Month: June 2013

Amazing 15 year Old Guitarist

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By Joshua Dent

I play 3-4 guitar chords on my best day of my most amazing guitar work.

I barely can hold a rhythm.

And, I certainly don’t know many different strumming patterns.

It doesn’t mean I don’t love to play and honor and respect every person who does play.

This kid will blow your mind away.

http://www.shockmansion.com/2013/06/20/video-he-must-have-sold-his%EF%BB%BF-soul-to-the-devil-15-year-old-boy-absolutely-shreds-guitar-to-pieces/#.UcxLjSvyl-A.facebook

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Hypnosis in The Taiwan

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By Joshua Dent

“Hey Mate, I do this awesome hypnosis called a past-life regression.”

That is what my Australian buddy Daniel said to me at the gym the other day.

Now, I have a hunch that the average person’s eyes aren’t going to light up, and say “Cool, can you hook me up?”

For me, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

Daniel was fortunately not only nice enough to let me give it a try, but he also captured it on video for us.

The hypnosis is very, very, light.

We still made some interesting discoveries to help me work on teaching anxiety. I also attempted a brief little pow-wow with Jerry Garcia.

Take a look at the video.

http://danieltolson.com/inhaling-the-joint/

Sexy Mandarin Free Trial Review

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One Sexy Discovery
“Incredible, Awesome, Amazing…”

This is just a small plethora of the flurry of words that raced through my head when I discovered the newest Chinese learning tool called Sexy Mandarin.

I was ready to do a back flip when my “language exchange partner” at the time mentioned how she stumbled on this website: http://www.sexymandarin.com/.

I instantly thought I struck learning gold.

Overall Experience-

I immediately logged on  my computer and went for a free trial lesson.
My free trial lesson came with a delightful surprise of dealing with such a friendly, professional, and well-organized company in http://www.sexymandarin.com/.

I was extremely impressed by the overall experience.

Teacher Dora’s Physical Appearance
As I said, I was really happy about the entire time I spent with Sexy Mandarin. I’d be lying if I told you pretty girls don’t only make me happy, but motivate me to learn more.

That is why I am going to mention the teacher’s physical appearance.

I did my free trial lesson with a young lady named Dora.

Teacher Dora’s looks can be described in one sentence:

“Drop-dead gorgeous with a smile that will make your day.”

Just being pretty doesn’t always cut it for me. Dora is very clever and intelligent to go along with a delightful personality.

If you are like me and you not only want to learn, but you want it to be fun, Dora has your academic needs covered.


Classroom Setup
Now that we know we have a great teacher, let’s talk about what the actual “online classroom” experience is like.

Never had an “online tutor” before?

Don’t worry! Neither did I!

And if you have seen my one picture website, taiwaniseasy.blogspot.com.tw, with no extra links or fancy HTML, you will quickly understand I am not exactly your tech-geek either.

The course material is presented to you in a chat room format that is extremely easy to follow.

It is so easy that I would feel confident sending my 65 year old father who only ever uses the computer to play the card game “Hearts,” to the class with no issues.

You ready to learn some Chinese with the sexy girls Pops? 🙂


Reading
Now, we know we have a great teacher and easy format to follow. We can take a look at some of the educational components of my experience.

Reading is one of the first things mentioned when you talk about learning Chinese.

Reading Chinese is no joke. It’s hard, tedious, and extremely confusing.

Sexy Mandarin didn’t disappoint us in making reading fun, and useful. Plenty of time and ample instruction was given to reading the new words.

I also like that the Romanized system of Pinyin was implemented throughout the lesson.


Writing
Now, let’s move on to the writing.

Writing Chinese is far from my favorite aspect of learning the language.

I did notice there was no writing involved at all in my lesson. I’d be lying if I said this disappointed me. I actually hate learning to write Chinese.

But, I would offer the suggestion of implementing a nifty little tool on http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php

The website has a Chinese to English dictionary that shows you how to make each character, stroke by stroke.

The girls at Sexy Mandarin, http://www.sexymandarin.com/,
would have to see if they could implement that in their lesson for people wanting to learn to write.


Just a thought..


Listening
So, you learned how to read and say a few words in Chinese and you are ready to go say hi to a pretty girl, or maybe even just order a meal.

Sexy Dora gave me plenty of chance to practice my listening skills just by asking me questions in Chinese.

My only issue was my internet connection was a little slow. So, we did have a hard time hearing each other at times.


Pronunciation
I got the reading, writing, and listening skills behind me. It is time to talk about the most difficult part of learning Chinese, pronunciation. The 4 different tones can drive the expats insane!

When my “Ni-hao” or hello in Chinese, recently got mistaken for me wanting a pack of cigarettes with that same brand name but different tone, I realized that maybe my pronunciation isn’t so perfect.

This Ni-Hao cigarette debacle was not my only recent embarrassing situation. I also stormed out of a restaurant last month when the waitress brought me spicy beef instead of not spicy chicken due to her being unable to understand my lousy pronunciation.

These two indicators were a giant slap in the face that this is something I need to work on.

Dora did not disappoint one bit in this category. She was all over me when I missed a tone, or pronunciation. Of course, she was still encouraging enough that I didn’t get frustrated.


Conversation
A boost in confidence in my pronunciation can only lead to what is most important for me about learning Chinese. That is to carry on fun conversations.

Being a professional Chinese translator has ABSOLUTELY no appeal to me.

I am honestly only learning Chinese for survival skills, maybe to be a better English teacher, and because I like showing off for pretty girls in Chinese:)

Dora opened up the flood gate for conversation after she taught me the words for “hot girls” in Chinese.

She was very sly about sliding that word into our lesson. I immediately thought that finally somebody gets that I am learning just for the sake of having fun.

That is the way learning should be in my opinion.

She also was nice enough to do a mock conversation where I say you are a hot girl, I like you, what’s your phone number?

She even leaned closer and smiled when I said what’s your phone number?

I am smart enough to realize that Sexy Mandarin is a business, and she has to smile, and be playful

But, good natured flirting with zero expectations is always fun. I think it just lifts the spirits of all parties involved.


Follow Up
After my 60 minutes of smiling, practicing, and really having fun learning Chinese was over, I got one more pleasant surprise from my tutor for the day, Sexy Dora.

This included a detailed and easy to follow review of the day’s lessons.

Maybe, she saw the 7 bottles of milk tea on my desk, and papers everywhere and thought she needed to do this for me especially. It was still a really nice, and professional gesture.


Creeper Alert
Like I said, it was truly an awesome experience for me. That is why I feel obligated to make sure everyone knows that they are a legit organization.

So, if you are a weirdo that thinks you can manipulate these girls into doing unethical things, just throw that idea right out.

The girls will have fun with you while they teach. By “fun,” I really mean just laughing, and smiling.

But, it will go NO further than that.

They had one instance a while ago of a student being verbally abusive with a teacher. They eliminated that dude quickly!!

It was also to see the entire Sexy Mandarin community be so supportive of the teacher abused. This included the student body.


Future Plans
Overall, these girls are smart, fun, beautiful, and professional. I strongly encourage anyone to give them a try.

Are you wondering what is in store for the future of Sexy Mandarin?
You can like them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SexyMandarin?fref=ts, and see for yourself.


Here is a picture to get you in the mood to study from their facebook page.

The Amazing Gift of The Waterfalls of Wulai

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Why I Travel
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Nine months ago, I lived on a beautiful 4 bedroom ranch with 2 acres of land in Phoenix, AZ.

I gave that all up without hesitation for the name of travel and adventure.


“Smile, Smile, Smile”
Tonight, I am typing once again on the tiny foot stool-sized chair, and miniature desk in my very small Jhongli, Taiwan apartment.

The only noise I can hear is the rattle of my ancient air conditioner that barely keeps the temperature tolerable.

I am still feeling EXTREMELY fortunate

I was given a gift yesterday about how precious life really is.

I missed my 9:30 bus to a “river-tracing” destination of Wulai, and suddenly felt like the world was going to end.

My face mimicked the face of when I was a 13 year old boy and my mom told me I had to turn off “Tecmo Bowl” to work on homework. I was pissed!

It all worked out ok though. I joined up with an older Taiwanese man and his daughter to go halves on an extremely cheap cab ride to our destination.

It did not take long for me to realize that this older man in his mid 60’s with 4 straggling white hairs across his upper lip was one of the happiest people I ever met.

He and I laughed, joked, and bonded like no other on the ride out to Wulai.

The laughing and joking all took a dramatic turn about halfway into the trip. That was when he informed me he was going to die any day now. Of course, he said this with a smile and a laugh.

The doctors had notified him that his cancer was spreading too rapidly in his stomach for medicine or treatment to even be worth it.

I just couldn’t believe it! I didn’t know how it was even possible since he was SO happy.

I immediately changed from glowing and smiling ear to ear, to a little bit of that shaky feeling you get when those watery things fill up the bottom of your eye lids. (aka-tear drops) When I was 8, I use to tell my Mom and Dad “My eyes are sweating.”

With the threat of “sweaty-eyes” looming largely for myself, I realized it was a situation that I could not have prepared for.

This dude seemed like one of the most legit people I met since being here in Taiwan, and he could be taken away at any moment.

It was so confusing to me.

However, his actions and his demeanor helped me realize he must have made some sort of turning point.

He came to his comfort zone.

He realized one of the most important lessons I hope we all learn. This message has been played many times in the Grateful Dead song, “He’s Gone,”

The most important words any of us could ever choose to live by are: “There’s nothing left to do but SMILE, SMILE, SMILE.”

That was the choice he made. He made the choice to just SMILE, SMILE, SMILE.

Man, I give him incredible props for that. I have been told and read hundreds of times that death is the biggest motivator.

I personally can never really conceptualize comments like that until I live out a similar experience.

I now have a 110 percent grasp of how true the motivation of death actually is. This was 4 days ago now.

This man’s picture, and the sound of his laugh are still like I have never left that moment. My wish is that they carry on with me every day for the rest of my life.

I am so thankful I met this guy. It was such a helpful reminder that there really is nothing left to do but, SMILE, SMILE, SMILE. .

Funny Father Sayings From "The Taiwan"

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By Joshua Dent


Best Dad Quotes
“I’m not going to a GOD DAMN museum!”

Author (Dale “Larue” Dent)- Josh’s father

Let’s also not forget the strong emphasis my dad placed as he grinded his teeth together when he got to the word, GOD. It took him much longer to say the word GOD, than the rest of the sentence.


Dad Highlight Reel
This quote mentioned above would probably go on my own personal “Dad highlight reel.”

It was one of the funnier ones he used to say. We always knew it was coming as kids anytime he got within 100 yards of a museum.

This is especially hilarious because I don’t think anyone in the Dent family ever ONCE, even hinted at the fact that we wanted to go to a museum.

He was still so intent on the fact that he would not step foot inside a museum.

I know it is hard to even understand this level of intensity over something so trivial. But, this is my father and that is why we love him. ha!

His irrational hatred of museums is one of the SO many humorous memories I have of him. Writing this blog which contains lots of childhood reflections has helped me reconnect with so many funny memories of him in particular.

His funny-man style is coupled with an extremely quirky personality.

He actually wakes up before the newspaper gets delivered, rarely leaves the house without a cooler of beer, and he couldn’t possibly imagine a day without The Weather Channel, and C-Span. These are just a handful of odd and bizarre bits and pieces from his daily routine.

By the way, I wish any man or woman luck who dares an attempt to alter any part of his routine.

Do you know anybody like that? ha!


Family Influence
I have obviously progressed forward in life enough that I no longer live under the care and guidance of my parents at the dusty old age of 35.

My own fierce streak of independence and the lust for adventure have brought me even further than just leaving my parent’s house. I have come all the way across the globe to hopefully sort out life while teaching English in “The Taiwan.”

One of the more amazing parts about being so far away is my own recognition that the voice of my parents can still be heard in my head, daily, no matter how far I wonder.

It is like their voice has the capacity to span tremendous distances, and persevere through decades of time. How do they do that? ha!

There is a reason the earlier mentioned “dad voice” was ringing so strongly in my head recently.

I decided that I was actually going to take my chances on dare I SAY it, a nearby musuem.

I knew that when the time came to go to the once feared museum, I would have the voice of my dad whispering in one part of my brain, things like “this won’t be fun,” or “Why waste your time inside on a nice sunny day?”

I also knew that the other side of my brain would be saying “give it a shot, ” or “You might like it.”


The Battle of Choice
The Saturday morning finally came where I was fully committed to spending some time inside of this museum. The name of it was the Yingge Ceramics Museum.

I thought it was only natural when I woke up at 8:00 a.m. that morning to look outside and see nothing but bright blue sun. The reason I anticipated this was because it would make it even more difficult for me to want to be inside.

Sure enough, this bright blue sun triggered the voice of Pops. It felt like his words were beating in my head like a drum with comments like “You don’t want to go there,” “You should be outside.” or “You should go for a hike.”

The other side was coaching me to take a chance on a more culturally-enriching experience. It was quite the tough sell to myself.

But, the museum argument, in my head, finally won out just about the time I stepped outside of the train station of my destination, Yingge.


Walking To The Museum
After such an intense battle between the two different sides of my personality, I left the train station and just followed the signs on a walk towards “Yingge Ceramics Museum.”

I continued to try to convince myself on the stroll over there that this could be fun.

As I walked, I tried to prepare myself to think about what life here must have been like in these ancient times. I was putting up a brave battle. But, I could just tell I wasn’t getting into it.

It was especially difficult since the backdrop of this tiny mountain village was absolutely spectacular. I have always proclaimed myself to be much more of a mountains and beaches kind of guy than tall buildings and city life.

It was like the mountains were saying come find a trail even though you are in $7 black and blie Wal-Mart flip flops.


Museum Time
I officially made it through the battle with myself when I got to the entrance of the museum.

I put my on my fake smile and tried really hard for about 5 minutes to get excited about the history of this village.

I really don’t have too much to say about the museum. I was walking through it like a programmed robot.

I just couldn’t bring my interest level up no matter how hard I tried. I could still hear my dad saying “I’m not going to a GOD Damn museum!!”

That is why it only took another look or two out the window at the humongous surrounding mountains to spoil some of that “museum intensity.”

I plowed through all 3 floors of the museum in about 25 minutes

At that point, I knew I was just done with my “ceramics adventure.” It was time for me to head outside to try and find a spot to hike.

Without a plan or a map, I was off into the mountains after those 25 minutes of hell. I have some good pics and another write up coming about the rest of the afternoon shortly.


Conclusion
I am certain this museum was reasonably fine for most people to pay a visit. But, It is really awesome for me to finally get a grasp on why we do things certain ways.

So much of our earlier experiences shape us into the person we are today. This is something I was completely oblivious to until entering my mid 30’s.

My parents are now tens of thousands of miles away. I can still say something and be unsure if it was me speaking, or one of them.

I tried to fight it for a long time. I think it is foolish to fight the similarities. I feel like I can just recognize the strong ones and continue to build on them, and just be aware of some of the weaknesses I may have inherited.

How do you deal with “hearing the voice of your parents?”

Taiwan Chicken, NOT Spicy Beef!

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By Joshua Dent

 
I was so proud to walk into a Chinese restaurant tonight with no pictures, English menu, or slurpees. (i.e, 7-11) and have a go at getting some decent Taiwan grub.

I gave the waitress what I felt like a pretty was a very well-spoken statement in Chinese of “I would like the chicken please, and not very spicy.”

This 70 year old bag/waitress proceeded to act like I was speaking fucking Swahili after I gave my order.

After my 4th attempt to repeat myself, I decided to go to the hand gestures.

I gave what I thought were two very easy to understand signals, one for chicken, and one for not spicy.

I even bocked like a chicken when I put my hands under my arms and pretended to flap my imaginary wings.

So, what did the old bag do?

She promptly returned to my table with a plate FULL of some of the SPICIEST, and shittiest BEEF (not chicken) I ever had.

Hats off, Old Lady!

You got me on that one! ha!

Sometimes, it is harder than others to have a sense of humor here. But, you really need it to stay out of trouble sometimes.
 

Travel Quotes

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This is one of the most inspiring web sites I have ever seen. A globe and a credit card could be very dangerous after reading this one.

http://www.roughguides.com/gallery/50-inspirational-travel-quotes/