Posted by: nealchambers | December 4, 2009

Top 10 Most Clicked for November

It’s been a couple of busy months for me recently.  It has been busy in the Twittersphere as well.  Here is the Top 10 for November.

Bogus Grammar Rules

Bogus Grammar Rules

10) About.com – About.com goes over 5 bogus English grammar rules.  Do you follow these rules?  I think a lot of people do.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

9) Google Chrome on a Stick – If you haven’t heard yet.  Google has released a new OS that is optimized for web use.  It is suppose to be faster booting and easier to use because it is designed for only web apps.  This article goes over how to put it on a memory stick.

15 Things you Didn't Know about Coffee

15 Things you Didn't Know about Coffee

8 ) 15 Things Worth Knowing about Coffee – I’m personally a big coffee fan.  Japan is full of little coffee shops.  The Oatmeal gives a quick overview of 15 things you probably didn’t know about coffee in their usual humorous way.

Picture of the Sun over a Year

Picture of the Sun over a Year

7) Picture of the Sun over a Year – This is an amazing photograph of what the sun looks like from the same place over the course of a year.  Great photography!

Drop all the RTs

Drop all the RTs

6) Can we drop all the RTs? – Although the new RT feature in Twitter is getting a lot of heat of late.  The messy old RTs did need some revising.  Here is a short article on how messy a RT can really get.

Pecha Kucha on Twitter Security

Pecha Kucha on Twitter Security

5) Pecha Kucha on Twitter Security – This is a short little PK about Twitter worms, what they look like and how to keep yourself safe from them in the future.  The original presentation was made at the Virtual Round Table.

What is a PLN

What is a PLN?

4) What is a PLN? – This is part 1 of the first module of the Twitter Kit, a set of Twitter training videos I’ve produced to help you get on to Twitter.  This first module explains what a PLN is and why it is important.  I encourage everyone to start building a PLN today.  They are a great resource.

How to Manage a Project in Google Wave

How to Manage a Project in Google Wave

3) How to Manage a Project in Google Wave – An excellent article about the tools to use in Google Wave when organizing and managing a project.   It’s a great overview of tools.

How to get started with a PLN

How to get started with a PLN

2) How to get started with a PLN – This is part 2 of the first module of the Twitter Kit, a set of Twitter video tutorials that I made.  In this part of the module, I go over how to build a PLN.  I go over where to meet people and how to connect with them.

Top 10 Mistakes Bloggers Make

Top 10 Mistakes Bloggers Make

1) Top 10 Mistakes Bloggers Make – Do you make these mistakes?  I know I was guilty of at least a few of them.  This is really helpful for beginner bloggers.

Well, that’s it for this month. What did you learn from these links? Were they helpful? Do you make the blogging mistakes mentioned in the last link? Let me know in the comments below.

Posted by: nealchambers | November 4, 2009

Top 10 Most Clicked for October

It has been a busy month in the Twitterverse.  Here is a short recap of what was the most popular in the month of October.

hitotoki.org

Hitotoki.org - a narrative of Tokyo

10)  Hitotoki.org – an interesting website that tells the story of Tokyo in pieces.  They are adding some new cities as well.   It provides an interesting little narrative about Tokyo.

Google Building Maker

Google Building Maker

9) Google Building Maker – Google released a new tool to help you create buildings for google maps.  This is a great way to get students interested in geography or for armchair tourists to take a look at another city.  They have a warehouse of buildings you can start with too.

5 Good Image Search Engines

5 Good Image Search Engines

8 ) 5 Good Image Search Engines Apart from Google – Are you tired of the same old results google gives you?  Try out these libraries and search engines to find better photographs to use for class or blog articles.

Are you Kids Watching enough TV?

Are your Kids Watching enough TV?

7) Are your kids watching enough TV? – This is a great list of educational programs worth watching.  It includes a lot of great picks from the Discovery channel as well as the Science channel.

Teacher Loses Job over Lesson Plan!

Teacher Loses Job over Lesson Plan!

6) Teacher Loses Job over one of my Lesson Plans! – Jamie Keddie writes about how one of his lesson plans was semi-responsible for a teacher not getting his contract renewed.  Talk about controversial.

ESL Programs in the States

ESL Programs in the States

5) New Study Confirms that Long-term ESL Programs Trap Students – This is a rather biased article about the ESL programs in America.  It’s interesting because of the raging battle in the comments about ESL programs in America.

Perfect Answer to a Test

Perfect Answer to a Test

4) Perfect Answer to a Test Question – This is a great joke of a picture.  This is what happens when a question is taken a little too seriously.

Want Better Service? Just Complain on Twitter

Want Better Service? Just Complain on Twitter

3) Want Better Service? Just Complain on Twitter – I guess this tells what we Twitter users already know.  If you have a problem with a company there is no better place to complain about then on Twitter.

9 Free WordPress Hosting Sites

9 Free WordPress Hosting Sites

2) The Top 9 Free WordPress Hosting Sites – Did you know there are alternatives to WordPress.com or Edublogs.org? Here are 9 other free hosting sites packed with features.

Blogging Schools

Blogging Schools

1) Blogging Schools – Burcu Akyol’s announcement of her starting up a massive blogging project with several schools in her area.  She is organizing a massive effort to educate teachers to start using technology in the classroom.

That’s it for this month.  What were your favorite links?  Did you learn anything from these links?  Did you implement any new technology?  Let me know in the comments below.

Posted by: nealchambers | October 1, 2009

Top 10 Most Clicked for September

The Twitterverse is a pretty busy place.  It’s easy to miss some of the great links that are shared on Twitter.  There are a few contributors like @shellterrell who has an excellent What did they Tweet? summary.  @kalinagoenglish also posts great Twitterverse summaries. I also recommend @larryferlazzo‘s best “Tweets”.    I thought I’d give you a list of my most clicked links for September:

The Most from your Cameraphone

The Most from your Cameraphone

10) Top 10 Ways to Get More from your Cameraphone – Great article on how to use your cameraphone to create pdfs, act as your second brain and more.

Build Brain Power

Build Brain Power

9) Build Brain Power with 21 Resources – Are you having problems remembering things?  Want to make the most of your noggin?  This page has tons of links on how to build your brain power and think faster.  Lots of great stuff to use.

WordPress Attack

WordPress Attack

8 ) WordPress Attack – If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, you should upgrade to avoid coming under attack from a worm.  WordPress.com/org sites are okay.

Awesomeness Manifesto

Awesomeness Manifesto

7) The Awesomeness Manifesto –  A great article about what makes a great company awesome.  What makes people want to come to work instead of loathing every minute of it.

Controversial Magazine Covers

Controversial Magazine Covers

6) The Most Controversial Magazine Covers – There were lots of shockers in this post including the John Lennon cover and an Economist cover that has two camels um, doing something.

Font Capture

Font Capture

5) Fontcapture – Create a font from your handwriting.  This is a great free tool for creating a unique font.  You download a template, fill it out, and scan it in.  Then, upload it and viola! you have a personalized font for yourself.

Web Tools 4 U

Web Tools 4 U

4) WebTools4u2use – Find the tools you need to use with this powerful wiki setup to help you choose the right tool.

Easiest Profession?

Easiest Profession?

3) The Easiest Profession in the World by @TamasLorincz – Tamas teaches in one of the richest countries in the middle east but still faces challenges with technology.  So, he challenges himself to change his school and the way it uses technology.

Grammar Ninja

Grammar Ninja

2) Grammar Ninja – A very simple little game that involves throwing ninja stars at parts of speech.  A great way to add a little fun to any grammar class.  It also apparently includes a Wii version.

Most Inspiring Tweeter Users

Most Inspiring Tweeter Users

1) 25 Most Inspirational Twitter Users.  This post of inspiring Twitter users was retweeted several times.  Everyone needs a little inspiration from time to time.  @TonyRobbins has a lot of great quotes and inspiring sayings.

Did you find these links useful? Not so useful? Did you implement any of the suggestions on these pages? Are you following more inspiring Twitter users? Did you play a round of Grammar Ninja? I’d like to know. Please tell me about it in the comments and I’ll see you on Twitter.

Also, if you have say 2 minutes, could you fill out a quick survey for me? I’m writing a series of articles on EnglishSpark.com about how to use Twitter effectively. Your help will be much appreciated.

Posted by: nealchambers | July 22, 2009

Your Face is Worth a Thousand Words

If you are an avid user of social media, you’ll find a variety of different profile pictures being used.  Everything from the perfectly normal to the completely insane.  Your profile picture defines who you are to the online world.  It might be the first and only impression you get with people you meet online.  Some people choose to use logos, clipart, or a cartoon animal, but today we are going to talk about the most powerful personal branding tool at your disposal, your face.

Yes, some people might not like their face and choose to cover it up with camouflage or paint or some other kind of obstruction, but it is the best representation of you.  The face is your main tool for communication.  First, there is of course your mouth which is where words are expelled from.  And then, there are the myriad of facial expressions including micro-expressions that convey non-verbal messages to your listener.

The face is so important that there is actually a separate part of the brain that handles the ability to recognize faces.  We know this because there are some people who are afflicted with prosopagnosia that are actually unable to identify people’s faces.  Imagine going through life with that disorder!  For more information on micro-expressions and prosopagnosia, I encourage you to check out an excellent How Stuff Works Podcast that discusses these in detail.

So, today I decided to have a little experiment.  I wanted to test what impression each kind of portrait conveys.  You may think I’m a little narcissistic (and who knows maybe I am?), but I used my face because, well, it was the most willing subject.  The snazzy haircut was actually a byproduct of sitting in the front row of Jurassic Park the Ride shortly before the photo shoot.  I got completely soaked.

I keep getting comments about the aloha shirt.  Here is a short story about its origins:

In college, I was actually a video production major (and now I teach English, the miracles of a college education).  I was shooting a short film and one of the characters was a sleaze ball record label representative.  We wanted to make him look as cheesy as possible so we scoured the local second hand stores and found an aloha shirt for him to wear along with a thick gold chain.  Now, that aloha shirt is one of my most prized possessions.

Okay, first for the control picture:

Won't you be my friend?

Won't you be my friend?

The smiling picture – This is by far the perennial favorite.  Everyone likes a smiling happy person.  It’s inviting and welcoming.  I think this is a great networking picture.  I mean who doesn’t want to meet this guy?  Look at him!

Everything's A-OK

Everything's A-OK

Smiling with a hand gesture – A variation on the smiling picture with the addition of a random hand gesture for a little pizazz.

You are getting sleepy...

You blinked! I win!

The Putin-inspired portrait – I was trying to imitate the now famous portrait of Vladamir Putin.  And yes this picture has been heavily photoshopped.  This portrait gives a sense of seriousness and determination.  I think it’s good because it shows someone as they are, no fanciness or best angle, just the raw you.  Mashable’s CEO Pete Cashmore (@mashable) has a similar portrait.  Great for – a person with stunning good looks or a leader of a 2nd world country. I guess that counts me out.

Where's the camera?

Where's the camera?

The split face (not looking) – This is an interesting portrait because it plays on the rule of thirds.  The item of interest (the face) is in the far corner leading you to wonder “What the f$%k is he looking at?”  Also, the background is out of focus leaving the viewer to wonder “Where is this amazing place he hangs out at?”  It’s full of mystery and intrigue.

Oh! There it is!

Oh! There it is!

The split face (looking) – A variation on the split face portrait.  One of my biggest heroes Timothy Ferriss (@tferriss) actually has a portrait similar to this.  Nik Peachey also has a portrait like this on his blog http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/ I don’t recommend smiling too wide though, it might make you look crazy.

Hmm, where did I leave my keys?

Hmm, where did I leave my keys?

The thinker -If you want to present a serious side and not be so ‘naked’ with a Putin portrait, you can try this style.  These can be a little dangerous, choose the wrong pose and you can come off looking like that drama club junkie from high school.

Peek a Boo!

Peek a Boo!

Random facial feature – Okay, now we are getting into the weird ones.  I’ve seen a few people with a facial feature (or two) prominently displayed.  It creates a feeling of shock and surprise.  I have to say it’s interesting, but maybe not the best to make a first impression with.

Warwhol eat your heart out.

Warhol eat your heart out.

Warhol-inspired portrait – Okay, so you might say that Warhol had four of the same pictures, but I wanted to try something different.  As I said before, we’re into the weird portraits now.  What impressions do you get from this portrait?  A total weirdo or artist?  I’ll let you decide.

My latest choice of a mugshot.

My latest choice of a mugshot.

What eventually won out – This was an accidental photo that came out when we were taking thinking pictures. I think it captures my quirkiness well.  What do you think?

Are you sick of looking at me?  Yeah, I know, but imagine what I have to go through every day when I look in the mirror!

But seriously, what do you think of these portraits?  Hopefully you can see that every portrait has a different feeling to it.  You might even feel that each picture is of a different person.  I guess the point is that the portrait you choose to put online everywhere is an important tool.  So, be sure to spend some time and think about the kind of image you want to portray.

How about you?  Have you thought about changing your portrait lately?  How about trying something new?  Let your personality shine through.  I’m interested in seeing what you can come up with.

Posted by: nealchambers | July 1, 2009

Is ‘selling’ a bad word for teachers?

Sale! Sale! Sale! Get your materials before they're gone!

Sale! Sale! Sale! Get your materials before they're gone!

When I first arrived in Japan to start teaching English, I had the foolish notion that I would just be teaching English.  But to my surprise I was asked to sell a few things.  Now they didn’t tell me it was selling, instead they employed a whole host of euphemisms in a futile attempt to cover up what was actually going on.  This seemed odd to me because I had sold things before. I had previously been working for a FOX affiliated television station in Portland, Oregon.   At the TV station we basically sold air (talk about having to be a good salesman) so I knew a thing or two about sales.  It really didn’t bother me.   What did bother me was the great lengths that everyone went through to avoid saying selling.

Academia is seen as this special world where money doesn’t exist. Everyone is happy and somehow needs are taken care of with snaps of fingers.  You only have to fill out a form or make a valid case and several years or a stroke of kindness later you have a new piece of equipment.  The currency of schools appears to be paperwork and narcolepsy-triggering meetings.

You see I like to teach and I like to help people.  I like meeting people and enabling them to communicate with people from around the world.  It helps me get up on those mornings when I’m covered in sweat from the suffocating humid Japanese summer.  It gives me a spring in my step and fills my life with funny stories and good people.  But unfortunately those feelings don’t keep the lights on or build a house for me and my family to live in.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I had no illusions of grandeur when I signed up to teach English.  If you are an English teacher and you have a penchant for swimming in bathtubs full of Christal then I think you need to rethink your career choice because you will definitely not be making an appearance on the lifestyles of the rich and famous anytime soon.

I’m just saying that it’s perfectly okay to make money teaching English.  If in fact you are delivering a great lesson.  There are many out there that try to push off a lively conversation as a lesson.  For reference this is not a lesson.  It’s a conversation, and should actually be free.

A lot of people are a little afraid to sell themselves, classes or materials.  But it’s an absolute necessity.  My hope for this article is that the word ‘selling’ will be at least cleansed in your head.

Hey! Is this some kind of trick?

Hey! Is this some kind of trick?

Let’s start with why you probably have a bad image of it in your head.  When I say ‘sell’ you are probably reminded of that used car salesmen or the guy at the computer store that wants you to buy the top of the line computer.  You’ve probably encountered many bad salesmen in your life.  And they have all tried their best to weasel you out of your cash.  Let’s not even start on the dazzling display of bad salesmanship that is currently being showcased on the net.  But try to put that out of your head for now.

Why?  Because, well, selling is so much more than that sleezy guy and pop-ups on websites.  In order to get anyone to do anything you need to know sales.  How can you get that attractive smart guy/gal to go on a date with you?  Sales.  How do you get that dream job?  Sales.  How do you get your neighbor to stop playing his guitar at 3 in the morning?  Sales.  You have to, you must sell it.

Some may argue, somewhat successfully, that nothing ever begins until there is a sale.  They’ll tell you that all of the greatest inventors of our time were great salesmen and they’re right. They had to be.  They had to sell their initial product to an initial investor who then had to sell it to the world.

The badass that gave you AC Power

The badass that gave you AC power

A case in point is Nikola Tesla.  Do you know who he is?  He invented AC, now the only kind of electrical system we use.  But he had a tough fight against Thomas Edison’s DC and Edison almost won.  Why?  Because Edison was an expert salesmen.  He would showcase the power of DC in traveling shows which made him popular with the public.  But DC is dangerous and not capable of traveling long distances efficiently so AC won the day.   But it was only with the help of George Westinghouse that this was possible. The millionaire investor believed in Tesla and helped give us cheap efficient AC power.  In a sad twist of fate, Tesla later went on to when the Edison Medal for his achievements. (ouch!)

So it’s okay to sell.  Sometimes you need to sell.  To get your ideas to the world you need to sell them.  But you need to be sure you are good salesman or saleswoman.  The basics of good salesmanship could take up several posts, but I just want to open the topic up for discussion.   What do you think of this?  Have you had to sell materials or classes?   How did you feel?  I’d like to know.  Thanks for stopping by.

And while we are on the topic of selling, it’s time for a shameless plug (but it’s free!)

If you are a private teacher in Japan selling your services be sure to post a listing and find more students over at Englishspark.com.

Posted by: nealchambers | June 24, 2009

Twyths? – Twitter Myths

Twyths can be confusing

Twyths can be confusing

Twitter is quite possibly the most misunderstood social network in history. Despite the fact that there are articles being published as you read this that are enlightening the masses with the top ten resources to ‘make the most of your twittering experience,’ most people misunderstand Twitter and it’s real power. Mostly because there are a lot of myths out there about how to use Twitter. Hopefully today I can clear that up for you.

Myth 1: You should be answering the question

‘What are you doing?’

This can easily be confusing. After all, on Twitter.com you’ll see this question prominently displayed above the tweet window. This would lead the average individual that made it past the 1st grade to answer the question. However, this is no longer the main use of Twitter. I know it’s a little sad. Things change. People move on. It happens every day.

Back in the day, when Jack Dorsey created Twitter, he envisioned a service where friends could learn about each other by hearing about their daily habits and activities. This was a great idea and originally people used Twitter for this purpose. But like with any piece of new technology, people got bored and started blatantly misusing it for other things and the micro-blog was born.

So now the question should really be ‘What would you like to share with the world?’ You should think of Twitter as a crowded room. If you stand in the corner and complain about your horrible life no one is going to talk to you. On the other side of the coin if you jump up on a table and start screaming ‘Buy my product!’ chances are people will quickly make their way to the other side of the room. It’s a party! Mingle, join conversations, contribute, and if you happen to have a solution to a problem that you’d like to sell me then by all means let me know about it (after we are good friends of course).

Myth 2: Follow everyone that follows you.

This is something that some Twitter ‘experts’ are still preaching. This is just a bad idea. The whole point of Twitter is that you can selectively choose who you are listening to. If you want mutual connections join Facebook. They’ve got that covered.

The truth is, Twitter is much like the wild west. And there are plenty of people that will sell you the best snake oil money can buy if you let them sell it to you. There are people that will follow you just to get you to follow them.  I had this happen to me recently where the same person followed and unfollowed me 3 times.  He seemed like a nice guy but he just wasn’t of any interest to me.  I eventually had to block him.

You should go through a 3 step process when you decide who to follow:

1) Check how many followers the person has and how many people are following them.  Are they out of balance?  If it’s a news service, website or famous person this is perfectly fine, but for human beings (yes, I’m implying famous people aren’t human) this should be a little close.  Anything bigger than 2:1 either way should set off some alarm bells.

2) Check their last 10-20 tweets.  Do you see anything that interests you?  Does anything make you laugh or make you say ‘I like this guy/gal!’  No?  Then don’t follow them.  I know it’s hard, but they will get over it.

3) If they have ‘internet marketing guru’, ‘social media expert’, anything about a 4 hour work week, ‘affliate marketer’, or any variation of these in their bio, proceed with extreme prejudice.  There are a handful of these guys and gals that are useful and contribute great stuff, but for every leader there are about 50 wannabes that are pretending to be them.  If you are interested in starting your own business or making money online, please let me know and I’ll suggest a few resources for you.

If in doubt, by all means give someone a day in the sun.  Follow some people to see if they provide useful information, and if you find they don’t, give them the boot.  That’s the magic of the follow and unfollow buttons.

Myth 3: Twitter is destroying the English language.

This is one of my favorite myths.  It’s a little wrong on a few levels.

First, let’s go on trip through time.  (insert trippy time travel music here) The year is 1833 and Samuel Morse invents the telegraph, the earliest beginnings of the micro-blog.  It was an amazing piece of technology that allowed messages to travel with relative speed across the country and eventually across the globe.  They included masterpieces like this sample Western Union telegraph that reads ‘DEAR MOTHER AND DAD GRADUATED OK LOVE= SON’. You see every word cost money and so you needed to limit the message to the fewest words possible.  Hmm, does that sound familar? Did the telegraph destroy the English language?  No, not that I’m aware of.

See Twitter/Facebook/TXT speak whatever you want to call it has become the way we communicate, the way we are able to share our thoughts and dreams.  All humans have an innate desire to connect, and Twitter is just the latest in a long line of tools to enable them to do so.  Do you really think it will change the way we write and speak?  After the telegraph came out, were people walking around saying ‘Dad graduated happy son.’ No, they didn’t.

“But these technologies are more prevalent, they have become a part of our students’/kids’ lives” you say emphatically.  This makes them unavoidable, which means we should be teaching more on how to use them and making it clear to students and kids that this is simply a new form of communication not the only form of communication.  I think some people want to stick their head in the sand and hope for the evil Facebook, Twitter, SMS technology that is corrupting the English language to go away.  But, guess what, it isn’t.  Facebook is the third most visited website in the world with 200+ million users that login at least every 30 days.  Twitter is the 46th most popular website, and gaining.  These technologies are here to stay.  Instead of fighting them, you should be trying to understand the way they are used and understand the benefits, so if you are a teacher or a parent you can advise our future leaders on them.

For another viewpoint on this please read In the age of Twitter and Facebook, what’s happening to English vocabulary? by Karenne Sylvester

What do you think?  Can you add anymore twyths to this list?  What are your favorites?  Do you think this is a bunch of BS?  Let me know in the comments.  Please use #twyth if you’d like to tweet about this and please join me @nealchambers so we can continue this discussion.

Mount Ibuki

Mount Ibuki

Last weekend, I climbed Mt. Ibuki. An intimidating mountain that towers 1377m above sea level. That’s about 4518 feet for my imperial system friends. This really isn’t much, but it’s quite a feat to do in one day. We spent about 7 hours on the mountain. We did take about an hour break on top, but other than that we were moving pretty quickly. I took along 6 students from my classes. I was the only native English speaker. This actually made for an enjoyable day.

I’d like to share some of the lessons that I learned that day.

First, sometimes you have to lead from behind

Back in my high school days (centuries ago) I used to sit in the very back of class. I was a fairly good student so teachers would inevitably ask “Why do you always sit in the back of the class?” My answer was always the same “because I want to see the whole picture. I want to see who is asking questions and who is writing on the board.”

I think most teachers in my profession think that they always have to be in front. Shouting encouragements and leading the pack. But I say it is perfectly fine to take a step back and let your students shine in the light. Sometimes the goal itself will motivate them to keep going. But just in case, you should be in the back to make sure everyone is still making it up the mountain. If someone falls behind you can help them up and get them going again.

What do I mean by this? I mean sometimes it’s good to have your students lead the class with a presentation or report and you take a sit among them. Try to see things how they see things. Sometimes in training we take a class in Japanese to show us what it is like for our students. I find these to be big eye-openers. But even if you don’t have this opportunity, you can still have a seat among your students to watch them present.

Summit of Mt. Ibuki

Summit of Mt. Ibuki

Second, set goals worth achieving

I had planned another hike a month before Mt. Ibuki. It was an easy fairly scenic walk across the top of a hill. There was very little incline or decline. It would take only about 2 hours to do. About 5 of my students came. It rained but it was fairly fun.

So when it came time to climb Mt.  Ibuki, a 6 hour hike with a 1200m incline/decline, I thought to myself – nobody is going to want to do this! But to my surprise more students were interested in Mt.  Ibuki than the previous hike.  It made me realize that bigger goals can be a lot more motivating because ‘the view’ is a lot better.

When setting goals you need to ask two questions:

Given a reasonable amount of time, can I achieve this goal?
Is this goal worth achieving for me?

Top of Mt. Ibuki

Top of Mt. Ibuki

Third, there are times when you need to lead from the front

After we made it to the top,  we discovered it was coated with ramen stands and noodle shops and yes, even cold beer.   This kind of cheapened the experience a little bit, but it was definitely still enjoyable.  We elected to eat our packed lunches and sat around a picnic table as the wind whipped around us.  It was great to relax after such a hard hike.

After about an hour though, we realized that we needed to get down the mountain in time for the 5:30p bus.  We only had a little over 2 hours to accomplish this feat and it had took a around 3.5 hours to get to the top.  We started hiking down the mountain.  We needed to go fast to make sure we got to the bus on time.  My knees ached and I was sweaty, but we had to hustle or we’d have to wait another 2 hours to catch the next bus.

I started cheering on my students and I got to the front of the pack.  I kept leading them on, even though I wanted to take a break and rest.  Mind you, I’m not a slave driver.  We did in fact take some short breaks.  However, we did keep a move on.  The whole time we had a round of ‘ya-hoos’ going, which in Japanese I guess is Ya-Ho! This kept everyone in good spirts as we made it down the mountain.

We finally made it to the bus stop with 20 minutes to spare.  Everyone was elated.  When we got off the trail there were big cheers and ho-rahs.  I was so exhausted that I got on the bus without my hiking stick.  I had to run up to the bus driver and spew out my broken Japanese to get him to stop.  But, it all ended well.  I got my stick back and collapsed in the back of the bus.

Overall, it was an amazing experience.  I recommend it to anyone that likes hiking.

I hope what I’ve learned has inspired you.  Now go out and be a leader!

This post has been inspired by an charismatic leader @burcuakyol – Thanks for inspiring us all Burcu!

And be sure to join me @nealchambers

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