Kickstarter for Father is Always With me!

I never imagined the day that I would use KICKSTARTER for anything. It was simply a site for those much more creative than I was. There was no chance on earth that I would ever create something worthy of being funded by people around the world. But, then I decided to create a book.

One which I spoke about at lengths during my last article here in WordPress.com titled “Father Is Always With Me”. Yet, here I am today writing, asking, sharing with the world in order to garner enough support to make my dream a reality. I can’t do this alone, I know that much, but perhaps together with the help of hundreds of strangers, I can achieve anything.

Now, this is my first foray into the world of crowdfunding and it has been scary to say the least.  It’s very nerve wracking, the idea of exposing yourself out there to the world and trying to make them care about your goals. My video recording of the KICKSTARTER video was designed as a heartfelt story to each of those who serve, their relatives or even retired from the military. It doesn’t hide my intentions or try to make a bigger deal of what it already is. This book after all is a love letter to all of the “military brats” we know and adore.

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Look, I’ve said it hundreds of times already; most of the literature available for children in the military is aimed at telling them how great their parents are. But, that’s not enough for me, I want to let them know that we understand how difficult it is to be on the other side of the coin. Spouses who remain back from deployment will relate to me on this topic. But, when I say it is awful being the one staying back while knowing their loved ones are enduring so much stress and pain. It’s so hard to know you can’t comfort those you care about in their time of need. If it’s like this for us adults, can we imagine how bad it is for those who only know a parents love?

Children in the military have it even worse, a parent is their whole world to them. Yet, it seems like they’re simply observers in these stories, side-characters to watch in astonishment as their parent becomes part of something greater than themselves. I want to change this. We need to note the importance of telling these children that their emotions are normal, and those feelings of uncertainty and sadness are part of what makes life a beautifully chaotic work of art.  But, without the support of the community it will take probably longer than my natural life, to get this book and the multitude of books I have planned out into the market.

If this campaign succeeds then every parent that has asked me for a physical copy of the book will be able to purchase their own book. To share the story of Leonardo, a boy who has experienced many things in his 3 years of life. A story which many children in the military will relate to very closely. Friends, I need your support!

 

 

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Military Children and Books.

There is a whole sleuth of books for military children out in the market. But, when you ask parents in the military about books for their kids, they will typically not be aware of them. I’ve also noticed a trend in these books which is really interesting. They all put the military parent in a sort of pedestal from which the military parent is the main focus of the story. While I don’t mean to demean the value of our service members (being one myself) it is important to understand that the focus of these books should be the children.

Cover

Thus I kept this in mind when venturing into the foray of becoming an author. A few months ago I began working on a little pet project called “Father Is Always With Me” a small little military book, by a military member which details the life of a small toddler called Leo through his first PCS and parents deployment. In it the focus lies within the domain of the child. Leo is the one who is experiencing the majority of these events for the first time and as such he’s learning to cope. Through his journey he realizes that home is not a set location, but rather the place where his loved ones and himself reside. It’s made with all branches in mind and despite the majority of the uniforms being Navy oriented it is universal enough to be understood by all kids and parents of other branches.

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The illustrations are adorable professionally made with a lot of care and detail. These were made in a cute art style that simulates paper cut-outs and the characters are all beautifully made. “Father Is Always With Me” is certain to catch the eyes of any person who adores cute characters and wants to read a solid amount of story to their children.

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You see a lot of children books are short and simple reads, but they can leave parents feeling unsatisfied (I know I am when reading books for my son). However, in order to alter the status quo this book has a good amount of words (basic words which can be easily read) designed to fulfill both parents and young readers.

Finally, perhaps it’s time to start creating more books for military children by military members who can relate the stories of their own experiences with their families. But, it can’t happen without your help. Support a fellow military member and perhaps we can start a movement that actually realizes the value of the children that are our future. The children of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. Check out this book on Amazon Kindle!

http://www.amazon.com/Father-Always-Me-Emmanuel-Barbosa-ebook/dp/B01DFY08G8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458965908&sr=8-1&keywords=father+is+always+with++me

Adventures in Japan! Also The Reason for my Disappearance! Lots of Pretty Pictures

Many of my readers are no aware that I recently moved domain. Now, that I mostly write about everything that I do in Japan. I moved to a new domain in this website:

City-Cost.com

Now I can only write about Japanese stuff in this website, but I do partake in writing other types of article which mean that I will still be here sporadically.

I’m sorry if everyone thought I disappeared, but the fact is that I’ve been very busy traveling through Tokyo and generally being awesome.

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I actually even visited the cat cafe!

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Visited a Maid Cafe and spent weeks with PTSD afterward

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Raced around Tokyo as Bowser in a Go Kart while the Mario Kart 8 Soundtrack was playing

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Saw One Piece at the Tokyo Tower

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Visited a Pokemon Center and did not get my Pokemon healed because Nurse Joy was not there

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Saw the Dark Side of Japan

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Saw the Greco-Roman Mall Venus Fort

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Visited Palette Town and started my own Pokemon adventure

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Take a look at some of at some of the articles I’ve written there particularly my new favorite one:

A Story the Steampunk Store of Japan!

https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/DashTheBomber/z8EbG-living_shopping_fashion_tokyo

Venus Fort

https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/DashTheBomber/wmQQw-living_shopping_fashion_tokyo

Odaiba Palette Town

https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/DashTheBomber/wZa5G-living_shopping_fashion_tokyo

Neko Ja la la cat cafe!

https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/DashTheBomber/MAb6z-living_shopping_tokyo_chiyoda-ku

One Piece at Tokyo Tower

https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/DashTheBomber/MgOjM-living_shopping_tokyo_minato-ku

Pokemon Center

https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/DashTheBomber/Gb4BM-living_shopping_kanagawa_yokohama-shi

Maid Cafe

https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/DashTheBomber/MYa2M-living_food_fashion_tokyo_chiyoda-ku

Go Kart as Bowser

https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/DashTheBomber/wZe5G-living_transportation

The Day I Ate Bugs (Scorpions) in Chinju-ya Yokohama

Living abroad as a sailor has taught me many lessons. One of these experiences has been the world is a very strange place filled with magic and wonder.  A secondary lesson is that the world is that what is weird for us in the western hemisphere is not necessarily odd for the other half.  Furthermore, living abroad assists in opening the minds of those who experience it and are willing to try everything that the world has to offer. This is, however, only an opportunity which the bold of heart are willing to take.

Especially when that opportunity involves eating cockroaches, scorpions, newts, and grasshoppers! Now, to us in the western world, we had been taught that eating bugs was something of a nasty behavior, akin to acting like a savage. But, in the eastern world, bugs are seen as a delicacy (one which is surprisingly expensive) filled with protein and other goodies for the body. I don’t think it needs to be stated twice; that when some friends challenged the swashbuckler to eat some bugs with them, this sailor simply said “let’s do it”.

This is what eventually led us to Chinju-ya, a bar located conveniently in the China Town district of Yokohama inside of a buildings second floor. You go up a few steps and look to your right and there it is in all of it’s glory, capable of seating at least 20 people max, it’s also reservation only. We were the only ones in there that night with a staff of 2 Japanese girls (both very beautiful), and 1 young man, it was certainly a night to remember. The first thing we did was drink a few shots of sake (I’m a lightweight so it only took a little bit of liquid courage to have me going), and thus began the moment with our first order…

Fried Cockroach (648 Yen): Now, you might be thinking about how gross this is, and you’d be right. As you eat cockroaches you can feel every little hair of the legs on your tongue as you savor the crunchy flavor of… shrimp? Yes, you’ve heard me right fried roaches taste exactly like shrimp except hairier. Their insides are squishy and look terrible, so it’s not really a food that has stylistic appeal. You can see in the video below as my face contorts to match my feelings as I ate this. Needless to say, I still have nightmares about them crawling on my insides. However, 10/10 I would eat again.

Scorpion (2000 Yen): This one was certainly more appealing, with the fact that they are potentially less gross looking than roaches, and also cooler since they have 3 weapons in their body. Scorpion also tasted like shrimp (or chicken?) which was surprisingly tasty. This is definitely something I would eat again. The exoskeleton is surprisingly hard and has a tough texture when chewing. The pincers are almost hollow and have very little meat inside, but the shell is edible and thus you can get to enjoy saying that you fought a scorpion by biting it’s claws off. My friend ate the tip of the tail and while we all thought he was going to get poisoned it turns out that the cooking eliminated all of that away. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this dish for the pricing alone, but if you’re feeling like a big spender connoisseur then this dish is definitely for you!

Newt (1498 Yen): I have one word for this dish and it is “chicken”. Lizards taste almost exactly like chicken and this is no different. It was truly well seasoned and I liked how crunchy it felt. I ate the head of this particular dish in order to gain its essence and powers. I felt like a lizard for the rest of the night that day too. It was a great dish and this is definitely one I recommend to anyone who decides to visit this place.

Grasshopper Pudding (980 Yen): I hated this dish. I hate dessert in general, which meant that eating badly sweetened pudding with caramelized grasshoppers was the worst experience in the world. It had legs sticking out of the pudding, which in my case did not do it any favors presentation wise. My friends and I each had a third of this dish and it was truly awful for me (both of them loved it though). I will not suggest anyone ever try this dish, but let me put it this way; I tried Google translating what it said on the menu three different times and the results were as follows:

“Come to dessert foreign matter sprint gly Shishi-ya of horror, with respect to different Churi adult dessert! To eat be attributed es regret was that Hiroshibun, it is possible to answer 3th” (SIC)

“Once you come to the contamination the small 3 13 Hiroshimata people st880 no feedbacks in Te eav to the home was y 33 in your Hiroshie can dress people” (SIC)

“Desserts foreign material mixed of horror, 3 I E Always Daiuma dessert you come Nenbe and hi Le is not possible to answer the Te retrace 3E5 33 skin ala afil te gu” (SIC)

None of these gave me any idea what to expect after my friends ordered it. I was simply held back in terror when the dish came by. The fact that not even Google figure out what the menu meant was terrifying. 12/10 I would not recommend the grasshoppers.

This marked the end of my night in Yokohama and I had to go eat ramen afterwards to cleanse my palate. The ramen place by the train station with the green sign above the store is pretty amazing, it’s one of those where you put money into a machine and it gives you a tag. The pink one is extremely tasty and especially if you boil an egg in it. If you’re ever in Japan please make sure you visit the bug eating restaurant.

Now the moment you were waiting for please enjoy this video:

 

The Fear of Rejection.

It seems that people often have great ideas which never come to fruition. When we want to create something, whether it be a blog, book, or a series of YouTube videos, one thing can often stand in our way and it is called fear. There are several manifestations of fear ( for example: social anxiety or humiliating yourself), but most amount to the same one, the fear of rejection. We are social creatures that seek the approval of our peers and thus,  take rejection especially hard. At times, our fear of trying is the only reason for which great creations are never born.

This is, however, a terrible inhibitor for us as individuals. It is horrible because at times we fail to realize that people will hate us in spite of everything we do. We have to accept that hate is a regular part of our everyday lives, and it can’t be avoided unless you simply have no opinion of your own (and even then people will still despise you for having no particular viewpoint). The faster we accept this reality, and come to terms with the fact that no one is entitled to being universally adored, the quicker we will understand that the only choice left is to try your hardest at life despite the hatred.

Hatred is a powerful tool utilized by others, but the worst part comes from when the hate is being ushered by those which aren’t attempting half of what you are. It is a measure of control which leads to nobody’s happiness; not even those which revel in hate are truly enjoying themselves, they are miserable and as we know, it simply loves company.  Worst of all, the capacity of people to spread hate is nearly limitless, if left uncontrolled then it will lead to ruin. But, we can rise above it all, even if the extent of hatred is unmeasurable, we can’t let it inhibit our attempts at greatness.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is the chance to try. To give a shot to those things which are ideas simply waiting to be developed into fantastic pieces of art and love.  Great creations which might not start out as what they will eventually become, but at least were given a fair attempt. No person starts out being great at what they do, oftentimes the only thing we need is luck and the patience to develop our skills. Given time our skills will blossom into the beautiful flowers they were destined to become. But, this won’t happen if you give into the fear of rejection. The fear of being criticized for trying out your best at something which you aren’t particularly skilled at, but will certainly improve in.

Remember to take this criticism with a grain of salt, it can be a powerful tool (use it to the full extent of your ability). Criticism can be the wake-up call required to motivate yourself at being a better person. If you take the good with the bad and accept that perhaps some of the people are inadvertently motivating you to improve (trust me, they do not have your best interest at heart), then you will gain another opportunity at becoming even greater.  At times the critiques can appear overly harsh (I know this all too well), and even hurtful, but you can’t let this bring you down. Keep fighting those battles until you eventually reach your own final boss. It is at that moment in which you’ll realize that it was all truly worth the effort, even if you sacrificed a lot on your way there.

Don’t let the fear of rejection become the only reason for which your ideas never blossomed, for at the end of the road you’ll only have yourself to blame…

Peace and Boredom

I firmly believe that seeking peace should be the goal of every individual in a society on earth. Peace is great, after all everyone is seeking their own little slice of heaven. But, people fail to realize that peace is also extremely boring, thus people seek to disrupt it. I even dare say,that we might be biologically challenged when it comes to seeking peace. People seek strong emotions, excitement, fear, happiness, anger, and other forms of expressions which are at contrast with a state of peace. Let me put in terms we could all relate to, think back to the second half of summer vacation, did you ever utter the words “I can’t wait for school to start again”?

Of course you remember, every kid/teenager on the block agreed with you. We aren’t built nor taught to handle harmony, sure people preach about it constantly. But, this is one of those things which are preached, not practiced. We aren’t taught constructive methods to handle boredom, which should be nearly synonymous with peace. Thus youngsters resort to more extreme methods of coping with their boredom, drugs, sex, minor crimes, and other means by which to release some of that pent up energy. It’s not necessarily their fault, it’s  simply the way we are built.

While this does not excuse the behavior of those individuals, it is important to take note of why it happens. The education system in the U.S. is not equipped to teach youths about coping mechanism for boredom (as with many other important life skills). Parents are often too busy with jobs and other responsibilities to do the same. Thus we are left with a society of youngsters who aren’t taught by anyone how they can cope with peace in a fruitful manner. There is a very important reason humans are built with this flaw.

Furthermore, if we were always content, if we were able to cope with boredom and peace, humans would not have achieved some of the greatest creations of mankind. While boredom is dangerous in the hands of certain individuals, others use it to create wonderful inventions. Indeed, in 1947 Josef Pieper wrote the following about leisure:

“The mode of discursive thought is accompanied and impregnated by an effortless awareness, the contemplative vision of the intellectus, which is not active but passive, or rather receptive, the activity of the soul in which it conceives that which it sees. The ancients regarded intellectus as being already beyond the sphere allotted to man. And yet it belonged to man, though in one sense superhuman; the purely human by itself could not satiate man’s powers of comprehension, for man, of his very nature, reaches out beyond the sphere of the human. “Although the knowledge which is most characteristic of the human soul occurs in the mode of ratio, nevertheless there is in it a sort of participation in the simple knowledge which is proper to higher beings, of whom it is therefore said that they possess the faculty of spiritual vision.”

In shorter words, Pieper stated that leisure is a state of recreation. This is part of the reason why I think the show “Phineas and Ferb” is so amazing, these kids beat the summer vacation drudgery (fantastic elements aside if you just pretend this is all in their imaginations). We often find ourselves with too much time in our hands being squandered. This world of ours is filled with distractions that keep us from reaching our true potential. Even worse is the war on peace which is often confused for boredom. But, let’s never forget that without boredom there would be no peace, and without it there wouldn’t have been a place for the world we have created today. Leisure is not a time for complaints, it is a moment to elaborate on your thoughts and ideas. To sow the seeds of creation, and harvest the fruits of innovation, we must teach the future generations to promote their creativity during these bits of freedom. If we don’t, humanity will stagnate, and we will cease to grow as people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nintendo, the GameCube and Japanese Exclusive Games!

I have always loved Nintendo games. This all started with the first NES that my father gave me as a present. To the latest sleeper-hit console the Wii U. This does not mean that I am blind to the missteps that Nintendo has made in the past. Quite the contrary, in spite of my adoration for the brand; I do not excuse their behavior, and in fact, outright condemn them for clinging to their antiquated (if not foolish) ways at times. Starting from the Virtual Boy, all the way to the terrible naming convention utilized for the Wii U.

During the mid-90s to mid-2000s there was a period which could be called the darkest age for Nintendo. It was at this time in which Nintendo released a new console called the GameCube, it had a fantastic controller design, it looked fun and had the killer app known as Super Smash Brothers Melee. It was a great console, but it had one huge flaw… Nintendo failed to secure a large quantity of third-party exclusives for the GameCube. This meant a constant shortage of games to play, while the PlayStation dominated the market with countless exclusives in their console. You would think at that point, Nintendo would have been throwing money at the third-party developers to sway them in their direction. But, instead they just released their own first-party titles in the hopes that it would be enough to garner the sales they wanted. Sadly, this moment never came for Nintendo. Yet, all was not grim at the Mario factory; it was during this era that many great exclusive games and IPs were born.

The GameCube brought to the world many fantastic games such as: Animal Crossing, Pikmin, Eternal Darkness, Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Kart: Double Dash, Metroid Prime, Naruto Clash of Ninja 2, Harvest Moon Magical Melody, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, Smash Brothers Melee, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker/Twilight Princess, and countless others. But, despite all of this Nintendo did not manage to sway the hearts and minds of those players who were needlessly bashing the system. This meant that in spite of their best efforts, Nintendo still came in last in the console race of that particular generation. But, I didn’t care about all of that silly console war nonsense. All I cared about, was playing some awesome games on my GameCube with my friends. What truly made me angry, was the games that Nintendo launched exclusively in Japan without ever considering porting them to the United States.

Games such as: Giftpia, Zoids VS I/II/III, Battle Stadium D.O.N, Naruto Clash of Ninja 4, Doshin the Giant (released in PAL regions as well), Donkey Konga 3, DreamMix TV Fighters, Gundam: The Ace Pilot, Mario Puzzle Collection, Bleach GC, Multiple Shoot-‘em-ups, and other titles which never saw a release over in the west. These (titles) truly made me upset, I am aware that bringing games to the U.S. is not always cost-efficient, and Nintendo has obligations to the shareholders (and employees) which forbid them from acting against their best interest (something that can happen if they start porting games that are completely unsuccessful). But, Nintendo has had a really good streak with some of these niche titles, who would have guessed that Animal Crossing would have become the titan it currently is? The west has spoken, and it has stated that these games are genuinely fun. Nintendo should have taken a bigger risk with their games in this era, but instead they decided to remain in their spot (dead last). This is something which will always upset me about Nintendo. It’s unavoidable though, at the end of the day all that matters to a corporation is the bottom line.

Despite all of this, ever since I moved to Japan; obtaining these games has been a piece of cake for me. I have amassed a small collection of games which only came out in Japan. I will be discussing some of these games, along with my opinion on their gameplay, fun factor, play-ability in spite of the language barrier. I will not be reviewing these games; these are simply first impressions for games that we should have at least gotten a chance to try.
For reference here is a picture of my Japanese Games (not all of them were exclusives):

Japanese games