Yesterday, I did an introduction to Ireland event at Toyota International Association. I’ve been doing this kind of event for over 20 years now and it is still fun to share some information and some music about Ireland. Over the years, I’ve probably presented this kind of material to a few thousand people, and hopefully at least some of them have made it to the shores of the Emerald Isle.
Currently I’m working on a textbook called Tools for Thinking. It’s based on a series of activities that I’ve been using with my third year Japanese university students for the last few years. As well as being a language skills textbook, it also aims to provide practice in a range of critical thinking skills which can be applied to real-world personal and professional situations.
Last year, I wrote a textbook with Ben Backwell called GOAL – Identify and Achieve Your Life Goals. We have been very happy with the feedback from teachers and students. However, as a tool for learning English, we felt that the book could be improved. So we have been hard at work.
And now after several months of rewriting, we are proud to present the 2nd edition of GOAL.
That which is incomplete will be made complete,
that which is crooked will straighten,
that which is empty will be filled,
that which is worn out will be renewed.
He who has little can only gain, but gain too much and the way will be lost.
Recently, I’ve been reading a chapter of Tao Te Ching each morning. Fascinating little book and once in a while a section really jumps out at me. The section above is one of those. Taoism recognizes that balance exists in everything and the lines above give some good examples.
For years, probably about 12 years now, I have been a big fan of Dave Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. When I read the original book, I was impressed by the idea of getting every thing out of my head and into a space where it could be stored and dealt with appropriately. Between music and research and teaching and training and client work, I tend to have way too much stuff going on any particular time and GTD has been enormously helpful to me in getting that stuff out of my head yet still knowing that it is available and going to be eventually acted upon.
In 2016, I’ll be doing less NLP and hypnosis training. 2015 was a great year where we completed the full NLP 20 day practitioner certification course. From 2017, we will be doing more training again, but for 2016, I’ll be focusing on research to complete several books that are in the pipeline. It’s also the year of Jukebox Paradise, a musical that has been in my head for over 20 years and that will finally be staged in November 2016. Looking forward to a great year and then getting back to more training in 2017.
Sarah and I did our first gig of 2016 last night at Coat of Arms. January is always a quiet month as people hunker down in their dens to avoid the cold weather, and of course to try to rescue their finances and health after Christmas and the new year celebrations! So, thanks to all the folks who came out last night and made it such a fun night for us.
We have been practicing some new songs and polishing up some old versions with more harmony and fun guitar stuff. For the last few years, I’ve been primarily using DADGAD as my guitar tuning. Recently, I’ve been experimenting a bit more with open G and other strange combinations. Great sound on my old trusty Lowden guitar.
We are playing tonight with the Tomo Shagger band at Shooters, Fushimi. Then next Friday, we are heading up to Tokyo to play at the opening of an art exhibition.
And on Sunday, rehearsals are going to finally begin for Jukebox Paradise. We have a marvellous cast assembled and it’s going to be great working with everyone to produce a wonderful musical in November.
Happy new year to all. I hope that 2016 will be a great year for everyone. As usual, the beginning of the year provides a useful milestone to set goals or to decide what you want more of or less of in your life.
One of the things that I want more of in my life is simplicity, so I have decided to simplify some of my websites.
Since 2010, I have been providing my NLP & Hypnosis training under the name of Standing in Spirit. It is still a fine name with strong personal associations for myself. However, it has proven to be a little difficult for many Japanese people to remember. So for the sake of simplicity, I’ll be providing my training under the rather more transparent name of “Brian Cullen Training.”
I finally got around to publishing my PhD thesis as an e-book in the Amazon store. You can purchase a copy here. Considering that it took 6 years to write, the price of about $9 seems fairly cheap. And it is a surprisingly good read.
The topic of research is non-native-speakers songwriters who are writing in English and the 450 pages of the thesis examine this fun and complex process in lots of different ways.
Don’t expect Dan Brown, but as academic research goes, this is probably one of the most readable tomes that you will ever come across.
Sarah and I played at the Best of JALT event again this year. It was lovely to be back at the conference again and to see so many familiar faces. For those who don’t know, JALT stands for Japan Association for Language Teaching, and I have played music at various events there since about 1995. Wow, 20 years!