other acts of random affectionate and appreciation, such as bringing flowers home to the wife on an ordinary day.

Such acts of affection fundamentally lie outside Japanese social conventions.

In fact, the Japanese are not openly affectionate towards each other, especially in public.

Perhaps this is rooted in the culture of shame, of which the Japanese society has been built upon for centuries.

kimono clad girl covering mouth while laughing-01

For certain, the influence of the Occidentals on the younger generation of Japanese cannot be denied.

However, even modern Japanese, when compared to other more openly affectionate cultures such as Americans and the French, do not show open public displays of affection.

For the Japanese, showing physical intimate affection in public is clearly not in their psyche and something to be done in private.

Spot the difference true stories:

One’s first Japanese wife’s mother and father had never actually met or dated each other before they got married.

Mother-in-law was beckoned to a room where her elder brother, the heir to the farmhouse and father told her, “Next month you will go marry and Mr. *** in that village over there.”

There, her life had already been decided, and this dear, sweet lady had no say in the matter of marriage, whatsoever.

One’s own mother was the babysitter of father’s older brother, there they met, and the rest is history.

A love story to be sure, as my father in the eyes of his father-in-law was not good enough for his daughter, and he continued to reject the marriage until well into their journey, which is currently at 60 years and counting.

people in love

However, my grandfather saw how hard my father worked making a wonderful life for his own family (thanks for everything Dad), and admitted sometime before he died to my father, “You are the best son-in-law and man could have ever asked for.”

Certainly, in many societies throughout the world, people marry because they are “in love.”

This is also the case in Japan, but there is still an element of matchmaking that goes on here.

These are not matches made in heaven, but matches made in the office.

This is where the superior, sees his subordinate is now ready for a wife, and will choose a suitable partner either from within the company (preferable), or from a suggestion by one of the scheming matchmakers in his network.

As proof of this matchmaking history, one can observe this tradition at a Japanese wedding. There are 4 people seats at the head table, the bride, groom and the 2 matchmakers.

仲人実際結婚式

Ahhhhh to be in love…

Nothing is more joyous and exciting than the feeling of fresh “love.”

However, the joyful but temporary feeling of “love” will soon dissipate into other kinds of feeling that are not as pleasant as “love”, such as when one’s spouse fails to put the cap back onto the toothpaste, forgetting to flush the toilet, or uses a towel for something other than that particular towel designated purpose.

toothpaste cap off

Alas, how quickly the feeling of “love” can turn into something else.

Therefore, one submits this:

Make sure to consciously choose to love each other ever day, and when the inevitable tough days come, one will be ready to make the conscious choice to love the other, because just as with hate, and all emotions, love is actually a choice.

Along with love, be sure to sprinkle on lots of respect, understanding, compromise, perseverance, humour, and life-long laughter and affection toward one’s own object of “love.”

Japanese Imperial Family

Dr. Tetsu Nakamura is a Hero

Dr. Tetsu Nakamura is a Hero

Dr. Tetsu Nakamura is a Hero

Dr. Tetsu Nakamura is a Hero

Unsung heroes abound, but no one really hears about them and their altruistic deeds.

Why are these people’s noble deeds for the betterment of humanity unreported and unnoticed by the greater world?

These unheralded saints do not do this honourable work for fame or glory, but as the deepest inner calling to something higher than self.

One would have never know of Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, if he had not been assassinated in Afghanistan.

Memorial held in Afghanistan for late doctor Nakamura

This is where he dedicated his precious life to improve the living conditions our long-suffering Afghani brothers and sisters.

This is the distressful headline which brought this Japanese martyr to one’s attention:

‘He Showed Us Life’: Japanese Doctor Who Brought Water to Afghans Is Killed

Dr. Nakamura was a physician and honorary Afghan citizen who headed Peace Japan Medical Services (PMS), an aid group.

First arriving in the region in 1984 as a volunteer at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan he treat patients with leprosy and Afghan refugees fleeing the Soviet–Afghan War.

Through his time spent there, Dr. Nakamura identified malnutrition as a root cause for the health issues in the region, and from then onward broadened the scope of his work into agriculture and irrigation, and focused on building canal projects in eastern Afghanistan.

2017 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award

He drew inspiration from the irrigation canals built in his native Fukuoka more than 200 years ago without the aid of modern equipment.

Philosophically he stated, “One irrigation canal will do more good than 100 doctors.”

He also said: “A hospital treats patients one by one, but this helps an entire village. I love seeing a village that’s been brought back to life.”

Moreover, he also wisely declared: “Weapons and tanks don’t solve problems. The revival of farming is the cornerstone of Afghanistan’s recovery.”

No doubt true to his Japanese agrarian heart along with the humanitarian living within him, he understood the incredible power of unity when a community comes together for the good of all and work to produce food.

Sadly, Dr. Nakamura was fatally shot in a targeted killing on December 4, 2019 in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Tetsu Nakamura is a hero 03

These attackers also killed five others of their own Afghani brothers and sisters.

One can not fathom the devastation brought upon the affected families losing their bread winner, along with the dreams of a better life for their family on the way out of poverty.

Indeed this was senseless act of violence against a man who dedicated much of his life to helping the most vulnerable Afghans.

One can never know the darkness and evil residing inside the hearts of the assailants to carry out such a despicable act.

Is it a deep seated believe in a medieval dogma, indoctrinated from childhood, teaching hatred towards other because they are different?

Who knows, perhaps this vile act was simply carried out in exchange for one of the most powerful motivators of this material world; money.

Regardless, Dr. Nakamura’s incredible gift to the Afghani people, and the countless strangers’ live he touch with his divine work will far outlast any faceless and nameless assassins.

Tetsu Nakamura is a Hero

Dr. Nakamura was laid to rest in his hometown Fukuoka on December 11, 2019.

Tetsu Nakamura Funeral picture

April 12, 2021
Archive center in Fukuoka passes down lessons of Tetsu Nakamura

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