Todd: Rebecca, you are from Australia. Can you talk about Sydney and Melbourne? Most people know Sydney and Melbourne and if somebody was going to Australia and could chose one city, what city would you recommend?
Rebecca: I would recommend Sydney, of course, because I’m from Sydney. I think Sydney is very beautiful and has a lovely deep blue harbor, lots of national park around the outside, famous landmarks, like of course the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Everybody wants to take photos of those, and it has a lot of different cultures too. It’s a very interesting place to be.
Todd: OK, so what about Melbourne? What are the good points or the highlights if somebody does decide to go to Melbourne?
Rebecca: Well, I’m probably the wrong person to ask, but Melbourne is famous for it’s good shopping and it has lots of entertainment, so good concerts. It has a big casino of course, and some people say the restaurants are better in Melbourne. There’s certainly lots of different kinds.
Todd: OK, so are they any other cities that you can talk about or recommend that maybe you’ve been to?
Rebecca: I’ve been to Adelaide. It’s famous for it’s cafes. It has hundreds of really nice cafes. You can get great coffee and it has a very beautiful park in the middle of the city so it’s a very relaxed place to be. Very nice.
Todd: OK, so we’ve got Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide. Anywhere else that you could recommend?
Rebecca: Well, I’ve never been to Perth or Darwin. I’ve been to Brisbane. Brisbane’s quite hot but in winter it’s really comfortable, and you can get good mangoes there too, lots of tropical fruit, bananas, that kind of thing, and good seafood – prawns and barramundi so yeah, a good place for eating.
Todd: Kawabe, can you explain the difference, or compare, Tokyo to Osaka?
Kawabe: Tokyo and Osaka? OK, I think that Tokyo is like New York City and Osaka is, like where? It’s like, I guess it’s like, OK, let’s say, little Irish city.
Todd: A little Irish city?
Kawabe: I’m just imagining. Maybe this is the wrong example, but um, you know, people are so friendly. This is what I want to say, and people, the relationship in Osaka between each, between, you know people, are so close, very very closer than Tokyo one and people are so friendly, you know, for example when buy something at the shop, where ever it is, someone’s gonna talk to you. “Hey, where are you from? What do you want to buy? and this is better than this. You better take this one.”
Kawabe: Yeah, in Tokyo nobody will tell you know this kind of thing in the shop, you know, it’s a weird thing in this big city.
Todd: That is strange. Why do you think people are different in Tokyo than Osaka? They’re only, you know, 500.
Kawabe: People don’t care about each other in Tokyo. It’s like New York City and, you know, there are too many people to deal with, to, you know, so in Osaka it’s a big city but it’s always, it’s also, at the same times like a huge village.
Kawabe: And in Tokyo, nobody speaks with a dialect but in Osaka everybody speaks the same language, I mean that Osaka dialect. That is why I think they are feeling the same kind of tie. Some kind of …!
Kawabe: Yeah, with each other, so and we call it Osaka-ben in Japanese, Osaka’s dialect, and that way of talking is always like very funny, always like sometimes noisy, but it’s lovely dialect. You know, everybody likes it, so the most of the famous comedian in Japan, on every kind of, any kind of TV show are from Osaka. In Japan, most of the famous comedians are always from Osaka. Yeah, so, it’s a big difference. The, OK, simply, character in Tokyo is cold, the people are cool, you know, stay cool. You don’t show your emotion very much. You’ve got to be very, very, like, decent, square, and you’ve got to act cool. This is what you have to be in Tokyo, but in Osaka, you just, you know, anything goes. You can do whatever you want to do. You can be whoever you want to be and then, you know, people are wild and free and cheerful, lovely and it looks like they are enjoying the life, like an Italian, like Italian, yes! I think this is a good example. It’s like Moscow and Venezia, or Moscow and Napoli or, you know, North Korea, Pyongyang and Rome. It’s like this.
Did you know you have the power to make our world a better place? “Who? Me? Impossible!” I hear you saying. But it’s true.
In this world of turmoil and strife, with chaos everywhere across our nation and around the globe, there has never been a greater hunger for simple words of encouragement. Excessive stress, lack of control, financial pressure, uncertainty about tomorrow—these are all taking their toll on people’s emotions, health, and morale.
However, there is hope. There is one indispensable ingredient that can transform and inspire individuals, improve life, grow a positive attitude, build self-esteem, and enhance relationships. That ingredient is encouragement.
Albert Schweitzer said, “Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being.” There are two ways to rekindle that flame, to give the gift of encouragement—by your words and by your actions.
Your heartfelt and positive words can make a difference in a person’s life, which could lead to a change in the community, nation, and world. Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
Here are some positive ways to encourage people with your words.
1. Offer praise for ordinary accomplishments. Look for the little things that most people take for granted. Make it personal. Look the other person in the eye, pause, and share your words with real meaning.
2. Show appreciation. Watch for the slightest improvement in someone. Be specific. Avoid clichés like, “You’re doing a great job.” Instead tell the person exactly what it is that you appreciate about him or her. Is it their timeliness, work ethic, the way they treat customers or the way they ran the meeting? Perhaps it’s someone’s weight loss, efficiency, or tidiness.
3. Let someone know you are praying for them. I have yet to hear anyone turn down a prayer when needed.
4. Offer words of cheer for someone depressed, discouraged, or overwhelmed. A timely encouraging word can give a person that is ready to quit the fuel to keep going.
5. Honor the person who has reached a milestone. Don’t hide it. If appropriate, express your appreciation publicly.
6. Compliment someone when they aren’t expecting it. Look for something that other people may have overlooked. Tell them what it is and why you think it was worthy of notice.
7. Always say please and thank you. Always means every time, even if it’s their normal responsibility, such as cooking a meal, typing your report, or cutting the lawn.
Remember that kind words cost you nothing, but can accomplish much. King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
1. Take time out to listen. How many times has someone said, “I feel better” after talking to you about something, when all you did was listen?
2. Send a card, email, or text telling people you appreciate them. Intentionally written words can be a powerful source of encouragement.
3. Physically help someone in need. It could be shoveling the snow for an elderly couple down the street or helping a co-worker who is running behind.
4. Be kind and considerate. It could be as simple as a smile, opening the door for someone, or acknowledging your co-workers.
Your supportive actions and words of encouragement don’t just enhance the lives of others; they enrich your life as well. The simple act of showing you care strengthens your relationships, builds trust, and increases your influence.
Are you willing to put forth the effort to recognize, appreciate, and encourage others? This may be hard for some of you who desperately need it in your own lives. It’s not easy dishing out encouragement when you are starving for it yourself, but it may be just the thing you need. We should remember the words of George Adams: “There are high spots in all of our lives, and most of them have come about through encouragement from someone else.”
Let me urge you to answer these three questions?
1. Being honest with myself, on a scale of 1-10, how encouraging am I?
2. How can I become more supportive (in word or deed) of others?
3. What changes am I willing to make to become an encourager?
The toll that aging takes on a body extends all the way down to the cellular level. But the damage accrued by cells in older muscles is especially severe, because they do not regenerate easily and they become weaker as their mitochondria, which produce energy, diminish in vigor and number.
So researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., recently conducted an experiment on the cells of 72 healthy but sedentary men and women who were 30 or younger or older than 64. After baseline measures were established for their aerobic fitness, their blood-sugar levels and the gene activity and mitochondrial health in their muscle cells, the volunteers were randomly assigned to a particular exercise regimen.
Some of them did vigorous weight training several times a week; some did brief interval training three times a week on stationary bicycles (pedaling hard for four minutes, resting for three and then repeating that sequence three more times); some rode stationary bikes at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a few times a week and lifted weights lightly on other days. A fourth group, the control, did not exercise.
After 12 weeks, the lab tests were repeated. In general, everyone experienced improvements in fitness and an ability to regulate blood sugar.
There were some unsurprising differences: The gains in muscle mass and strength were greater for those who exercised only with weights, while interval training had the strongest influence on endurance.
But more unexpected results were found in the biopsied muscle cells. Among the younger subjects who went through interval training, the activity levels had changed in 274 genes, compared with 170 genes for those who exercised more moderately and 74 for the weight lifters. Among the older cohort, almost 400 genes were working differently now, compared with 33 for the weight lifters and only 19 for the moderate exercisers.
Many of these affected genes, especially in the cells of the interval trainers, are believed to influence the ability of mitochondria to produce energy for muscle cells; the subjects who did the interval workouts showed increases in the number and health of their mitochondria — an impact that was particularly pronounced among the older cyclists.
It seems as if the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging was “corrected” with exercise, especially if it was intense, says Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, a professor of medicine and an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic and the study’s senior author. In fact, older people’s cells responded in some ways more robustly to intense exercise than the cells of the young did — suggesting, he says, that it is never too late to benefit from exercise.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe’s victory in the recent election in Japan opens up significant opportunities for political and economic change. But not in the case of one of the biggest structural problems facing the Japanese economy — the tendency of business to save vastly more than it invests, with deflationary consequences.
In an ageing society like Japan’s, deflation ought to be a dwindling threat. Rising numbers of elderly people could be expected to save less while consumption should increase with age thanks to relatively generous pensions and healthcare. At the same time, a shrinking workforce should enjoy increased labour market power and demand higher wages.
In the event Japanese households have reduced their savings close to zero. Yet this has been more than offset by the rise in corporate savings. At the same time wage growth has failed to materialise. Lifetime employees continue to value security of employment and feel a loyalty to the company, which keeps them docile. There has also been a big increase in the number of part time workers whose bargaining power is weak.
Too much income is trapped in a risk-averse corporate sector awash with record profits, while Japan suffers from a structural deficiency of consumer income. The country has only escaped a 1930s-style slump because the government has run huge deficits to sustain demand, at the cost of soaring public sector debt.
The Abe government’s response to cash hoarding has been to push for higher wages and try to make corporate governance more shareholder friendly. The companies act was amended in 2014 to promote better boards and a corporate governance code was introduced the following year. The aim was to enhance corporate performance and encourage co-operation with stakeholders while securing shareholder rights. A stewardship code was also brought in to prod institutional investors into engaging with company management.
While the reforms have encouraged a greater focus on returns on equity, there has been no radical change in business behaviour. As deputy prime minister Taro Aso acknowledged recently, there is an issue here of form versus substance. Akira Matsumoto, chairman of food group Calbee, declared at an OECD conference last month that his governance priorities were customers first, followed by employees, then the community, with shareholders trailing in fourth place. That view is widely shared by other business leaders. And Japan continues to have the lowest dividend payout ratio among the Group of Seven major developed countries.
The limited effectiveness of Japan’s governance reforms is, in one sense, unsurprising. Japanese company law in the postwar period made directors formally accountable to shareholders. But in a dispersed ownership system lacking dominant family shareholders, such accountability was meaningless. Companies were run in the interests of managers and workers. Indeed, the genius of the postwar Japanese model of capitalism was that it did away with capitalists. In place of the money motive as the motor for economic growth, it substituted the employees’ work ethic.
The Japanese economy is currently enjoying a cyclical upturn. Yet Japan remains stuck with its structural savings surplus and governance scandals endure. When I asked Tomoyuki Furusawa, deputy director-general of the supervisory bureau of Japan’s Financial Services Agency, how long it would take for genuine shareholder accountability to emerge, he suggested five years.
Responding to the same question, Mark Mobius of fund manager Franklin Templeton, opted for 20 years. He felt the stakeholder mindset was too entrenched to permit earlier change. Certainly governance reform alone seems unlikely to secure sweeping changes in business savings behaviour.
Viviane: “The 12th Earl of Folgan urgently requests your presence at High Tea this very moment.” Stop! Move! Move! God! Sorry! Okay, okay.
Hot Rod: Please, mademoiselle, don’t do that.
Hot Rod: Je m’appelle Hot Rod.
Viviane: Christ alive, you’re one of them!
Hot Rod: Back! Be quiet! Do not hit me again!
Viviane: So, which bloody bot are you, then? Soundwave? Shockwave? At least tell me that I’ve been abducted by one of the famous ones.
Hot Rod: I am so much better than all of them!
Viviane: Help! I’m being kidnapped!
Hot Rod: Mademoiselle, sit down!
Viviane: Help! Yes, yes, hello! Hello, Lamborghini! Would you help? Sorry, I’ve just been kidnap… Nuts!
Hot Rod: Wow, I love this car!
Cogman: Hahaha, the White Cliffs of Dover.
Burton: That’s a good girl. Good girl. Good girl. Come on. There’s a good girl. We have guests! What’s the matter with you?
Bulldog: Shit! My bits are falling off.
Burton: Idiot! Hello there!
Bumblebee: What the hell?
Burton: Good girl.
Cogman: Master, he’s a complete knucklehead.
Burton: I’m awfully sorry about that, but, you see, he thinks it’s still the year 1918 or 1914. Something like that.
Cogman: So sad.
Burton: World War I and all that stuff. I mean… Battle of the Marne, Battle of the Somme, Battle of the Marne, Battle of Passchendaele. Trenches and mud and death and gore and all that. It’s terribly sad. “It’s a long way to Tipperary, it’s a long way to go.” Yeah, but it’s… It’s terrible! I mean, so sad, you know? But then, I mean… Isn’t it? I mean, this late onset of, well… Robot dementia. It’s not at all pretty.
Cade: I don’t know what you’re smoking in that pipe, man, but… What’s going on here? Did you drag me to some Transformer retirement home? Look, somebody better start talking, or I’m outta here.
Burton: Okay. Bumblebee? We only met when I was a little boy in short pants. I must have been that tall. Maybe taller. Or maybe shorter, I can’t remember. But never forget a face.
Cade: Bee, you know this guy?
Bumblebee: I don’t f*** with you.
Burton: Let’s have a look at this thing. Please. Very interesting. Yes. You keep a secret for so long, knowing it to be true, and yet, deep down inside, you begin to wonder, “Has my life been wasted?” Have you ever felt like that, Mr. Cade?
Cade: It’s just Cade. Look, old timer, I don’t have a ton of patience for riddles right now.
Burton: Yes, but you want to know, don’t you, dude, why they keep coming here. To Earth. Right? Ah, I do so love perfect timing. What a bitchin’ car she is!
Hot Rod: No, no, no, little lady. Why do you have to be like that? Pourquoi?
Cade: So, is this a kidnapping sort of situation or her first Transformer experience?
Burton: It’s both, really.
Hot Rod: Do not hit me again!
Burton: But she does have a rather nice fight-or-flight response.