Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Happy year of the sheep!

It's 2015! How did that happen? Somehow this date seems terribly futuristic, like where's my flying car already. I would settle for Elon Musk's hyperloop, which seems close enough. I think he invented an *actual* flying car at some point, but that project never really got off the ground (budum, ching!)
Also it's almost the year that Doraemon is supposed to come from with all these fancy gadgets, like a time machine, a door that goes anywhere, food that makes you speak a different language...
Oh and don't forget the propeller beanie!
Image: the height of fashion
Speaking of fashion, I've been watching project runway at a very slow pace because that is the pace it's aired at on our cable channel 'wowow'. We're still on project runway all stars season 2. The only thing preventing me from strangling the remote and downloading the remaining four seasons from itunes is that we're already paying for cable so I'm cheap.
Achem! Anyways, on the last show, they introduced as a guest judge this girl named Tavi Gevinson, who has a blog titled The Style Rookie (apparently she has moved on to bigger and better things since, see I told you we are BEHIND! )
But it is just the best thing. She collects things from around the internet and books etc ... that have a particular colorful fun aesthetic, being books, clothes, movies, clothing, you name it, and talks about it's  backstory and why it's awesome. For instance, that glowy look of Disney cartoons in the 60s were in a large part colored and designed by one lady.
So it made me think that style is in a large part having a personal aesthetic and incorporating it into your life. I think that's a good thing to aim for, as these days my priorities have been more like trying to find both of Ray's shoes in the morning and hence I've been getting kinda shabby... for instance, I haven't gotten a hair cut in half a year.
New year's resolution: polish yourself!
Er, that came out weird. Ok, I don't mean cover myself with polish. I think I've been living in Japan too long, I'm borrowing a phrase "jibun wo migaku" which means 'hone oneself'.
I resolve to hone my professional life and personal style!
So how am I going to do that? My team has a Agile methodology of doing a retrospective every two weeks and writing things on sticky notes. We list up things about the way we've been working that can be sorted into 'keep' , 'problems' ,  'try'.
I have to admit I thought taking the time to write on a sticky note was kind of dumb at first, but it gives you time to think,and that way everyone gets a say, not just outspoken people. 
You list what you thought was a good idea on the keep section, something that needs to be fixed on the problem section, and every problem listed gets some proposed solution, and then we check if it's being carried out every day until the next retrospective.
Actively working on solutions to problems is really empowering, no matter how trivial the problem, and often people feel proud to volunteer for some of the tougher solutions.
I thought this was working so well for the team, why couldn't it work for me too? So I listed up some of my 'keeps', some difficulties (not following what people were talking about on their tasks, feeling out of the loop) and thinking of some ways to overcome them. I'm feeling more optimistic already! Highly recommended.