Building Self-Esteem in Children – What Role Do You Play?

I have posted an earlier article (7 self esteem boosters for children) which gives an outline of how the parent or the caregiver can help. Now I want to inform you on how to take action on the theory. I’ll walk you though how I do it. You will be able to look over my shoulder and do the same.

These are generally father and son activities, but many of them can work equally well with daughters and mothers participating.

This article will show you how to create and enjoy activities which help in building self esteem in children.

1 – How to plan to spend time with your children

2 – How to choose and plan an activity to do together

3 – Doing the chosen activity together

4 – Joining a community

5 – Letting the children fly

Holidays are perfect for spending time with the children. Often though, you have to plan to make this time. This is your choice. You and you alone are the one who controls your time. Time is not something you can save or bank for a later day. Time is your life, now!

I’m extremely lucky as I work from home. Therefore, I can plan my own time. I sleep for 8 hours, work for 8 hours and that gives me 8 hours to play. I’m able to plan to spend 2 to 3 hours on each day of the holidays on activities aimed at building confidence in children. This is the first step; you must make the choice how much time you will spend with the children on the activity.

So what can you do together? Well that of course depends on the age of the child. It could be sand castle building or vegetable plot creation. Make a list of different things you could do together. See what will attract your children. I find it great fun, to surf the internet together, to seek out activities on your list and see how the children respond. The children love this responsibility and it is a good start in building self esteem in children. If they do not get excited, then never mind, move onto the next activity on your list. I’ve been surprised at what ages the children pick up different activities and let go of others. Our two boys were still playing with their Brio wooden train set long after we had built a WWII battlefield complete with Hornby trains and airfix models.

If you decide upon an activity, where you have an interest or its something you have always wanted to do, then even better.

We’re located close to a beach here in Finland so we decided together to try windsurfing this summer. Our two boys are just beginning their teenage years and are good swimmers.

What resources or support do you need to carry out the activity? For sand castle building you just need to find a couple of buckets and spades, and you are set to go. For vegetable plot creation there will be more materials to obtain: timber, soil, young plants, protective netting etc.

For windsurfing, I needed to check the local beaches and find a windsurfing school who could provide lessons and rent equipment. So again there is planning to do before you can try the activity. Again you can do some internet research together. You will be surprised at how fast they can obtain the required information. Again, this is another activity promoting responsibility and greatly assists in building self esteem in children.

Let the action begin. Remember this is not a competition! The aim of the activity is to promote building self esteem in children. You want them to enjoy the activity. The more they enjoy the activity, the more they will practice. The more they practice the more they will shine. Once they excel then they really start to build high self esteem. You want to encourage them along the way. It is their effort to master the activity which must be praised, not the level they achieve. This is a hugely important point – it is the effort that is praised. This will program them that it is the effort that counts.

If success comes early so be it, but the children will be programmed to keep at it until they succeed. Children truly appreciate it when parents and carers recognise their efforts rather than their results. As my 13 year old son said this week, “I’m really proud of my efforts to succeed at windsurfing. It takes a lot of practice and effort. Football is so easy; you just have to kick a ball!”

So those are the moments I live for. To be present as the children’s self esteem is built block by block. There is an excellent product by Dr Joe Rubino for overcoming negative cellular memory in elevating children’s self esteem.

Quite often activities are undertaken as part of a community. Vegetable plots on a local allotment are extremely social places. Children’s plots can be appreciated by the other allotment members. In our case, the windsurfing school has other surfers on the water who often compliment the boys on how they are progressing.

Compliments from others are powerful in building self esteem in children. Teenagers especially look for acceptance in the wider world. Sometimes, this is a big step to take. We have found that self hypnosis products by Uncommon Knowledge can actually help in overcoming a fear of social occasions. Their products can even be used for dealing with exam stresses.

Let the children fly. If they take to the activity, support them in their efforts. Let them spread their wings. Remember it is the effort you are praising, not the result.

These are the first, essential steps needed to prepare them to leave the nest. The final act for the parent is to allow the children stand on their own two feet. Once they can do this then it is time to kick them out from the family home.

Here, is a list of activities which are all terrific for building self esteem in children.

I hope you can think of some more, especially mother and daughter ones. Better still post your stories and experiences

Self Esteem activities for children:

Toddlers

Reading together

Sand castle building

Pre teens

Vegetable plot creation

Washing up

Preparing a course for a meal – salad

Team games – football, ice hockey etc

Horse riding

Camping out

Fishing

Hornby trains and airfix models

Early teens

Body weight exercises – press ups, sit ups

Golf

Mountain Biking

Wind surfing

Creating and maintaining a blog

Cross country ski ing, skating, snow boarding

Trips to hockey, football and other games

Best regards and be free!

Holidays in Britain – Your Guide

As the credit crunch continues to bite its way through our disposable income, more and more people are making the decision to holiday in Britain. Britain as a holiday destination has not only become, perhaps by default the preferred location for the Brits, but it continues to attract ever increasing numbers of European holidaymakers due mainly to the weak pound.

Holidays in Britain lost there popularity, particularly during the last decade, when it was perceived to be cheaper to go abroad where the British pound gave more buying power. Consequently the Brits in droves flocked to the Spanish costas, Greek Islands and turkey to name but a few destinations. Summer 2009 will inevitably become one of change as people are forced for economic reasons to put aside fears of the unreliable weather and look for ways of enjoying a family holiday in less sunny climes.

Why not take a look at my survival kit,  maximise your fun without going over budget. Plan to start your holiday the moment you lock the front door behind you. With no lengthy check -in queues and stuffy departure lounges to contend with, you are free to relax and enjoy the journey from the offset. Travelling time can be used productively, particularly if you go by public transport.  There are bargains to be found for train and coach journeys you just have to look around:  

National Express Funfares.

Travel to selected destinations for as little as £1 per person, one way. Available on 180 routes to towns, countryside and seaside resorts, the length and breadth of the UK. Subject to availability and only available online.   

Train Operating Companies.    

The groupsave offer allows three or four adults to travel together for the price of two adults. In addition up to four young persons aged between  five and fifteen can travel for as little as a £1 per person single or return. 

Family and Friends Railcard

Costs just £24 and up to 4 adults and 4 children can travel. Saving 1/3 off adult fares and 60% off children’s fares. 

 Advanced Saver Tickets offered by most train operating companies, offer exciting discounts providing you book in advance. Discounted tickets become available from 12 weeks before the date of travel and with Trainline you can sign up for alerts when the discounted ticket prices become available.   Before you buy your rail tickets it is advisable to check out the destination station. If a taxi is required then it may be cost effective and ultimately quicker to get a train to the nearest largest town and pick up a taxi there. Chances are if you are in a location that does not have a taxi service you will have to pay for the journey from the town to where you are and then onward to your final destination.  

Accommodation.

Always check your prospective accommodation on trip advisor to find out how others rate it. This often proves invaluable.    Make your hard earned cash go further by holidaying in Britain this year. Britain 2009 has become the preferred holiday destination for hundreds of thousands of holiday makers. Here at OPH we have devised a general guide to holidays in Britain and we trust this shared experience will not only give you alternative ideas but also prevent you from falling into some of the pitfalls and make your British holiday experience more enjoyable.  

Endorse the British weather.

We all know the British weather can be unpredictable to say the least,especially during the summer months. If you plan your holiday around hours of sunshine you may be disappointed. Simply by endorsing the British weather and planning your holiday around weather defying activities will set you in good stead to have an enjoyable time.  

Do Your Homework Before You Go

Its never been so easy to find out about your holiday location. Look on the internet or contact tourist information for events and activities, particularly freebies and those held indoors. Take time out to discuss which events you would like to attend. This way you’ve got your party onboard from the outset  

All Weather Attire

Sunglasses and swimwear are all well and good but remember to pack wellies and a rainmac. Chances are if you have to start buying such clothing from the local gift shops you will have to pay well over the odds. It can actually be fun jumping into puddles and walking in the rain when you are dressed for the occasion. It surely beats huddling in shop doorways and moaning about the weather.  

Accommodation

Choose accommodation wisely. Cheap b&b’s are all well and good but not if you feel obliged to leave the property immediately after breakfast and not return until the evening. Communal rooms such as TV room, games room and lounge are a must particularly if you are travelling with children. Hotels are usually less restrictive and may therefore afford better value for money in terms of having more facilities onsite. Check out Trip Advisor before you book, that way you can learn form other peoples mistakes without risking your hard earned cash. Hotel websites are after all meant to be enticing.  

Travelodge offers cheap rooms for as little as £9 for basic, clean accommodation. Up to 3 adults can share or two adults and two children. Many are in town locations so if you are using public transport it,s not a problem and you needn’t be far from the action.

Fabulous Penis Sensations – How Acetyl L Carnitine Boosts Sensitivity

If 100 men were polled about their sex lives and asked what would make it better, it’s not too hard to imagine what types of things would be on that list. Most men desire to have a bigger penis, last longer in bed, be ready for back-to-back romps in the hay, and achieve mind-blowing orgasms for themselves – and hopefully their partners – each and every time they slip between the sheets. Ironically, much of that can be achieved by the average man if he simply spends a little more time caring for his penis and maybe a little less time simply wishing for a better sex life. Sadly, however, unless Santa Claus has begun fulfilling some rather adult wishes these days, the size of one’s penis is not going to be drastically changed – without the aid of a seriously expensive and painful surgery! Luckily, a man can still experience fantastic penis sensations with the equipment he was born with, so long as he takes care of it and maintains a healthy penis throughout adulthood.

Why Penis Sensation is Key

Most men rarely take the time to really stop and think about the functioning of their penis. As long as it comes to attention in a reasonable amount of time and gets the job done, the penis is fulfilling its primary sexual duties. However, if a man takes pause, and even does some casual exploration of his penis, he may realize it does not have the same sensitivity level it once did. A man reflecting back to early sexual experiences may remember a day when the slightest touch could drive him wild, or even the delicate brush of a feather could nearly send him over the edge. Whereas today, it may take rough stimulation or a 5-minute blowjob for him to become hard enough to actually have sex. Now, while it is true that few men long for the days of middle school when walking briskly in a pair of corduroy pants could inspire an embarrassing erection, no guy wants to waste time coaxing his penis to come out and play when the time is right. Now, what’s the main factor that determines if a guy’s manhood snaps to attention in an instant or slowly slouches its way up to standing? Sensation. Simply put, the less sensitive a guy’s penis is, the longer it takes – if ever – to achieve erection and vice versa.

What causes loss of penis sensation?

Most men are none too gentle with their member; years of vigorous masturbation and sexual activity gradually causes desensitization from the harsh friction. In fact, even non-sexual activity can add insult to injury and reduce sensitivity to the area. Friction from blue jeans, drying soaps, and even chemicals in laundry detergents can all damage the delicate skin of the penis, making it less sensitive to touch. Imagine the skin on the fingertips and how it becomes calloused, thickened and tough through repetitive labor. A finger with a callous perceives fewer sensations than one without the thick skin, which is essentially what happens to the penis over time, but to a lesser degree.

Can anything prevent loss of sensation in the penis?

Acetyl L Carnitine – or ALCAR for short – has been found to have penis health benefits in terms of penile sensitivity. ALCAR works on the penis by repairing and renewing damaged nerve cells while also helping the body grow new, healthy nerve cells. New, healthy nerve cells, in turn, lead to an increased sensitivity of the penis itself. ALCAR not only helps to heal old damage to the nerve cells; it also protects future damage through its neuroprotective properties. Applying a penis vitamin cream that contains ALCAR (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) is the perfect way to ensure the penis gains all the benefits of this powerful ingredient. Daily application can repair old nerve damage, while preventing future damage and loss of sensation.

Fitness Video Games Compare Well With Traditional Exercise

Although I was initially opposed to the idea, my wife recently decided to buy a Nintendo Wii game system for our 9 year-old daughter and 6 year-old son. Like many school-age children, our two kids already seem to have more sports classes, academic classes outside of school, and play dates than they have time to attend. (Oh, and let’s not forget about the daily deluge of homework that they bring home each evening from school!) Having been overruled by my wife, however, I resigned myself to yet another distraction (centered around the television) for our children to deal with each day.

Soon after setting up the Wii gaming system in our home, our two children were happily immersed in playing various fantasy games with each other, leaping around our living room while clutching the wireless remotes, screaming and laughing the whole time. Every now and then, despite my feigned lack of interest in their new gaming toy, I would also find myself drawn into a vigorous game of Wii bowling or Wii table tennis. While playing these and other Wii games with our hyperkinetic 9 year-old daughter, I actually found myself working up a bit of a sweat in the process! Soon thereafter, we purchased some additional “Wii Fitness” games, as well, including a “step pad” that allows players to perform stepping exercises with a group of imaginary fellow steppers. And so I watched, with some amusement, as our rambunctious 9 year-old daughter briskly hopped up and down from the step pad along with her imaginary stepping friends, clapping her hands and flailing her arms about in the process.

While I still have some reservation about having a video gaming system in our home, I was impressed that our exercise-adverse kids had found an entertaining way to burn off some extra calories using Wii fitness games. This week’s health research review column is, therefore, focused on the potential health benefits that may be associated with fitness-related video games (“exergames”), including the Nintendo Wii system that we have in our living room.

A newly published clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, sought to actually measure the amount of calories burned while playing video-based “exergames.” In this study, 39 boys and girls (average age was 12 years) were asked to participate in several different fitness-related video games. These games included Dance Dance Revolution, Light Space Bug Invasion, Nintendo Wii Boxing, Cybex Trazer Goalie Wars, Sportwall, and Xavix J-Mat. These children were also asked to walk on a treadmill set at a 3 mile-per-hour (mph) pace. Using standardized metabolic measuring equipment, the energy expenditure associated with these physical activities was measured in “metabolic equivalent task values” (or “mets”).

At a time when obesity is rampant among both adults and children, the findings of this new study have further decreased my reservations regarding the Nintendo Wii gaming system that now resides in our living room. First of all, the six different measured activities all significantly raised these children’s energy expenditures above resting levels. Walking at a moderately brisk 3 mph on a treadmill resulted in an average energy expenditure of 4.9 mets. In comparison, while playing Wii Boxing, these kids reached an average of 4.2 mets. The energy expenditure of the remaining four “exergames” was even more impressive: 5.4 mets for Dance Dance Revolution, 5.9 mets for Cybex Trazer Goalie Wars, 6.4 mets for Light Space Bug Invasion, 7.0 mets for Xavix J-Mat, and 7.1 mets for Sportwall.

The findings of this study are very impressive. Just to place the measured energy expenditures noted with the six activities assessed in this clinical research study into perspective, moderate physical activity, which includes activities such as walking at a brisk pace, swimming, and moderate-paced bicycle riding is associated with an average energy expenditure of 3 to 6 mets. Vigorous physical activity, which includes such activities as jogging, mountain climbing, singles tennis, or riding a bicycle uphill, involves an energy expenditure of more than 6 mets. All five of these “exergames” were associated with an energy expenditure level of at least “moderate physical activity,” while three of these gaming systems were actually associated with “vigorous physical activity” levels more commonly associated with intense levels of aerobic exercise.

As we struggle with the rising incidence of obesity among an increasingly sedentary generation of boys and girls in the United States, and in many other countries around the world, the use of “exergames,” such as those that were evaluated in this clinical research study, may offer our children an opportunity to combine the video gaming that so many of them love to play with levels of exercise that were formerly associated with the high-intensity sports that are, increasingly, being eliminated from school-based and after-school physical fitness programs. The findings of this important study strongly suggest that it is possible to combine video-gaming with significant levels of exercise, and in a format that many children will find entertaining and fun to engage in. So, in the end, my wife’s decision to purchase the Nintendo Wii system may not have been such a bad idea after all… 

For a complete evidence-based discussion about exercise as part of an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.” For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

Easy Family Travel in Great Britain – Great For Grandchildren

Anyone who has traveled in the USA with children knows how hard it can be to research the area, plan interesting activities for the kids, and at the same time, relax and enjoy your vacation, too. But when you plan your family vacation with a travel professional to plan your overseas trip, it can be worry-free.

Traveling with a family requires a different type of vacation, and traveling overseas has its own challenges – passports, time changes, disrupted sleep schedules and more. England, and all of Great Britain come to mind as stress-free family vacation destinations.

Are you or your children history buffs, Harry Potter fans, or just interested in travel? We arrange everything for your family travel packages to England, Scotland and Wales, so there is nothing for you to do but enjoy yourself.

Here are just some suggestions for your family travel packages to Great Britain:

Rent a cottage or a castle in Britain. When you’d like to be on your own, an a small house on an estate or castle grounds, or in a holiday vacation village of 8-10 identical cottages with other vacationers from around the world. Walk to the local store, cook your own meals for that finicky eater, and have your own home away from home for a week or more.

Self Drive Britain

Relive the history of your father’s father’s father. Visit all the sites they’ve only read about – King Arthur’s England, the fabled land of knights and maidens, Harry Potter and more. Go wherever you please with our open prepaid voucher program, or pre-plan your itinerary. Hotels with   swimming  pools are highlighted for family fun.

Harry Potter Tours

Have your children enjoyed Harry’s adventures? The new Harry Potter film comes out in November 2009. Be there for the buzz. See where the movies were made. All of the attractions are featured in the “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, and “Chamber of Secrets” films including the Hogwarts School.

Self drive tours and guided tours but if you have a group of friends or family (6 or more), we can do an individual escorted tour for you. These trips are created to give children, parents and grandparents an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company in a far-off and exciting destination. On these tours, enrollment is limited to family groups. Sightseeing and other special activities are designed with the interests and attention spans of all generations in mind.

Grandparents Travel to London and England.

Do you relish the idea of having your children and their children all together at one time? I got the idea for grandparent travel when I realized just how important a part grandmothers and grandfathers play in so many families. Some are baby-sitters when parents are so busy with their working lives, while others try to keep in touch though from states away, maintaining a unique relationship with their grandchildren. Is your family spread out all over the world, so this can be a once in a lifetime opportunity to get everyone together. Many grandparents are struggling with the effects of divorced, separated, second marriage, or single parent families I know the special relationship that exists between grandparents and grandchildren. A family trip to England is the answer, with something to delight every member of the family, from school-age children to grandparents. Plan your own, special itinerary with the help of your travel professional, or choose from well planned, well tested plans. Plan memories that will last a lifetime and beyond.

Scotland Family Vacation – The Clan Escorted Tour

Fun adventures include a castle climb, a visit to a sheep farm, monster-hunting and traditional music. This very special tour for your clan combines enriching experiences in the charming towns of Scotland with some extraordinary accommodations at guest houses, hotels, and inns, and even a romantic castle. Family togetherness is at a premium and no one will complain about being bored.

Small barge cruising on the River Thames

ACTIEF cruises the River Thames. Join Toad, Ratty and Mole from Kenneth Grahame “Wind In the Willows” on this truly magical journey, winding through woodland and open country, passing quintessentially English villages of great beauty en-route. This special family itinerary has been designed to combine the magic of life on the river with exciting family tours and excursions. Available for charters on any departure date. Throughout the week children (and adults too) can also enjoy rowing and fishing from Actief’s dinghy. In addition Actief will run a treasure hunt and scavenger hunt, plus various other fun competition and games throughout the week.

Whatever your family needs, and no matter what their ages or attention spans, England is the perfect place for a family travel adventure.

The Florida Manatee – The Silent Minority

When most tourists come to Florida, they seem to flock to Orlando, Disney World and all the other major attractions. But, the Florida manatee is often overlooked. By not booking a trip down the Crystal River Florida thousands upon thousands miss out on the experience of a lifetime.

Now to be fair the Crystal River manatee is not the best looker in the pack, where nature is concerned. They are not that beautiful at first sight in the pages of the book. They certainly do not do tricks and games for our fun and we wouldn’t want them to. What they are is a complete marvel of nature live in their natural environment. No glass tank or trainers in sight.

A gentle herbivore, commonly known as the ‘sea cow’, they have a lot more to them than just a watery bovine. With a grace you would not believe from their size and shape the Florida Manatee cruises the Crystal River grazing on all sorts of natural vegetation. They are form strongly bound family groups and often can be seen in large multiple families in such places as King’s Bay and Blue Springs.

The Florida Manatee is both inquisitive and curious. This probably accounts for their popularity among visitors who journey here. It also means they have been vulnerable to hunters and irresponsible operators over the centuries and years. To be near these creatures should be treated as an honor and a privilege.

It is possible to swim with the manatees in the Crystal River itself. These friendly mammals do not seem to mind the interaction. But, to touch or feed is a no, no. To protect this precious resource certain rules must be observed. This is why you must have a responsible, experienced and approved manatee tour operator. They will take you to the safest and best locations, advising on how to experience the Florida Manatee responsibly. Let’s leave this gem of the waterways for future generations to enjoy.

The experience of the manatee is special. An endangered unique creature up to 10 feet long and weighing 1000lbs plus when an adult. There is no other creature quite like the manatee. Nothing prepares you for how amazing the feeling of being so close to these creatures really is.

So don’t overlook the Florida Manatee in your haste to get into the theme park bright lights. Learn how special nature is and what we will lose if they are not protected. For children this is a chance to experience the living world in person.

What Is Inside A Lifeguard Fanny Pack?

They are usually red and waterproof. You may have seen them on many lifeguards, but have you ever wondered: what’s exactly inside a lifeguard fanny pack?

Lifeguards have a big responsibility on their hands. They must be ready to intervene at any time: their alertness, and the equipment they carry with them, is actively saving lives!

While on duty, a lifeguard will most frequently use his whistle. The whistle that a lifeguard carries on a lanyard around his neck must be waterproof, and loud enough to be heard above the pool noise.

He will always have with him a rescue tube or a rescue board, and a first aid kit. It is the first aid kit that is the content of a lifeguard fanny pack!

The contents of a lifeguard fanny pack focus on emergencies that require his immediate attention. A lifeguard fanny pack will typically contain an adult and pediatric Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) breathing mask, sterile pads, an absorbent compress (roller gauze) or triangular bandage, gloves, and antiseptic wipes.

These items will provide a lifeguard with all that he needs for initial care of an unresponsive victim, until other lifeguards bring larger first aid kit and other equipment to the scene. If necessary, a lifeguard fanny pack can go into the water with him.

Whenever a lifeguard administers first aid, he will wear gloves from his first aid kit. He will apply a body isolation substance on the victim, and use the antiseptic wipes for local disinfection.

When administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, a lifeguard will place a CPR mask over the victim’s nose and mouth. Antiseptic wipes from his first aid kit can be used to sterilize the mask.

There should be enough gauze in the fanny pack for a lifeguard to control the bleeding or other trauma, until other lifeguards get more supplies or the 911 arrives. Triangle bandages can be used to create slings and splints in case of a bone breakage.

CPR masks are usually packed in white triangular cases, so they can be fitted inside the fanny pack. Sterile items such as adhesive bandages, gauze pads, or roller gauze, must be sealed in waterproof protection. If possible, they should not be taken into the water at all. They are of no use to the victim while still in the water, and they could be accidentally contaminated.

The job of a lifeguard is to keep everyone safe. A lifeguard fanny pack is the best way to have with him at all times all the necessities he needs to do just that.

Otaku Nation: Anime’s Effect on American Pop Culture

The modern age of Anime arrive in Japan in the 1960s, and over the course of the next decade or so boomed into the giant robot, space battle genre bender that we would soon recognize as the anime of today.

Evolving over the next 30 years or so, it reached a peak where it could begin to overtake and become an integral part of other cultures, much like the Hollywood of the 1930s quickly grew to encompass the rest of the world and inform their pop culture. In the same manner, American pop culture becomes increasingly informed by the trends and cult response to anime.

Anime first appeared in the US market in the 60s with shows like Kimba the White Lion and Astroboy. However, the national consciousness as to where these shows came from as well as the poor marketing of the shows made them forgettable and rather than a jumping in point, they act as a nostalgic reminder.

When Speed Racer arrived, the beginnings of a true consciousness that Japan was creating something new and exciting began to set in. The popularity of Speed Racer was never that of its American contemporaries, but it created in a set fanbase the willingness to devour newer offerings later on in Starblazers and Robotech (a convoluted perversion of multiple animes, but still a relative success in the states). Still, the affect was mostly underground.

In the 1980s, the introduction of Beta and VHS made it possible to join together with friends and watch more varying forms of anime. Truly it was the technological revolutions of the coming years that would make it truly possible for anime to perforate the American entertainment bubble. When Akira arrived in 1989, the effect was palpable. Receiving only a limited American screen release, few saw it in initial release, but the copying of VHS tapes and word of mouth made it something of a cult sensation. Those that knew of Akira were fans for life, eagerly awaiting their chance to partake more and more of the growing trends out of Japan.

For Japan’s part, this era was a period of major expansion, a veritable boom in the business. The 1980s saw the success of shows like Gundam and Dragon Ball overgrow the national consciousness and become runaway sensations. The explosion of the manga industry before hand, with serializations of works by Akira Toriyama and Katsuhiro Otomo in the early 80s simmered in the youth of Japan and finally seeing the commercial possibilities of these works, creating in the process a major conglomerate of companies in the Akira Committee to bring the massive budget of Akira to fruition.

By the 90s anime was the mainstream in Japan, and the result was the ramping up of production and increased output of shows. In part because of the simple, streamlined art style, multiple artist were able to work on a single project and create on episode a week for years at a time, resulting in monumental runs such as the case of Dragonball (156 episodes) and Dragonball Z (276 episodes). The ability to serialize and turn a story into something that millions of youths would tune into each and every week made companies billions (of yen) and secured the kinds of commercial sponsorships and funding necessary to undertake incredible projects that would require vast sums of money to complete.

Back in America, a few executives were beginning to see the effect these shows were having in Japan. Slowly and very carefully they began taking the most popular, Dragonball Z and Sailormoon for example and finding timeslots very early in the day, before the daily retinue of American cartoons, testing the waters of marketability. In 1995, the trickle of anime into the states was just that, a relative trickle. Sailormoon aired every morning in syndication, but chopped up and missing key seasons to relate the endings of important storylines. Dragonball Z ran an equally mild run early on Saturdays in syndication that was abruptly cut when the rights to the show were lost by the initial company and purchased by Funimation.

All the while, works from Japanese masters like Hayao Miyazaki were being overlooked, passing unnoticed through limited release in the states, while making him a God of his craft in Japan. All the while companies like Manga, Funimation, and Viz were buying up licenses and releasing little known, untraceable shows that no one knew the origin of. The shows were treated poorly, often dubbed and cut up to match American audiences. Viz even launched the first Anime magazine in 1993 with Animerica, primarily reviewing their own products but still giving a view of the culture that no one knew anything about.

But, in 1995, the release of the shows in America along with the premiere and rave reviews of Neon Genesis Evangelion in Japan, Otaku interest abroad began to spike. Otaku is a bid of a misnomer as it’s a bit of an insult in Japan, a mean spirited way to call someone a nerd. Here though, it generally means a purveyor of Japanese pop-culture and with the Otaku so in style right now it’s less of an insult than a clique. The import and fan subbing of shows began in earnest via VHS editing software that few if anyone had access to. The early 90s was a time of massive growth of interest in the little known import of Anime though, and the American marketplace wasn’t slow to react.

In 1997, television networks made broad sweeping moves to bring shows to the mainstream. The Sci-Fi channel had always had a small niche in its latenight line up for cult classics like Vampire Hunter D, but Warner Bros finally brought the genre to primetime. Funimation finally got their licensing figured out and Dragonball Z saw its triumphant return to the Cartoon Network, with new episodes to follow a year and a half later. And in 1998, a little known video game for the Game Boy exploded in the American market, bringing along with it its entire arsenal of marketing ploys, including the overwhelmingly childish, but enormously popular Pokemon anime. Finally, children across the nation were gluing themselves to the television set as earnestly as their Japanese counterparts had for nearly a decade before hand.

Miyazaki’s new film played to better reception, receiving a proper release via Miramax. Princess Mononoke was a success in the terms of the time, even receiving the coveted two thumbs up (let alone a review at all) from Siskel and Ebert. Films began to arrive in America more liberally, still finding limited release, but release at least. And the shows began to pour in. At the time, the fansub scene was more or less the only way to get access to some of the more obscure titles being released in Japan. But as the market boomed, so did the licensing by major companies, and it actually started to become illegal to fansub certain shows because they might be released by a company eventually.

Thus began the final and full assimilation of Japanese pop culture into American. The DVD format sped up the process, as more episodes of a show could be packed into a disc than a VHS and production costs plummeted, removing a lot of the financial risk of an untested foreign product in the American marketplace. Cartoon Network debuted its Toonami afternoon cartoon slot, in which they featured anime that had been around for a little while, but managed to appeal to a much larger demographic and spread the word about these great story driven cartoons from across the ocean. An entire generation grew into the growing popularity and became entranced by the epic storylines, amazing storytelling and ability to show in a cartoon what many considered adult themes and much more mature perspectives on things like competition and personal success. The Japanese ability to cross genre and the extremely high production values that started to go into shows made in the late 90s and beyond meant amazing shows that appealed not just to children but to adults and beyond.

What started as a crossover, slowly began to actually change the way in which American’s marketed their television to children. Shows with more adult content appeared, and in some cases emulated the Japanese format. The writers at Pixar crafted brilliant, more maturely themed cartoons without the silly musicals of Disney past, and Disney even dissolved their tried format in favor of more mature, complete stories. The devolution of American quality in cartoons though as they attempted to match the output meant even more Japanese entries in the market. Now, if you turn on Fox kids in the morning you’ll find over half of the shows on are animes. And Cartoon Network still presents multiple entries themselves, with more mature offerings in their Adult Swim block late at night. Spirited Away won the Oscar for best animation in 2003 and South Park, the quintessential American barometer of cultural trends at first knocked the trend with their Chinpokemon episode, later to embrace it (while still mocking it) via changing their own art style in the Weapons episode just a couple years ago.

Nowadays, you’ll find anime oriented t-shirts everywhere, an entire aisle devoted to DVD releases in Best Buy (compared to the one row only seven years ago) and the success of the Anime Network, a channel solely devoted to Anime programming. Magazines like Newtype, a Japanese trade magazine for the Anime industry is now translated and released in America every month with previews of new shows, and American directors like James Cameron are looking to direct live action versions of manga like Battle Angel Alita.

Now, we see new releases from Japan within six months, and the fansub community has to scramble to keep up with what’s legal and what’s not legal to offer via their online services. The internet itself has made it a huge community, where a show can be recorded on Japanese television, ripped and subbed, then uploaded within a couple hours for the world to view. There’s no lay over, and new shows are immediately available. And it’s evident in the universities too. Japanese is one of the most sought after languages, filling up immediately with a yard long waiting list every year, and more sections being added every year.

Japanese pop culture managed to tap a certain perspective that American counterparts were unable to do themselves and in so doing, cornered and grew in a market that few thought existed in America.

4 Must-Ask Questions When Looking for New Doctors

The search for a new physician is never simple, but finding an individual who inspires confidence, trust, and provides open communication with their patients is one of the most important parts. Before choosing a new practice, there are a few questions new patients should ask at their first appointment.

What Certifications and Education Experience Does the Physician Have?

While all doctors have had years of education before receiving their medical degree, some practitioners go above and beyond with additional training and licenses. Individuals looking for practitioners with expertise in a particular treatment area should ask about unique qualifications. Where did the doctor earn their degree? What additional training do they have in their specialty? Knowing where they received their relevant experience can give a new patient insight into the treatment style and overall qualifications.

Who Answers Patients’ Questions?

At some medical practices, a receptionist fields incoming calls, takes messages, and relays patients’ questions, while some doctors prefer to answer questions personally. At the first appointment, ask who answers patients’ questions. Will the receptionist simply relay a question and call the patient back with the response, or will the physician call the patient back with an answer? For some patients, the answer to this question can be a game changer.

How Are Emergency Appointments Treated?

Emergencies happen, but not all offices set aside times for emergency or short-notice appointments. At the first appointment, ask the doctor what the scheduling process is like for these types of appointments. Does the physician or a nurse practitioner take care of emergency calls? Knowing what to expect and the degree of flexibility in the case of emergencies can help patients determine whether or not the practice is a good fit for their needs.

Does the Doctor Have a Preference On Hospitals?

Many practices have long-standing relationships and preferences on area hospitals. Their opinions are formed based on experiences of other patients, and knowledge of the emergency practitioners on staff. If an emergency situation arises where immediate medical attention or surgery needs to be scheduled, a relationship with a nearby primary care physician can be important in ensuring all relevant information is shared with a hospital.

When looking for a new medical professional, it’s important to take into consideration experience, demeanor, and their practice’s reputation in the community. While online reviews will help explain others’ experiences, the only way to know which doctors are the right fit is the schedule a consultation and ask questions.

S Is for Seasons in Triathlon Training

Triathlon training has seasons just like any other sport. Sports such as football, basketball, and baseball have a fixed series of months that their sport plays games and then there is an end of season championship. Triathlon does the same thing. Since triathlon is an individual sport there are multiple different events to enter and multiple different types of championships. The same is true for all of these, they all have seasons.

OFFSEASON OR OUTSEASON

The first season is the offseason or some call the out season. This is the time to work on specific skills in your triathlon training. It is a time to increase rest and possible cross-train with other sports. You can also enjoy more family time and leisure time. The offseason is a great time to get stronger through strength training that you do not have time for during the season. You can also shop around for better equipment. The offseason is not meant to just take off from triathlon and to sit on the couch, however. You do not want to lose all of your gains from any previous seasons.

BASE BUILDING SEASON

The base building season comes in several weeks before you are ready to race. This is a time to train specifically in your running, swimming, and biking arenas. You will want to spend much of your workout time in your zone 2 or zone 3 heart rate zones. This is a time to build your ‘aerobic engine’ for the season coming up. I have heard it said that building your aerobic engine is like upgrading your car from a hatchback to a Lamborghini. You will need a larger aerobic base to compete in the longer triathlon races.

This particular season can be a bit monotonous and boring. You may not feel much in terms of gains in your performance. You rarely test yourself during this season to see how well you will do in future races. The key is to have a disciplined mindset that what you do during this base building season will translate into incredible gains during the season.

COMPETITIVE SEASON

Once you discover which race/races you are going to compete in first you can determine your competitive season. The length of training plans vary based upon the distance of the race you are competing in. Training plans could be 6 to 20 weeks in length. Whichever training plan you choose, will determine when you start training for a specific race. This will also be your competitive season start. Unlike some of the other sports, triathlon is an individual sport and has races in all 12 months of the year depending on your location. So, your season will be an individual season.

The competitive season of training is usually a mixture of high intensity training sessions that are shorter and long training sessions that are of a lower intensity. This particular season will produce the most dramatic gains in your physical fitness. You will discover that this particular season can be very difficult and it will be of paramount importance that you get enough rest and eat a good diet during this season.

RACING SEASON

Obviously, there will be a period of time during any given year that will be your racing season. You might have one race or 10 races or more. There are typically an abundance of races that you can participate in throughout your area. The time in between races is usually not enough for a full competitive season plan, so the racing season is filled with pieces of the competitive plan. You will want to determine which race or races during a season that you are targeting to do your best in. This is your ‘A’ race. You may have other races along the way but the ‘A’ are will be your primary target. Racing season is fun and filled with action. After all, the racing season is the fruit of all your other seasons together.

Each season is unique in triathlon training. Enjoy them all for their unique style.