Road To Fuji Blog – Welcome To Japan (Day One)

The last time I was in Japan was March 2011. This was the same time as the infamous North Japan tsunami / earthquake. This time I am not by myself, I am with the brodies, Madi, Rupert, and Dez. While I am excited to share pictures, and videos I decided to write this so that I can do my best to tell this story in greater detail. Often times the book is better than the movie, right? Haha

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We landed in Tokyo after flying almost all day. We flew from SeaTac to LA around 630a Thursday morning PST and left LA for Narita at around 130p. The second flight was 10.5 hours. Delta International was actually really awesome. They had a very extensive free movie selection and even had free Showtime and $2 HBO. The food wasn’t the best but we were fed quite often. We landed around 445p Friday evening Japan time (Wow we pretty much flew for a day in a half lol including time zones). Madi, Dez and I had the same flight, but Rupert flew straight from Seattle and landed about 30 min after us.

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After landing it seemed like we were in the airport forever!! Customs was no problem, we exchanged some money, and exchanged our 7 day bullet train passes at and bought our ticket from the airport to Tokyo on the Narita express (¥ 3200). The exchange rate at the airport was better than the one at the hotel but not better than the one at the currency exchange place in Tokyo. After taking the 30 minute express train we arrived in Tokyo and found our way to our capsule hotels. I quickly regretted not packing the bag with wheels as walking around Japan with an overweight backpack is no fun.. The capsule hotels actually weren’t as bad as I expected. Very spacious, wifi, shower, tv (¥2200/night or about $22). We ate at a small restaurant with an English menu. I ordered gyoza and rice and shared fried rice and sweet bread. We headed back to the our capsules, showered and slept until the next morning.

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Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

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

Comfort is the enemy of dream chasing (Written by AmbassadorNique)

Its been awhile but I’ve been vlogging and journalist.. here’s a blog!

Japan countdown: 14 Days!

Okay so I had this long post written in detail but I’ll give you the short story. Last night I re-watched my old DomoVlogs from when I lived in Japan (circa 2010), how they were maybe to honest, ignorant and immature. This led me to listening to old songs I made back in the day. Hearing how unpolished ignorant about happiness, money, love and life was a bit too real. While I still have a lot of growing up to do, I am not ashamed of past thoughts, but more importantly today I want to write about comfort.

Comfort is something I feel like most people aspire to achieve. Like success, comfort is relative and someone’s ceiling is another person’s floor. We were sold the dream that if we go to college and cross the finish line we would receive a piece of paper, a decent job at the least and be able to live comfortably. These were the bare minimums. I cannot say that this is not true, because with some help from my family, I was able to make this happen after a year or two. However, recently comfort has become my worst enemy.

If you have been following me you know my 3 goals this year are Good health, education and better financial decisions. Comfort costs a lot of money and can be time consuming. Its something that we strive for but once I figured out that settling down, buying a house, getting married, and having kids wasn’t the life for me, life had to be re-evaluated. Not that there is anything wrong with that life, its just not for me. I always wanted the freedom to express myself, and share my art with whomever would watch/listen. Aspiring for comfort also meant doing things I did not want to, and looking for acceptance from people that don’t necessarily matter. We find comfort in the things we buy, nice clothes, cars, art, furniture, acceptance etc. Not understanding to maintain this comfort we will dig us deeper and deeper into a life that we do not control. Rather a life that is controlled by our income, and outsiders.

From what I understand most Americans have the ability to sign a promissory note to get a loan for college, can finish undergrad, sign up for more loans go to graduate school, and make a living working somewhere that will pay them a decent if not good salary that will allow them to payback their loans with interest, put a down payment on a house, a car some nice toys to live…. Comfortable. I get it, people just want to be happy and by no means do I look down on these people, because I too at one time or another wanted to be these people. Now… nothing scares me more than becoming one of these people. I know for a fact this was not, and is not MY dream.

I HOPE I HAVN’T LOST YOU!

I know I just painted a really black and white picture. Everyone’s wants something different and I do my best not to judge. Furthermore by no means do I want to seem hypocritical when I apply to graduate school next year. I was like most people who graduated college in this race to change the world, get paid for it to buy toys and gain “success”. What is success if you are not doing what it is you want to be doing? “Victory to me is when you spend your time right…” Success is having the freedom and power to do what we want to do with your time. Vanity will not get me closer to that, a student loan will not get me closer to that, and unless it’s get a degree I want even a Masters degree will not get me closer to Freedom! To me life is about experiences and the more comfortable I live, the less life I will experience. There are those who would disagree, and would argue children are the greatest gift in life, and money will afford you those life experiences, but personally for me right here right now at 26… hard work, opportunity and artistic freedom have provided me the greatest experiences I’ve had thus far.

SOLUTION!

I made a vow to never complain without coming up with a potential solution. My solution is to continue to scale down my life, continue to be realistic with myself about what it is I need to do. Money is not everything, but it IS important. Also important is knowing your worth (but that’s a completely different discussion altogether). Saving money is even more important. Most of the people I grew up around didn’t inherit anything with any sort of monetary value. Some of them were lucky enough to inherited culture, traditions and family heirlooms. But the solution for me is to create that tradition, create that culture. I hope my road to Fuji inspires my future children, nieces and nephews, and their children to carry on tradition to go climb Mt. Fuji like my father did in 1988/’89. In my opinion the best way to hold myself accountable to creating my art and staying on my path of creativity, education, good health and better financial responsibility  is to avoid living comfortable. Comfort is the enemy of dream chasing.

Stay focused stay hungry,

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

Cheerios ad starring interracial family very UNbold (Written By AmbassadorNique)

There are a few reasons why I care about the recent controversy over the new Cheerios commercial. One reason is personal so I will get it out of the way first. This reason is the fact that I’ve been dating outside my race since Middle School, and I too may one day have bi-racial children. How could anyone see this beautiful child caring about her father’s heart (the leading cause of death in African American’s is heart disease MESSAGE!!!), and turn into a conversation about a black man having children with a white woman.  WHAAAAT?! I’m pretty sure bi-racial children have been present in American History since before President Thomas Jefferson (oooops… lol). Furthermore, are we really afraid of interracial relationships in 2013? I thought we moved past that saga decades ago! The crazy part is this “bold” commercial is so NOT bold, Clarence Thomas would look at it and ask, “what’s the issue?”

We’ve seen television shows that have touched on interracial relationships since I Love Lucy, but I’m not sure we have seen a mainstream product advertise outside of the norm. When it comes to advertising have we only integrated people of color in stereotypical roles? The angry intimidating black man, the black woman singing or dancing for Cheese burgers, laundry detergent, chicken wraps? The over sexualized latina / Asian woman? The nerdy Asian male? Hmmm….

In closing I understand the move by cheerios to hide the comment section from youtube, however I hope they will issue a statement in support and stand behind their commercial. While I understand the move to hide the comment section from a business perspective, from a social perspective I think it stops the dialogue, and hides the truth of how people may feel when their able to leave comments anonymously. Maybe in the future cheerios will actually make a bold statement that people aren’t ready to address! (apparently they already have… :shrugs: ) I can think of a ton of examples, like the emasculated Asian male actually getting some shine, representation of LGBTQ parenting, religious statements other than Christianity and Catholicism. At the end of the day people just want to be happy and be themselves. Lets learn from other people’s ignorance and our own. The accept and promote the inclusivity that we will need to embrace one another’s differences. Isn’t that what diversity truly is? Let’s all find our true identity and embrace the identities of others, we’ve all got a lot to learn about one another something that doesn’t fit in the box.

Peace,

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNIque Productions

Connecting the dots (Written by AmbassadorNique)

This feels different… This past weekend while spring cleaning I had an epiphany. Forced to think about life, and wondering what could I be doing better to achieve different results than the ones I was getting, I came up with a solution. The issue reached its peak Friday morning when I received a denial letter from the University of Washington’s iSchool for their mid career program. Obviously I was a bit angry and down, but realistically  I definitely applied knowing I didn’t have the years expiereince they were looking for in a ”mid career” student. This is definitely not to say that I couldn’t hang with any other student in their program intellectually, or that my perspectives and experiences could not provide them with new outlooks. I knew I was taking a shot in the dark, and unfortunately I missed. At that point you can either stop shooting and go home, or you can continue to map out a way to make things happen.

What was my epiphany?

My epiphany was I don’t need anyone to validate my vision or my aspirations. Paying $30K+ for a piece of paper is not a down payment on happiness. In my opinion happiness is something we make happen for ourselves. There are things I could be doing NOW to get to where I ultimately want to be.

Furthermore, I started thinking more about identity, and how I’d been blogging my truths and my life under an alias in order to protect myself from those who wouldn’t agree, or take offense to my truths. Was I afraid to share? What would people think? What if I had gramatical errors? lol

I guess through my journey of finding out who I really am I became someone whom could care less about who found my gramatical mistakes, who was offended, and whom just didn’t agree.

Naturally when I separated my government name from my beliefs, it was for acceptance, thinking about the consequences if someone with power found my blog posts on social justice and discussions on race and fighint against institutional oppression? At the time I was unemployed, I just wanted to be someone a job would hire! Wow, how wack is that? I would be embarrassed  but this is my truth and I KNOW that I am not the only one who was hiding.

Great women and men stand behind their words and their truths. They are students and life long learners able to admit what it is that they do not know. My goal is not to be famous, or even to change the world anymore. Today, my goal is to tell my story, tell my truth, express my opinions and find out more about myself. So today I merge my brand with my name and I stand behind my thoughts, my passions, my words, as a progressive and forward thinker. Yes, I still have a lot to learn, but who doesn’t? I predict I will use language that could offend, I will say things that may be incorrect or inaccurate, but I wont be the first and I am sure I won’t be the last.

Today I know who I am, and I know the power of my words, do you?

-Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

Cory Booker on the Presidency, Social Media, and Jersey

“If politics can’t keep up with this [technology] in many ways its going to be bad for our democracy.”

The city of Newark, New Jersey’s Mayor Corey Booker discussed his personal life, social media, and the brand new world we live in. Very inspiring, however there are still many barriers.

I enjoyed this interview because Cory and the interviewer discussed the connection between social media, technology and social justice and what can be done to help promote it. While I continue to search for the best way to make a difference there is no greater time than the present to be a content creator.

Enjoy,

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions