Whirlwind of Activities

There has been a lot happening!

Between Extra-Life 2013 in October, getting up three new websites with another coming, starting my own organization “Let’s Study Japanese.org”, running my own Japanese Study Group, becoming a founding member and treasurer of the Westchester Kiwanis 321 Satellite Club, running the technical end for the Southern California Sister Cities Annual 2014 Conference, participating in a 2 day gasshuku (training camp) for Iaijutsu, helping my old college club put on another big matsuri (festival) with over 200 attendees, going on a Bakersfield Sister City Group Trip to Wakayama, Japan with 11 students and 4 other adults, going to Anime Expo as press, and again running for the board of Sister Cities International! Plus I started the hobbies of Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy) and Iaido (Japanese Swordsmanship) almost a year ago. Not to mention my job as Marketing Director keeps me very busy during working hours.

Things have just been keeping busy! I still have big plans. I’m looking at redesigning MICKEYMELLO.COM to try a new look a feel and make it more updated.

I have a lot of ambition and work cut out for me!

 

~Mickey “The Marketing Samurai” Mello

The Disconnect in Attracting Young Professionals

I got a pearl of wisdom here based on my experience.

So I’ve been seeing things lately. I see groups, especially non-profits, all talking about how their membership is aging and how they need to get young professionals to join and participate. I keep seeing a disconnect though. I look at books online and advice online, it is all directed towards the young professionals, such as self-help books, telling them what they should be doing and that they need to network and the like. I’m not saying these books and other related materials aren’t putting forward information that is helpful, young professionals likely should be doing many of these things. However, for all the talk about needing to attract young professionals, I’m not seeing these groups making any sort of significant effort in that direction.

You have all these books telling these young professionals how to run their lives, yet no one seems to be telling these groups what they need to do to get those young professionals. It isn’t a one way street here. The expectation seems to be that it is the Young Professional’s responsibility to seek out these organizations to join, and perhaps that is what they should be doing, however, the fact of the matter is that they don’t seem to be doing that. It is also the organizations’ responsibility to seek out young professionals to join the group.

Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If we take a look back in time for many of these groups, who created them? I’ll bring out Sister Cities, as I am quite familiar with them. If you talk with the long time veterans of the organizations, they’ll tell you it was university students and professionals with young families who were the core groups that established many of the Sister Cities relationships. Look at the groups now, the average age of membership for most of them are over 60 years. What happened? Where did all the young professionals go? This isn’t limited to just Sister Cities as well, it is endemic across the board.

Most groups have all but stopped trying to appeal to young professionals. There is a lot of talk, but no action to follow up. They have a youth committee that has no youth. They often want to give young professionals roles with no real impact, and they expect them to be thankful for the opportunity. They’re not giving them any leadership roles or responsibilities. These groups have stopped being mentors to these young professionals.

These groups need to realize that they’re offering these young professionals a value proposition, and they need to be able to articulate what that value is. There will be some who do good for the sake of doing good. Others do it for the experience of being apart of something bigger than themselves, where the accomplishments of their cause/organization becomes their accomplishment. Others still are in it for the leadership experience and to be able to learn valuable skills, something they may be able to use on their resumes. Let’s not forget networking as well! Not all young professionals will be participating purely for the sake of the cause. Does that really matter though? If it helps the cause and helps the young professionals become a better person in the process, I consider that a win-win.

Think about your group, how many young professionals even know about your group? If they don’t know about it, how are you even going to get them to join in the first place? Most young professionals won’t see these values without the group communicating them. Really, it is sales, you have to sell the idea, and non-profits are often terrible at it.

Stay tuned, I’ll be going more into the profile of today’s Young Professional and the issues they deal with and ideas for appealing to them.

Bakersfield – What’s Japan got to do with it!?

Hey everyone! So when you think of Bakersfield, California, what comes to mind?

Whatever you thought of, please keep to yourself, because I’d rather not know. I bet it had nothing to do with Japan though. Surprisingly though, Bakersfield has more things dealing with Japan than you would think.

Earlier this month, a group of 24 students, plus their two adult chaperones from Wakayama, Japan came to visit and stayed several days in Bakersfield with host families. Bakersfield has been a Sister City to Wakayama, Japan for over 50 years now. We’ve had student exchanges back and forth for many decades. June, 2014 we’re expecting to have a large delegation go over to Wakayama. Bakersfield Sister City is something that’ll likely continue for another 50 years.

That isn’t the only thing Japan related here in Bakersfield. I recently came across two other organizations. The first I learned through a friend of mine. I found out there was a Zen Buddhist group here in Bakersfield. It isn’t a big group, but it seems to be a quality one and they welcome anyone curious about Zen. They are having an orientation for beginners soon actually. I’ll link the brochure for it.

Intro Zen ZFB Aug 24 2013

Website – http://www.zenbakersfield.blogspot.com/

The other group I eluded to is called Bakersfield Budo. They’re a Japanese Martial Arts group here in Bakersfield that has a wide variety of offerings. From Karate, Jujutsu, Aikido, Iaijutsu, to even Shodo. It is one of those things that is surprising to find even existed in Bakersfield. Of particular interest to me is Iaijutsu, Aikido, and Shodo. They all take a nod from Zen Buddhism and there is a lot of synergy between them all. Iaijutsu is a sword art, similar to Kendo. Shodo is the art of Japanese Calligraphy. I’m sure I will be a regular at Bakersfield Budo. I’ll link the website if you’re interested in more information.

http://bakersfieldbudo.com/

Lastly, I’ve tried in vain to find a Japanese language study group in town. Although there are a couple of Japanese classes offered at Bakersfield College, there aren’t any groups interested in studying to a level beyond the two basic level classes. What do you do if something you want doesn’t exist? You create it yourself. I’ve found a few other like minded individuals interested in improving their Japanese to the next level and committed to that undertaking. I’ve created a group and have a basic structure in place for it. It is my hope that eventually I’ll be able to grow the group to something larger that can be self-sustained after I have left. For now though I’ll keep the group small until we work out the bumps.

This just goes to show that with regards to Japan, there is more to Bakersfield than meets the eye.

The-Mello-Man signing off~

Emotional “Musashi” – Historical Drama

The-Mello-Man here!

I recently had the pleasure of viewing and completing the NHK J-Drama series, “Musashi”. This is a 49 episode, one hour historical drama that is based around the life story of Takezo, who is more famously known by the name Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi is by no means a perfect person, his journey is one of discovery and much emotion. Musashi is very much an emotional individual, and his journey is one of understanding his own emotions and that of others. As he grew up virtually alone, he has a deep seated need to be strong so that he can live on his own, and is driven initially by anger. Throughout his journey he deals with many other emotions: fear, loneliness, learning to laugh and enjoy life, respect, and revenge. Watching the show it always seems as if Musashi’s emotions are ready to overflow. Each experience and encounter Musashi has develops him as a person and shapes him as the series goes on.

Musashi is not the only great character. What makes this series a great one is each character is flawed. Characters that provide guidance to Musashi often have tragedies in their lives to give them the perspective they have. At times the teachers becomes the students. Other times, despite their wisdom, those closest to them chose not to listen. Other characters lead tragic lives, often the only thing they have control of is when they decide to take their own life. Otsu and Matahachi, childhood friends of Musashi, also show a lot of growth as they try to find their paths in life.

Another thing that is interesting to note is there is a definite Zen Buddhism undertone throughout the series. Getting rid of desire, enjoying and treasuring what you have, and appreciating each day as the sun rises and sets. As each day in life brings the unknown and one could die any day, as we live in a state of impermanence.

All in all it was a very satisfying series with a lot of great characters and some good twists and turns.

Sister Cities International Annual Conference!

Hey everyone!

As you all may know, I was running for the young professional board position. The results of that is…

I did not win the young professional board election. It was very competitive and main feedback I heard from everyone was that if all three of the young professional candidates had run as normal board members, we would have all been elected. There was only one young professional position though. We all had our specialties. One candidate worked closely with the State department, another had a lot of non-profit experience, and I had the business and entertainment background.

Second, I was, however, appointed to the Youth Committee for Sister Cities International. So I did not come back entirely empty-handed in that regard. I don’t have to travel for it either, so I get to save money in travel expenses! So I’ll be staying involved and connected with Sister Cities International. Perhaps I’ll run for board again next year. We’ll see.

Third, the conference itself was quite good with a number of interesting sessions. There were some good ones on fundraising, grant writing, and for social media. The grant writing one was especially good.

Fourth, I chatted with some very interesting people and have been following up with them as I’ve been recovering from the long weekend. I also managed to get some street dancing in while at San Antonio and also impressed everyone at the conference with my dancing skills during the dinner festivities on Saturday.

I may have something more in-depth about the conference later to share.

Mickey The-Mello-Man

Sister Cities International Elections 2013!

Elections are soon to get under way for the 2013 Sister Cities International Election Season!

This is Mickey Mello handling the election coverage. More specifically, covering my run for the Young Professional Board Position at Sister Cities International for a two year term. The Young Professional position is for those who are between 21-34 in age seeking to advance Sister Cities International’s cause of Citizen to Citizen diplomacy across the country and, in effect, around the world. It seems that I will be running against three others, so it should be quite lively.

Mickey dressed in his battle attire, prepared for the election battle to come.

On June the 12th there will be a webinar for candidates to advance their platform which I will be participating in. Elections will take place at the annual conference being held in San Antonio, Texas from July 12th to the 14th. Sister Cities can either send in their ballots or designate a representative to vote in person at the  annual conference.

My platform is focused on how Sister Cities International can be more effective in their mission to help each of the local Sister Cities groups be more successful. How do we deal with an aging demographic of leaders and encourage those that are younger to get involved? How can we more effectively get relevant information to the local Sister Cities organizations? As a board member of both Bakersfield Sister Cities and SoCal Sister Cities International, I’m learning about how these two groups work together, and Sister Cities International is the last piece of the puzzle that will help me connect the dots and understand more Sister Cities. I wish to design documentation focused on getting the youth and young professionals involved, documents that lay out the step by step process to implement such initiatives.

Between my experience in the entertainment industry acting for 8 years, my time studying abroad at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, my leadership as president of “Japan And Beyond”, “International Students Club”, and one of the founders of “Campus Gamers”, my experience in Marketing and Economics through my college major and job at Global CTI, a telecommunications company, to my street dancing. I have a wide variety of experiences I can bring to Sister Cities International. I look forward to putting myself out there and I hope others will see my passion and vote me in as the Young Professional Board Member of Sister Cities International.

Looking forward to Election Day!

Mickey Mello

International Dinner 2013 Completion – Passport to Pangea

Had a good turn out this year at the annual International Dinner at California State University Bakersfield. Around 200 people attended, it was a full house. I was a performer, doing two different dances. Take look at the videos! After the videos you can take a look at the flier and the information of the event. Maybe you can attend next year!

Facebook Event Page

“Check off your Bucket list with our menu :)

The International Students Club invites CSUB community, as well as the people of Bakersfield, to come join us on April 12th 2013 at 6:00 pm, for the annual International Dinner. The event will be held at the Runner Café located on the CSUB campus. The dinner will include: live music, dance from different cultures, medieval European delicious, exotic cuisine, and much more. Join the celebration and allow us to show our gratitude for the kindness and support bestowed upon us by the community and our fellow classmates.”

_________________________

Greedy’s Gilded Grotto Begins!

Greedy The Venture Capitalist here, welcome to my piece of heaven, Greedy’s Gilded Grotto now begins!

Looks like my partner has been slacking on the posts. Mickey has been nagging me to post something to take some of the pressure off him. Bah, so demanding, and he’s not even paying me! But I guess I better do my part, I can’t complain too much since he’ll read this post later. I do like the kid, he has a lot of potential. There is a lot left for him to learn though. He has given me free reign to write about whatever I want. Maybe he’ll read these posts and learn something!

So I’ve been thinking of what to do to kick off my little corner here. I thought it best to stick with one of my loves for now, booze! I’m drinking as I write this now (I’m always drinking, it is best to assume whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it while drinking)! To keep things targeted, I’ll be focusing on a particular kind of booze, those of the Japanese variety. Mainly Sake and Umeshu (Plum Wine for the layman), but also some others of Japanese origins.

This is my “Booze Shrine”, I’m that cool looking green dude in the middle there.

I’ll be going over all sorts of different booze, I’ll describe them the best I can, maybe do a favorites ranking, and talk about the drinking culture in Japan. I might write about more beyond this, but I’ll save that stuff for a later time. The rest of the fun can start after we’re drunk and happy!

Greedy Out!

If anyone asks, you didn’t see me smoking.

New Year, New Job

Hey, Mickey “The-Mello-Man” here with an update!

First, Happy Belated New Years! I’m sure this will be a great year with many things to come. We’re already heading into February. This will be a busy year to be sure.

Now for the news! So as per my last post I did some job hunting in Japan during August. I saw some old friends, spent a lot of money shopping and made some good professional contacts, but nothing that led me to a job abroad.

Move forward to November and getting a job offer from Global CTI, a company that designs and installs integrated communication solutions and they’re damn good at it. The position was to be their marketing guy at the company. I accepted and have been working since the beginning of December! This’ll be a great position and allow me to learn a lot about business and IT in particular as Global CTI falls under that industry. I’ll be getting a lot of certifications, from those related to marketing, sales, technical, as well as ones for Project Management. This is a great position to learn and absorb a lot!

Other good news, I’ve been nominated for board positions for both Bakersfield Sister City and Southern California Sister Cities, a chapter of Sister Cities International. I look forward to continuing my efforts working in the international community. My goal is to try to get other people my age, those just starting their careers, to participate, in addition to those in school.

Things are taking off and it looks to be a good year!

One last bit of news, it seems my partner, Greedy the Venture Capitalist, wants to post some stuff. I assume it’ll center on one of his five loves in his life: Money, Booze, Smokes, Women, and Business. Not sure what at this point, he’s currently sleeping and dealing with a hang-over.

Mickey Out!

August Japan Job Hunting!

Many things are currently afoot!

At the moment I am currently hunting for a job in Japan. A difficult task at the moment, as Japan’s economy is rather weak at the moment, but then again, so is the rest of the global economy. I have been doing what I can here, but usually the best way to go about things is to put yourself out right in the middle of things and see what you can drum up, and that is exactly what I plan on doing in August!

I am planning a trip to Japan in August. I leave from LAX on August 9th, arrive at Narita Airport on the 10th, and from there I stay in Japan till the 30th, which is when I catch my return flight back home. The goal of this trip is job hunting! However, there are a few other things I want to do while I’m over in Japan.

I am a part of Bakersfield Sister City Project Corporation, which is the Sister City of Wakayama in Japan. I have been working with the organization for a while now, but I have not yet been to Wakayama. During my trip I intend to visit Wakayama, to see what our Sister City is like so as to develop a closer connection with what I’ve been helping work towards here in Bakersfield through Sister City. I will focus my job hunting efforts in Tokyo. However, while in Wakayama I will focus on getting to know the people and the city. If they would have me as a guest, I would love to get to know them more.

I plan on seeing my host family that I lived with when I was in Japan studying abroad previously. I also plan on visiting some of my friends I know in Japan as well. Catch up and see how many of them are doing. There are also some places I want to visit, both to see the sights and to purchase some things. However, all these things are secondary to my hunting for a job in Japan. If I get a job in Japan, I can do many of these things on my day off.

Thus that is my plan. I will scour Tokyo for a possible job, as it is my intent to return to live there for at the very least a few years. After all is said and done, I’ll post about how my efforts have gone, the resources I have found, and the possible paths I’ve identified. Until my efforts are complete though I shall refrain from posting any details. I will, however, post about other things when I get the time. Please take the time to read and learn about the Keiretsu which I have recently posted about! I have still more to learn about it and I will update the post as time goes on, but the post thus far should provide an overview with some depth on the subject. I hope to add more posts to my business commentary section soon.

Till next time, hopefully from Japan!