What's going on here?

I've made a commitment: to do one good deed per day. Large or small, it doesn't matter. Self-sacrificing or not, extraordinary or mundane, it doesn't matter. Just one thing every day, that's all.

The more I do good, the better I feel about myself. Truly, to benefit others is to benefit yourself. I hope this journal may inspire others who also yearn to do good. So join me on this journey, if you will, and think about the difference you can make in your own life.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Trash around Slater Square

I moved into my new apartment today! It's in Slater Square in downtown Minneapolis.

ONE GOOD DEED: Pick up trash around Slater Square.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cream puffs and strawberries for grandma

Tonight was my last night at my grandparents' place, so I bought them cream puffs and strawberries for dessert that night. We played cards together and had a great last night.

ONE GOOD DEED: Buy dessert for my grandparents.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trash around Minneapolis

ONE GOOD DEED: Pick up trash around Minneapolis.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Let someone else use the outlets at Starbucks

I've been spending all day every day at the coffee shops, using the wifi to search for jobs, apartments, and so forth. Today, I went to plug in my laptop, but someone else said they were hoping to use the outlet. I'd been using the outlet so much, I was happy to let her use it, even though I was there first.

ONE GOOD DEED: Let someone else use the outlet at the coffee shop instead of me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cleaning grandma's cupboard handles

She's getting older and slower. Things aren't as spic and span as they used to be. When I noticed some of the cupboard handles above the stove were caked with grease, I grabbed a scrubber.

ONE GOOD DEED: Clean grandma's cupboard handles.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cream puffs for all

I got a car today! It's a 2001 Honda Prelude. My uncle helped me a lot with the complications of the deal, and my grandmother has been graciously cooking for me while I stay at her place. So, I wanted to say thank you. I found out they really liked cream puffs, but hadn't gotten them for a long time. When I went to look for them, I just happened to get lucky. Their faces beamed that evening at dessert time.

ONE GOOD DEED: Say thank you to my uncle and grandma with a gift of cream puffs.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Waiting in line at the DMV

I had a complicated question to ask at Department of Motor Vehicles. I didn't even wanna think how long it would take (although it ended up being sorted quite quickly!)

ONE GOOD DEED: Let the next guy in line go before me at the DMV.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Helping my relative get his boarding pass online

One of my relatives came to visit my grandparents. He wanted to check-in for his flight online. This guy's no geezer but he's no spring chicken either. He hunts and pecks the keyboard and when he punches the mouse key he really punches it! Suffice to say he's not the most Internet-literate guy around.

ONE GOOD DEED: Walk my relative through the online process to check-in and print out his boarding pass.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sushi for my cousin

I visited my cousin today. We played croquet in the park with his little boy that his ex-wife dropped off for the day. This boy is entering first grade, and reading at a seventh grade level! We put a newspaper in front of him and asked him to read the first line, and he could actually do it! Then we pointed and asked, "What's this word?" He sounded it out: "ar-bi-tra-tor." (!) He didn't know what it meant at first, but when we explained that arbitrators help people who have arguments, he understood. My cousin (his father) asked, "Who needs an arbitrator?" His boy replied matter-of-factly, "Mommy and daddy."

On the way to my cousin's place, I got a flat tire on the freeway and he came to help me change it. Naturally, that night's dinner was on me.

ONE GOOD DEED: Buy sushi for my cousin.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Support my local meditation center

With all the job searching, apartment searching, car searching, university research, and family business that I've been dealing with, I was sooooo ready to get back to the old meditation center I used to visit--Common Ground, in Minneapolis. I attended an all-day retreat today, meditating with a group from 9am to 6pm. At the end of the day, there was a circle where we could all say what we were grateful for. When I mentioned how happy I was that the guiding teacher Mark put his talks on the Internet, so that I could listen to them even in Japan, Mark broke a wide grin. I think it made him feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

ONE GOOD DEED: Support my local meditation center with a donation.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Help grandma make dinner

I've been doing so much online research trying to get myself re-established in Minneapolis that I was really ready for some good old-fashioned manual labor. I helped grandma make dinner. She let me make the salads -- probably wise that she gave me the simple part!

ONE GOOD DEED: Help grandma make dinner.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Trash in Minnetonka

I had job interview today way out in Minnetonka, a suburb of Minneapolis. I got there way ahead of time so I was able to check out the area, buses, and so on. And I didn't forget my favorite little hobby...

ONE GOOD DEED: Pick up trash in the parking lots of Minnetonka.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Help grandma set the table

Little things count.

ONE GOOD DEED: Help grandma get dinner ready by setting the table.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More trash in Minneapolis

Never any shortage of trash in the city. :-)

ONE GOOD DEED: Pick up trash in Minneapolis.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Trash in downtown Minneapolis

I think I found an apartment today. There are some financial things I have to rearrange before the application goes through, but I think I can swing it. I'm gonna be living just on the edge of downtown Minneapolis in a hip neighborhood, and the rent is cheap. I can't wait.

ONE GOOD DEED: Pick up trash in downtown Minneapolis

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Trash in Battle Creek Park

P and I went to Battle Creek Park outside of St Paul today. It was a beautiful wooded area just across the river from a freight train station. Strangely, the creeks of the freight cars on the tracks actually added to the experience. It lent the woods a haunting soundtrack.

ONE GOOD DEED: Pick up trash in Battle Creek Park.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Yokan for P

I dropped in on an old friend today. He's a painter with a... unique... personality. I missed him and our unforgettable conversations.

ONE GOOD DEED: Give my friend some yokan--a kind of sweet red bean paste jelly--from Japan.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bowling with Grandma

"Let's go bowling!" she said. I had a vision of her 88-year old body sailing after the heavy ball and crumpling in the lane. "Are you sure, grandma?" I said. Well, she was sure. So, hell ya I'll take my grandma out bowling! We had a great time. They gave her a ball no heavier than a loaf of bread. She dropped it onto the lane and it meandered its way down till it finally nudged a pin. And--magically?--they all went down! In the third game, she got 150 points! I couldn't believe it. Beaten by my grandma.

ONE GOOD DEED: Take my grandma out bowling.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Helping my paraplegic uncle

I headed into the twin cities today. I'm staying with my grandparents till I find an apartment. My uncle also lives with them. He gets by pretty well for a paraplegic, but sometimes need help. He was working with a digital camera that was just too small for his semi-paralyzed fingers.

ONE GOOD DEED: Help my paraplegic uncle with his camera.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yet more family biz

The story gets old but the deed stays good. :-)

ONE GOOD DEED: Help out in the family business.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And more family biz

Trying to find apartments online today, in-betweeen whizzing around the airport doing errands for the fam.

ONE GOOD DEED: Help out in the family business.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Family Biz

I made it home to little Hector, Minnesota, the town of my birth.  My folks are busy busy with their cropdusting business, so I found no shortage of ways to help out.

ONE GOOD DEED:  Help out in the family business.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Last trash in Japan

This evening I get on my flight to go back to the US. This is my last day in Japan.

Once more for old time's sake...

ONE GOOD DEED: Pick up trash in Japan for the last time.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Oak Leaves for my friend in Tokyo

Oak Leaves is a publication of an organization to which both I and my friend in Tokyo belong. Not wanting to carry the weight all the way home, I was happy to give him all my hard copies.

ONE GOOD DEED: Give my friend in Tokyo all my Oak Leaves magazines.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

An ivory melon for my Japanese teacher

I left my town of Obira today. My friends gathered at the bus stop to see me off. I even cried a bit after the bus pulled away.

Today I am visiting my Japanese teacher in Eniwa one last time before flying from New Chitose Airport tomorrow. I gave her a rare kind of melon called an ivory melon, which is only grown in my town and a handful of other places in Japan, and can only be found in this season.

ONE GOOD DEED: Give my teacher an ivory melon from Obira.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A computer for my successor

The new teacher who is taking over for me in Obira arrived last night, and I am training him in today. One of the things I'm leaving to him is my desktop PC, since I'm getting a laptop anyway and I'd rather not pay to ship the thing home anyway.

ONE GOOD DEED: Give my successor a computer for free.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Coins for Tatsuro

A neighbor boy has gotten interested in coins from around the world, so I gave him all I had left from Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, the EU, and America.

ONE GOOD DEED: Give Tatsuro my foreign coins for his collection.

One last book for the library

Everything's all packed up and ready to go. But I found one last book that I couldn't bear to throw out. The library will make a better home for it than the trash.

ONE GOOD DEED: Donate a book to the local library.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A beautiful clean apartment for the next teacher

Tomorrow I have to move out of my apartment to make way for the incoming teacher. I cleaned all day today. In fact, I think this is the cleanest the place has been in five years! I left a few simple decorations too. The next guy will arrive to a nice, homey, welcoming apartment.

ONE GOOD DEED: Clean and beautify the apartment for the next person.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A signboard for M

My neighbor M, who had me over for dinner at least once a week, sometimes twice, invited me to one last curry dinner. I made a special gift for her, a signboard with a message from me and a bunch of pictures of us together arranged artistically.

ONE GOOD DEED: Give M a signboard as a parting gift

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Wild rice soup for the party

One of my neighbors wanted to have one last dinner party with me. I have so loved talking with her and her husband, and playing with her kids.

ONE GOOD DEED: Bring Minnesota wild rice to a dinner party.