Category Archives: Self-Development

A Guide to Happiness – Kōfuku No Shiori(幸福の栞)

Kofuku No Shiori - JapaneseA couple of weeks ago I posted a few of observations about Kōfuku No Shiori on Facebook – posting a longer follow-up here at the suggestion of friends.

fuku No Shiori (幸福の栞), which translates as “A Guide to Happiness“, is a short text by Takamatsu Sōke. In seeing the Japanese original again recently, a number of things came to mind and I thought it might be good to post an English translation that will perhaps breathe some new life into this well-known and meaningful piece. Here’s the Japanese original:


Let’s break it down and see what we can find … Read the rest of this entry

Thoughts on Kaname

I was asked today to write something about Kaname in advance of a seminar I’ll be giving at Bujinkan Manitoba on May 26/27. The following are some thoughts I put down based on my experience of feeling and hearing what Sensei has been teaching on this subject this year.

Kaname (要) is a word that means “essence,” or “essential point.” It refers to that which is necessary for a thing to be what it is. For example, each technique from our Nine Schools has something about it that makes it unique. For Ganseki Nage to be Ganseki Nage, and not Omote Gyaku, there are things about it that make it distinct. Those things are the “Kaname” of Ganseki Nage, the things that make it what it is, distinct from other techniques, the things that comprise its essential character.
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What do you value?

Are those things worth enough to you to make the necessary sacrifices for? If not, then perhaps you do not value them as highly as you may think.

Riding in the car, I had to remove my sunglasses and looked for a good place to set them. On the dashboard, they could slide around and get scratched, just as they could if I put them in the glovebox or even in my bag. I began to think about how concerned I was about the sunglasses in relation to their value. They weren’t very expensive and I’d had them for over a year.

I started to think about how often we are concerned about things of little value. We often spend more emotional energy on things than they are really worth. If we spend our money on “stuff” that has little or no real value or importance, it is easy to fall into this trap of becoming overly concerned about things instead of spending our emotional energy on things that are really much more important.

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Firing My Boss

Today was my last day as an employee of T-Systems, the German IT company in Tokyo I’ve been working for since April of last year. A few of us got together to swap some drinks and memories after work. For the most part, it was a positive experience, but its time to move on. The Agel business is growing to the point where it can take off, and its just time to make a number of moves at the same time. I leave for Canada tomorrow.

Thought for the Day

Saw this on Facebook and thought it was a good reminder to make the most of every minute to invest in the things that are truly important in life:

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it’s harder every time. You’ll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You’ll fight with your best friend. You’ll blame a new love for things an old one did. You’ll cry because time is passing too fast, and you’ll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you’ve never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you’ll never get back.

Don’t be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin!