First Impressions (Written By AmbassadorNique)

I’m a grad student! WOAH! The wait is over, and classes have started. My inbox is overflowing with e-mails that I get by the minute, and I am doing my best to balance work, school, my social life, on campus talks, meet and greets, my hobbies, writing, photography, my family, my girlfriend, sleep, exercise, hygiene and oh yeah… READING! Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I complaining… I am loving every second of this! Actively thinking about where I will be interning next summer and what my capstone project will be. I have some cool ideas up my sleeve that I will save for a later date.

I’ve met so many people in the last two weeks I cannot even begin to remember everyone’s name. Nevertheless I hope I have left a smiling impression and I will do whatever it takes to stay committed. I am very fortunate to be in a position to learn, grow, and move closer to achieving my goals with each passing moment. I am the author of my own story and while I can’t be everything to anybody, I can commit to myself and be exactly the man I want to be.

Be GREAT,

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

Advertisements

DomoVlog: Road To Fuji — Ep 8 (BONUS CLIPS)

DomoVlog: Road To Fuji — Ep 8 (BONUS CLIPS)

On this Episode of Road to Fuji I take you with me as I explore Tokyo.

On the Road To Fuji series I hope to take you with me on my journey to explore LIFE! My goals for 2013 are to stay disciplined and focused on a lifestyle that includes better health, better financial responsibility and more education. Join me as I explore my own personal identity, and let you into my world. You think you know but you have no idea. This is DomoVlog: Road To Fuji!

Domonique Meeks

AmbassadorNique Productions

————————————————————————

DomoVlog: Road To Fuji
Ep. 1 | Ep. 2 | Ep. 3 | Ep. 4 | Ep. 5 | Ep. 6 | Ep. 7 | Ep. 8

www.AmbassadorNique.com

IG: AmbassadorNique

Road To Fuji Blog — Run This Town (Day Ten)

I woke up pretty early and forced myself to go back to sleep. I would wake up, try to organize my belongings into my bags. We would be meeting Snipes who was my fathers first friend in Japan who arrived at Yakota Air-force Base with him back in 1986. He now had a civilian job after retiring. We would get the chance to sit and have coffee with him and speak about old times, what was going on now and our plans for the futures. The last time we’d seen him was when we were living in Japan as children. Facebook is awesome!

image

After spending some time with him we would have to say goodbye as we were all meting with Kanako and Natsumi at 1pm.

After both arrived we would go to a toy store before eating lunch. We were able to sit for awhile and catch up and learn more about Kanako’s  new job working for the ambassador from the US.

After eating we would take the train to a traditional Buddhist temple where we would do a Japanese fortune teller. I was very nervous, Kanako, Natsumi and Rupert pulled good fortunes then crystal pulled a bad one that she tied. I would nervously pull a good one! Dez would pull a bad one right after.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

We would wash our hands at a temple toss a coin in a wishing well type thing and pray.

image

image

After this we would visit the many small shops in the area and just walk.

This lead us to the train station that we Would take the Harajuku. We would visit more shops for hours.

image

image

Next we would head to an arcade place where we would take booth pictures and I would win first place in Mario cart beating Rupert kanako and Natsumi!

image

image

image

After we ate again at a small lounge. We talked more and shared food.

image

image

image

image

Kanako and Natsumi would walk us back to our train station and we would say our goodbyes and head on our way back to Ginza and sleep.

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

————————————————————————

DomoVlog: Road To Fuji
Ep. 1 | Ep. 2 | Ep. 3 | Ep. 4 | Ep. 5 | Ep. 6 |

Road To Fuji Blog — Tokyo Turn Up 2! (Day Nine)

I SLEPT FOR 15 HOURS!

I woke up and would go down stairs to take advantage of the Onsen that was on the 5th floor of the the ryokan. I would return an hour later to get dressed repack my bag send a few sunrise pix to friends and family, checkout and take the taxi ride to the train station and head back to Tokyo.

We would arrive back in Tokyo around 1230 to check into our hotel drop off our heavy bags and head to the currency exchange for more yen! My good friends Sayo and Natsumi would meet us at the Ginza building currency exchange. They would get a chance to briefly meet Dez, Madi and Rupert before Natsumi, Sayo and I would head out for lunch.

I wanted Okonomiyaki for a few reasons. It’s very popular, I’ve been asked if I liked it now for YEARS! And a lot of people had asked me if I’d ever tried it. We would go to a spot in Ginza that specialized in okonomiyaki. It would be served with grilled ramen, miso soup, Chinese cabbage salad and rice. One thing I did not know about Okonomiyaki was that the main ingredient was Chinese cabbage. I am not a fan. I asked if they could make it without it but after the puzzled looked by the waiter I decided just to deal with it and eat it anyway. Honestly, it wasn’t bad! Without cabbage it would have been great lol!

Natsumi, Sayo and I talked about our lives, what was going on and what was coming up.Sayo’s husband Nayalan would join us later in the day along with her younger sister Tomo who came all the way from Nagano (2.5 hours via bullet train to spend time with us and see me!).

After eating we would head to Tokyo station to meet Sayo’s younger sister, her husband and my friend Yuki.

I was happy to see them all, especially to meet Sayo’s husband for the first time whom I had heard so much about. Nayalan is a pretty awesome individual. He pretty much knew Tokyo better than all of us. He would help me find souvenirs for my father, and a Japanese DVD player that I hoped would play my region coded Japanese DVDs (it did.. YES!). I was happy to have a chance to catch up with all of them. Nayalan even answered all of my random questions about his family background. He even has a tumblr and pretty awesome YouTube channel about his life in Japan! He is an artist who draws very well too! I didn’t get to ask him what brought him to Japan but i know he taught English for 5 years and ended up meeting Sayo.

After seein taffy being made and going to the domo store in tokyo station I would randomly see a Japanese guy with a Tulane University Greenwave shirt. I asked if one of my friends could ask him if he would take a picture with me. My brother graduated from undergrad at Tulane in New Orleans, Louisiana, so it was very surprising to see a random person with this shirt.

After this the randomness continued when we saw an electric bull outside the station. We all wondered why it was there and Nayalan showed some interest. I told him I’d pay the ¥200 it cost to ride it to video him doing it! He said he’d pay half and I could pay the other. After seeing his bravery I had to try it to! Why? Well I’m in Japan! I don’t know any of these people watching me and could care less what they think, plus who else could say they road their first electric bull in the middle of Tokyo outside in front of staring Japanese people? Nayalan would stay on for 24 seconds before getting tossed off. It really didn’t seem to be going so fast until I was the one in the helmet with one hand up. It was pretty shaky and getting clipped kind of hurt especially after being sore from Fuji! I stayed on for 27 seconds. And yes I have the video!

As the sunset we (Natsu, Sayo, Tomo, Yuki, and Nayalan) headed to Yoyogi Park which has historical relevance to being one of the first parks where bboys would practice in the 80s after wild style came out. We got off the train at Hyrajuku and walked a ways to the park and just sat and people watched and took pictures before searching for the snoop dog tribute Mural. on our way we would stumble upon a festival in the park. We drank beer, got snow cones and watched Hawaiian performers, and just enjoyed each others company for a few hours.

After this we would head to shinjiku where the hachiko dog statute and the busiest cross walk in the world is. The sidewalk wasn’t so busy to say it was Saturday night but we would walk through twice and take pictures from one of the busiest Starbucks in the world.

We would walk Yuki to her train station before going to really cool spot in the basement of some building in Tokyo. The restaurant was in the basement of a building and was almost a mini food court with about 5 restaurants. We would sit down and be given 5 menu’s from all of the restaurants and we were able to order from anywhere we wanted.

They convinced me to try raw horse meat and swore to me it was good. I watched them all prove it before I would try.

After dinner we would all head home. I had such a fun day and a great time with all of them and enjoyed their company. Sayo’s younger sister Tomo who will possibly be attending Gunma university and studying abroad at Central Washington, even baked me homemade cookies and individually wrapped them! 🙂

After making it back to my hotel I would share my day with my Brodie’s reach out to my dads old Air Force buddy about meeting in the morning shower and sleep.

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

————————————————————————

DomoVlog: Road To Fuji
Ep. 1 | Ep. 2 | Ep. 3 | Ep. 4 | Ep. 5 | Ep. 6 |

Its Been A Long Time… (Written By AmbassadorNique)

Sorry it’s been so long since my last check in, Here is a pretty lengthy update starting from where we left off.

A few weeks ago I sat bored at work with not much to do wondering if I should share this with my supervisors that I did not have enough work. To make a long story short, I told them and I’ve been slammed ever since! HAAAAA! Not really, but it has been quite busy with the start of a brand new quarter here. I am glad I shared this information as well because I am still learning so much. You can only get so far twiddling your thumbs most of the day. Unfortunately this means I do not have the luxury of time to blog like I use to. However, in my quest to obtain a raise I must show that I am worth every dime. I am learning how to manage UP and doing everything I can to take full advantage of this experience!

Life’s been great! I honestly have nothing to complain about. I took the GREs, I didn’t rock its socks off or anything, but it’s over! And I don’t want to talk about it anymore….. I am actually currently working on the mid-career Master’s program that I would love to start this September. The deadline is May 1st and the only thing holding me back is the fact that I finished my undergraduate degree in 2009 (which means I do not have 5 years of work experience) and of course my GRE scores (I said we will not talk about it…). Nevertheless I will apply anyway. Another thing that may hold me back is getting my letters of recommendation. As we all know this processes isn’t always the easiest. I am definitely applying with the intentions to succeed the first time around, but if this does not go as planned I will definitely be applying again this February for Fall 2014. WISH ME LUCK!

Other than that, I’ve been doing well. I have found time to run outside. I’ve come to the conclusion with the arrival of spring and summer there will be a lot more bbq’s, get together, hang outs, and events. I plan to do my best to stay active and socially conscience with what’s going on in Seattle, as well as support good causes. In doing this, it is a priority that I keep a well-trained body for my Fuji hike.

Speaking of Fuji, “DOMOVLOG: ROAD TO FUJI” Yeah? Well its coming soon.

I recently had a short talk with a friend from college about finances. She was listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast (Which I had no idea existed) and a man called in and said he thought the show was fake. He said there was no way people were paying their debts off in such little time making less than he did. She said Dave just laughed at him and explained that these people were not living lavish lifestyles getting rid of debt, but they were sacrificing everything that it took to do so. I thought it was great motivation to think about all the money wasted. I have been doing just okay with finances lately. My credit cards are still paid off, but I’ve been relaxing a bit more. Making time for friends and supporting causes can cost a few pennies here and there that add up. I really need to do better about cooking and making menu’s and bringing enough food to keep me full to lunch. Nevertheless my goals are going and I am a getting closer to where I want to be.

So much to talk about. I will do my best to make end this soon. I finished A Different Mirror: The Mult-cultural America by Richard Takaki. It was definitely a great book that has me thinking about the world through a differently. We are all connected, and its foolish of us to think that we are not. In America it is possible for us to inspire one another. I speak of race issues in a different tone. Every race has overcame a struggle, and most still have one. The Japanese marched along side Mexicans fighting for labor rights and Jewish people funded MLKs Christian Leadership conference. Knowing this, it’s hard to be small minded. I personally cannot let the color of my skin dictate what I can and cannot do.

Side Note** I will come back to this later. I’ve recently been talking to my girlfriend about how it bothers me when people say I am a black person that “wants to be” or “acts” Asian. Yes admittedly I have a lot of Asian friend, but I also have a lot of Latino/a friends, and black friends and some Native and white friends too. I guess it makes me mad because I take so much pride in the fact that I not only can speak intellectually about my own race, but I’ve also gone out of my way to learn about cultures of other people.

Anyway off my soap box! Speaking of Asian, this is a great time to mention I’ve just started reading Eddie Huang’s book Fresh Off the Boat. I’ll let you all know how that goes later.

I read a great short blog post from my friend Kim about being grateful for our privileges.  Interesting enough I was talking to D about the same thing over the weekend as we watched Argo. We spoke about how crazy it is that we were born in such privilege to not have to deal with so many issues. Also the role of United States in the world of both bully and aid giver. The lines can be blurred so quickly.  

Nevertheless, I am very thankful for the many opportunities and resources I have access to on a daily basis. This is something I am doing my best to take full advantage of. I will exercise more, eat healthier, spend wiser, educate myself and read more.

Well there’s work to be done. Until next time stay safe, play smart, and smile.

-Ambassador

Half Empty or Half Full (Written By AmbassadorNique)

One of the hardest parts of staying disciplined is learning to be okay with being selfish. Its hard enough to tell yourself no to certain things, but its even harder to tell the people you hold close that this time you wont be able to come through for them. This is necessary, this is vital and this must happen if I want to make it where I am going. Either separate yourself from what everyone else is doing or live the life that the average person is living.

I cannot honestly say that this week was one of success. I made poor financial decisions, I was not on top of my health, and I did not stay disciplined to working toward my goal of continuing my education. That’s not to say I failed or neglected these things, however just to be honest I could have gone way harder. Seeing the consequences of my behavior will hopefully inspire me. Since I will not be able to hit the gym Monday due to an early morning Orthodontist appointment the goal is to fit that workout in either Sunday or Monday evening. Create a schedule for GRE study time and a budget to SAVE SAVE SAVE! The tickets to Tokyo are currently way to expensive and I can only hope that a deal will appear between now and this summer.

On a brighter note this week wasn’t all bad. I enjoyed good times with some friends at a free luau, and celebrated a birthday with one of my best friends. I also enjoyed the beautiful Jefferson park this morning and wondered why I was paying for a gym when I had such beautiful park less than a mile away (Seattle rain maybe?). There were also tennis courts! I scheduled an appointment with a woman at the University who I hope will lead me in the right direction as far as applying for my Masters is concerned. I’ve also started reading a really good book that I cannot wait to share, and watched a phenomenal documentary about Japanese internment camps called Toyo’s Camera. Overall I have been happy, cooking, and healthy. In life there will always be up’s and downs. Both will continue to inspire me to reach for the stars and both will continue to teach me new lessons. Depending on what angle you look at it, this weak could be considered somewhat of a success.

Is the glass half empty or is it half full? Live long and prosper my friends.

Ambassador

Conversations… (Written By AmbassadorNique)

The day after I wrote my last post on Tumblr I was able to speak with a random young lady who had recently graduated from Western Washington University in 2011. We were both volunteering at the Seattle Community Resource Exchange, an event that gave aid and resources to Seattle’s homeless populations and anyone else who needed the resources being offered. Listening to her speak was like listening to a younger version of myself speak. The level of pride she had for her college degree and the hard work that she had put in to receive it felt familiar. I mostly did my best to listen to her speak about her not knowing if she wanted to commit to going to Graduate school or if she wanted to follow her dream of becoming a professional sky diver instructor. Ironically we had both read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” and I reminded her of the 10,000 hours that it takes to master anything. After a long conversation there was no concrete answer but she agreed that commitment was something that was definitely necessary in this case. While I believe I helped this young lady, it honestly helped me more than anything. It reminded me that nothing happens without hard work and dedication. COMMITMENT… One can not be successful without commitment.

For many recent graduates upon gradation we were hit with the harsh reality that the real world wasn’t as eager to accept fresh blood. That and student loan payments… Myself and many others returned to the drawing board re-evaluating what direction it is that we wanted to go with the rest of our lives. I personally have returned to this drawing board more times than I’d like to admit, however I am thankful to have had the opportunities to do so. While there are many directions that any of us can go without first committing ourselves to a goal there is no way to get the 10,000 that Gladwell speaks of. While I have returned to the drawing board I only hope that I will soon find what I am looking for. 

Today I received a phone call from an old friends mother that I have neglected to call in quite sometime. I never want to be the person to burden anyone when I am down, but rather share good news, resources, and opportunity. She let me know I wasn’t the only one going through hard times, and reminded me that this economy was effecting everyone. This was something that I already knew, yet I suppose we get so lost in our own world of issues that sometimes we forget. She had told me someone close to us had recently fell on harder times losing possessions much more valuable.

After ending the phone call it made me think how much I have to be thankful for. My health, my families health, my possessions, the roof over my head, my transportation, great friends, my girlfriend. If not having career in the midst of the worst depression since the 1930s is the biggest problem I face on a daily basis, I must say I have a lot to be thankful for.

Peace and Love,

Ambassador