Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sometimes East Does Meet West

For me personally, one of the more interesting aspects of international business are the relationships one builds with one's business partners. Unlike many western business practices, Oriental cultures value relationship building and cultural exchange before-- or as part of actual business discussions. Of course, western business customs do often involve things like golf or dinner, but it is very different in Asia. 
Western business is very transactional--we like to "get down to business". Oriental cultures prefer to get to know someone over time, and are very focused on the long term nature of future business opportunities. When time permits, it may even include visits to local cultural customs. For example, my Korean colleagues brought me to a temple where they allowed visitors to ring the huge bell. It was really cool to experience that and hear the loud bell gong, buzz and reverberate.

Being a student of the world, I welcome such opportunities. During my business travels to Korea, for example, my business colleagues brought me to visit a temple, nestled high in a mountain.
In front of the temple area were hundreds of colorful paper lanterns hanging over a courtyard. I learned that each lantern had individual paper "prayer cards" inside a plastic sleeve, hanging from each lantern. Curious about this custom I approached the temple to learn more.
First, I was asked to drink the sacred mountain spring waters at the base of the temple entrance. I was a little hesitant but I set aside my usual sense of caution and gave myself permission to delve into the custom. Putting my faith in the Buddha, I drank the waters, which flowed from three dragon mouths, into a stone basin.  It was oddly peaceful, alone with nature.

I met with one of the monks, who explained the lanterns. He handed a special card to me, and asked me to write down my name and names of family members or anyone else for which I wanted him to pray. He then asked me to write down what I was seeking, for myself or for the names I wrote.

He read the card slowly, meditating for awhile. A woman directed me to the temple to pray. She explained that the card would be hung from one of the lanterns, and the monk would pray for my wishes for three years. Naturally, I was amazed by this.

Shortly after speaking with the monk the woman invited me to have lunch inside the temple. A vegetarian lunch was prepared, which was delicious. My business colleagues told me it was very unusual for a visitor or even a foreigner to be invited inside the temple for lunch with the monks. It felt special to me too, but I didn't question it. I never question why things happen, as I believe it is all in the divine order.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nice Dragons

Dragons have long held my fascination. While I've never considered myself much of a sci-fi geek, I generally am interested in any such creature, especially Gryffins. The mythological Dragons throughout the Orient are usually associated with wisdom and longevity. Often times they represent luck, and power with association to the Emperor. Dragons almost always possess some magic or supernatural powers as well. Oriental dragons have been misunderstood over the years; as unlike their European counterparts which are depicted as malevolent, dragons from Japan, China and Korea tend to be benevolent in nature. Dragons can be found nearly everywhere in the Orient, depicted in both ancient and modern cultures. I especially enjoy looking at similarities-- and differences of such throughout the centuries of art and architecture. One of these days I'll prepare a more comprehensive post of the hundreds of dragons I've photographed. Oh that sounds rather tedious now that I've written then. We'll see if I'm up for it...
 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It Can Be Found

The message is here within these  photos from Asia to guide you where to go and what is next.
13-11-6-43-7-5
For everyone else, these are merely for your viewing pleasure. Please enjoy.  
福龍
我們之中有一個叛徒
態度戲劇風格

7-17-09-03-26-VIX
 Delivery by wings.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Visit to Kumamoto Castle

Business matters have brought me to Japan for a spell. On Sunday my associate brought me to visit Kumamoto Castle, which was on our way to a meeting later that afternoon. The castle was built back in 1467 and is one of the most important castles in Japan. Fortified with thick walls and a keep. With 13 individual buildings the complex is huge. It has curved stone walls, which are known as "musha-gaeshi". The wood beams inside have no nails, just perfectly cut and fitted together. The overhangs were designed to prevent any attackers from penetrating the castle.The shogun was well protected in this castle, for sure!
I'm rather busy with work but I thought I'd share two interior photos of some truly stunning wall and screen art:
Well it is back to work for me. Hope you enjoyed the pics!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Look at What I Ate Today in Japan

I'm in Japan at the moment on business. Today we ate lunch at an underwater restaurant. Yep you read that correctly, underwater as in '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'. This is the exterior of the place...once inside, you walk downstairs, below sea level surface to the underwater dining room. 
The dining room is traditional Japanese, although one very unusual aspect were the "windows" with ocean views underwater. While dining you can see fish swimming by happily. Apparently they are unaware they might be the next meal inside. I must say I was fascinated by the whole experience. But the really interesting part was when the main dish arrived....
Now, want to really see it better? Check out this video clip. Look closely at the red dots..they are moving and glowing. Yes, my lunch--the squid-- was still alive. Oh Dear Lord.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Owen Loves Delectable Delights Cat Stews

Owen enjoying O'Fishally Scampi Delectable Delights
I've been treating my cat to the new Delectable Delights cat stews from my company, Natural Balance. It didn't take long for me to realize he likes all six flavors. I had to drive to Petco yesterday to buy more cans because he already devoured the samples I brought home from work last week. The nice thing about our new Delectable Delights is that they are hand crafted, and made in small batches using real fish like tuna, salmon, shrimp, scallops, as well as fruits and veggies too. 
Owen barely takes a break from eating
Some formulas have real chicken and chicken liver, so there is plenty of variety for picky eaters or fussy cats. The funny thing is that now when I go into the kitchen, I often find Owen sitting in front of an empty dish, just staring at me as if to say "Well, my dish is empty dad, can I have more Delectable Delights?"  You can see from these pictures of Owen eating them that he really likes them a lot.
Delectable Delights with real shrimp, tuna & salmon

I am partial, of course because I work form Natural Balance but in all honesty they are really excellent because you can recognize the ingredients in every can. I didn't alter the images or color in any of the photographs I took with my iPhone. Don't they look delicious?
Look how awesome: Delectable Delights Catatouille
I decided to take a quick video of Owen enjoying the O'Fishally Scampi flavor of the Delectable Delights cat stew. You can really see how much he loves the aroma, flavor and texture of the food. Cats use their sense of smell much more than humans, which is why aroma and flavor are so important to cats. Take a look at this video I took at home of Owen devouring the Delectable Delights:
 
If you have a cat, give them a try. You can find them at any Petco store now, in the Natural Balance aisle.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Treating My Pets to Something Really Delicious

I've always been very transparent to my readers that I work for Natural Balance. It is an important aspect of my life and I'm really proud to be part of one of the few truly family owned and operated pet food companies left. I'm especially proud of a new product line we've developed called Delectable Delights. It is a line of stews for dogs and cats made with natural ingredients, real fish, meat, fruits and vegetables. 
Bowl-o-Barkgundy Delectable Delights (pic from Nat Balance)

I also had the honor of working closely with the launch of this product line, and my pets were able to "taste test" every flavor as we developed them along the way. The dog Delectable Delights are in a recycle-able plastic tub with a handy lid to reseal it if you just use a small portion at a time. The cat Delectable Delights come in a very cool upside down can with a peel off tab for easy opening. 

Gobbler Cobbler Stew
Chop Lickin Stew
Check out the first few ingredients of the Gobbler Cobbler Stew: Turkey Broth, Dried Egg, Turkey, Duck, Chicken, Pumpkin, Green Beans.." or how about the Chop Lickin Stew formula: "Tuna Broth, Tuna, Lamb, Dried Egg, Brown Rice, Peas, Carrots..." Sounds great right? Well I can definitely tell you that Sheldon and Duncan LOVE our new Delectable Delights dog stews. They go crazy for them and lick the entire dish completely clean. The best part is knowing they are made with wholesome ingredients and are healthy. No junk in these formulas! 
Sheldon loves Delectable Delights
 
Duncan loves Delectable Delights too!

The Delectable Delights Cat Stews are really great too!
Owen loves Delectable Delights O'Fishally Scampi & Life's A Beach
Delectable Delights Catatouille stew flavor
So while I may be just a bit partial because I work for Natural Balance, my pets aren't. They will tell me what they like or don't like. Don't just take my word for it, look at these photos of them all enjoying every last bite. Maybe it is because they are actually hand-crafted in small batches, or maybe its the wholesome ingredients we use. Maybe it is the tasty gravy. Whatever the reason I can tell you that they love Delectable Delights stews. You can find them at any Petco stores and also online at Petco.com.
Cat Delectable Delights at Petco.com

Monday, July 9, 2012

When New Energy Enters Your Life

I had a wonderful realization recently while driving home from work. I recalled a time in life when an incredible opportunity presented itself to me, seemingly out of nowhere. Incredible luck and good fortune was sent in the most unusual manner, shifting my paradigm and dramatically improving the quality of my life. Incidentally there have been many times in my life when something special was sent my way, at a time just when I needed it, but didn't know it at the time.

You see, once upon a time there was a monster I knew named 'Zog', a bully type with a Machiavellian philosophy whose style was to mow down everyone in his path. A total monster on every level, devoid of morals or interpersonal skills, he was hated and feared by hundreds. On top of all that he had the worst breath known to man. I recall the dark days when it was easy to be baited and drawn into his web of darkness and negativity. Every encounter would be confrontational or threatening, designed to intimidate anyone in his path. I observed it with others who had come before and even those around me at the time. It was not only tolerated, it was condoned and welcomed and simply became a way of life. As a Christian I knew it just wasn't right to harbor such feelings of hatred toward another person, but Zog seemed to thrive on it all.

One morning I awakened and sat up straight in bed and saw a vision of what I can only now describe as the future. It was incomprehensible at the time. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. A proverbial cloud had appeared before me with a hand extended holding a branch sprouting leaves. I saw energy. I felt action, movement, change. I knew that something had happened but I didn't know what.

For the sake of confidentiality and anonymity, lets just say I realized that I had complete control and power over 'Zog' that I hadn't known previously. Similar to a kid waking up from a nightmare, once awake the monster goes away. That is sort of what occurred in this situation. The Great Awakening had arrived, (although even then I didn't realize just how much would change further down the path of life). Everything had become clear, and within a very short time I put things into action. I didn't try to "stop" thinking about 'Zog', I just replaced him completely with a mental equivalent or a totally new reality. 

New energy had entered my life, and I was grateful to recognize it and seize the moment. I learned an important lesson from it all. No matter how ugly a situation may be, no matter how horrible, we always have choices of what we will allow to affect us. Let go of negative energy in life, push it aside and replace it with positive things. God doesn't want us to be miserable. I believe we are meant to be happy. Happiness therefore is a state of mind. Allow yourself to be happy. Open minds are able to recognize opportunities and let new energy enter our lives.

Forget about the 'Zog' in your life. Don't waste your precious energy fighting those monsters. Simply take control and watch him disappear into nothing....

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Feeling Great om the 4th of July

Some days you wake up and feel extra great. Greeting the day with a smile and a positive attitude makes such a difference. This morning I awakened to hear birds chirping away in the trees, a glimpse of dawn breaking on the horizon, while a pair of poodles were cuddling on either side of me. Blessings of life abound and plenty for which to be grateful, I jumped out of bed and brewed a fresh cup of coffee. I went outside with the dogs to observe the early morning sky painted in pink and orange hues and was reminded, once again how much I cherish living in Palm Springs. 

Today will be a nice lazy, relaxing day for me. A day to pause and appreciate the many blessings this great nation. I hope you are able to do the same.

Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Brief Explanation of Pinterest

Do you use Pinterest? Are you a Blogger? Do you want to broaden your network of online contacts with like interests? Are you more of a "visual person"? Pinterest is a fast growing, fascinating social media platform. Compelling, interesting,and an amazing time-vacuum, yet incredibly addictive. Find out why millions of online users are finding time in their daily lives for Pinterest. Mega brands and companies worldwide are cautiously watching and waiting...to learn more about how Pinterest can help them connect with potential consumers. 
Now more than ever, small companies and local business must learn to embrace Pinterest to advance their reach to widen their customer base. Casual fans of Pinterest should also tune in to learn a few tips and tricks about using Pinterest today. Listen to this quick episode of my radio show from right here below:

Listen to internet radio with Rick Rockhill on Blog Talk Radio

Follow me on Pinterest at: http://pinterest.com/rickrockhill/

Disclaimers...

This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients, business colleagues or my company.