My lovely wife, Ashley, will be contributing new content on various travel related topics. We just got back from a 19 day trip to Italy, including a stopover in London, England. Ashley planned the majority of our long vacation. While this was my first visit to Europe, she has been multiple times in the past. I hope you are as excited as I am about her future posts.
Ichibancon 10 was another great experience in Concord, NC. I attended the convention for most of Saturday. My panel on traveling to Japan kicked off the day at 10 a.m. I was impressed with the friendly and helpful volunteer staff that got the room ready. There was a dedicated technician for Events 2 all day. The room was huge and could hold up to 180 people. It was quite an upgrade from the previous year. Thank you to everyone who attended my panel and for asking great questions. My goal is to always have people walk away with the basic knowledge and information to plan their own amazing adventure.
I attended other panels throughout the day including Best Beatdowns in Boruto/Naruto! by cyberkaiser. It was a panel on the differences between fighting and action scenes, character development, and a little history about ninjutsu. He hosted an impressive 8 panels throughout the weekend. I recommend attending one of his panels at a future convention.
One of the most well-attended panels was Beyond Sushi: Japanese Recipes for the American Otaku. The host covered simple recipes for karaage, port cutlet, and udon dishes along with where to buy ingredients. She did a great job explaining each step and ingredient to the audience. Japanese cookbooks sometimes do a poor job showing what ingredients are called in English and where to purchase them.
The most audience engaging panel I attended was Japanese Class with Kohei. The panel was hosted by Kohei, an aspiring singer and composer living in New York City. He was very energetic and encouraged attendees to try pronouncing various phrases in Japanese. At the end of the panel, he did a small singing performance.
The Japanese arcade room had even more games and offerings this year. A few new notable games were present including Time Crisis 5. I never saw an arcade cabinet unattended throughout Saturday. The back of the room was full of console games. Most of the stations were fighting games available across multiple consoles. They held a number of fighting game tournaments over the weekend.
The convention had a fair amount of voice actors and other guests. The most notable voice actors in attendance were Steve Blum and Vic Mignoga. Blum is famous for his role as Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop and Wolverine across multiple animated X-Men shows. Mignoga voice acted popular characters like Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist and Eld Gin in Attack on Titan.
While I did not attend the main event or the late night glow stick parties, I saw they very popular. There were some amazing costumes people wore on Saturday. One of my favorite outfits was a gentlemen dressed as Kefka from Final Fantasy VI. There were dozens of attendees dressed as characters from popular shows like Naruto and My Hero Academia. I encourage anyone in the Charlotte area with an interest in Japanese culture or anime to attend Ichibancon in 2020.
The start of a new year is a great opportunity to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. Many people create New Year’s resolutions after the holiday season ends. One of the most common resolutions is improving one’s health through exercising. A resolution can be anything you want to accomplish, whether it is health related or trying something new. I have read many self-help articles on achieving goals to improve my performance with graduate school, relationships, and hobbies. I would like to share a few general tips that were very helpful in reaching my own goals.
Set Realistic Expectations and Goals
You should be honest with yourself and set realistic goals that are achievable. The motivation to reach a goal will die fast when it seems impossible to reach. If your true goal feels like a stretch than a reality, try setting milestones along the way. It is more important to see continuous improvement over time than to set time limits or become fixated on a specific outcome.
Positive Mentality is Critical to Success
A re-occurring theme in self-help articles is having the right mentality to accomplish a goal. You are more likely to improve and succeed in reaching a goal if you believe you can do it. Positive mental energy goes a long way to help you stay motivated. In addition, believing in yourself improves your overall happiness during the process of achieving a goal.
A Results-Oriented Focus is Wrong
A common trap in reaching goals is justifying your efforts specifically by the results. This can lead to negative feelings and emotion rather than positive motivation to continue working harder. Learning and improving through dedicated practice will produce results over time. The amount of time it can take to reach a goal can vary. A good example is when someone starts lifting weights for the first time. It is common to see quick strength improvements from lifting weights when you have never worked out before. However, at some point your performance gains slow down and it becomes much harder to notice improvements. Maintaining a results-oriented approach to lifting can cause negative feelings that your efforts are not working. You should expect to hit plateaus and speed bumps along the way to reaching any goal.
Practice Makes Perfect
You do not become a professional athlete without hours and hours of practice. Some people have innate talent that gives them an advantage, but mastering that talent still requires practice. To accomplish a goal, you must put forth effort over time. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practicing to master a task. While your goal may not require 10,000 hours to accomplish, the underlying theme is practice makes perfect.
Time is Precious
There are 168 hours in a given week. If you work a full-time job and sleep eight hours a day, then your remaining free time is 72 hours. Assuming you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner; you can narrow the 72 hours down to around 58 hours. Fitting in time to go to the gym, write a blog post, or read a book can become a challenge. Sometimes you must give up one thing to add something else to your busy schedule. Making your goal a priority in your life will help you find the time to reach it.
This past year was full of joyous memories, countless hours of graduate school, and celebrating many weddings (including my own). I accomplished my goal of continuing to write each week, even when life was very busy. While I did not win an invitation to another regional Magic: The Gathering tournament, I did place second and fourth in competitive constructed tournaments. Time is precious and I had to cut back time on my personal hobbies to make time for more important things. Practice makes perfect as I focused on playing two specific deck strategies in Magic: The Gathering that led to winning cash prizes. Even when I did not have time to play, I read helpful articles and wrote out strategies to implement against other decks. The only results I expected from my blog, school work, and hobbies were doing my best at any given time. I was realistic with expectations and prioritized time with my wife and friends when necessary. Thank you as well for reading and supporting my website throughout 2018. One of my goals for 2019 is to continue creating new and interesting content. Happy New Year to you and your family.