Earning, Saving, Spending and Investing. Those 4 are part of our education to help us move towards financial freedom. Being free means having the time to decide what you'll do with your time. As long as we need money, we'll never realize freedom.
It's a lifelong pursuit for most of us. However, the earlier we're educated, the sooner we'll be free. Today's short blog is about money and my search to help others.
After this blog, I'll update the website to confirm my ideas that I'm writing now.
First, I've always wanted to offer affordable services to my customers. Every business that I've ever done (English lessons, sales, like selling hairsticks, the guesthouse and now camping), I've always wanted to please my customer. Not only is a good product and useful service necessary, but also something affordable. In the beginning, my Greenhakka English customers in Japan equated higher prices with good products. So I raised my prices. More students came. And then, even more. I only raised my prices once in 15 years.
For the campsite and guesthouse, I've raised prices several times. Almost every year. Mostly because the product and service improved. The other reason was to attract a customer who was more committed. Now though, we have inflation in Sendai. I've lived in Sendai almost half of my entire life. That's a long time. I'm committed to this city. It's a wonderful home.
I am building something that I want to share. I love waking up to the beautiful sound of Natori river and the chirping birds of spring. I'm grateful to be here and I know I'm blessed. Of course it's a tremendous feeling to be all alone, but I'm just the temporary caretaker. I won't be here forever. I have enough days alone.
Today, I decided to offer rooms for 2000 yen. Those rooms won't include bedding, but futon mattress and a fitted sheet can be rented. Customers can bring blankets and pillows , but not their own mattress. Since futon mattresses are so big, it's easy to cause damage to the shoji.
As for camping, at first I'll off 50% discounts to campers who stay when it's raining. So, if it rains for half your stay or more, you'll get half your money back! I'm still thinking about decreasing my prices as long as the economy is hurting the consumer. I want to do something more at the campsite, but I cannot decide yet. I might decrease the site fee by half. This blog is for me to write ideas and look at them in a few days time.
I'm looking forward to seeing happy people enjoying the blessings of Natori river, Okura mountain and Akiu-Canada. Nature is beautiful.
It's May 5 today. The weather is beautiful and there are customers enjoying the scenery. The plans I made 5 years ago have come to fruition, but the journey continues. From the day I began to renovate this property, I had said that it would be a 20 year project and since that time, my vision has not changed. I continue with as much passion as the day I started!
Just a few thank yous to the many customers who visited this year's GW. They came Saitama, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Hiroshima, Fukushima, Hokkaido and also Tohoku prefectures. They brought a lot of energy and I will post videos of some of their activities.
I also want to apologise to some of the customers who called me by phone. It was too busy for me to think straight some times. I wasn't able to answer the phone or return calls. Some days I grew impatient with people on the phone. I'm sorry about that. In order to make it easier for guests in the future, I recommend reserving a site several weeks or months in advance. Many of my GW customers reserved campsites 2 months ago. I must also develop a new system to coordinate reservations. Nowadays, more and more people are staying for 2 or 3 days instead of only 1.
I will give those customers priority.
This year the campsite will expand and windows to nature will open for people coming from the city. You can experience the blessings of our world at Akiu-Canada.
The earth is a remarkable planet and we should act responsibly. I am happy to see many guests, but people who cannot respect nature are not welcome here.
This is OUR TIME
We are driving, sitting in the front seat of the car. We can see everything in front of us happening. There are storms, typhoons, heavy rain, heavy snowfall, floods, forest fires, tornadoes, and freak temperature swings all over the world. We all know why.
Our planet is heating up and the climate is undergoing rapid, rapid changes. It's our responsibility to watch the road so we know where we are going. Just like driving a car, we should be aware of how the planet is responding to the consumption of so many humans, machines and fossil fuels on earth. We are not going to change our behavior very easily, but we have to prepare for our future world. Mark my words, when Thwaites Glacier collapses, our new world is born. The future is now! In truth, our world changes everyday, but Thwaites Glacier in Antarctic will have an almost immediate impact. Scientist are predicting that in less than 10 years, the doomsday glacier will collapse and release A LOT of WATER! That event will raise sea levels. How much? Some say 60 centimeters, others say over 1 meter... depending on how many other glaciers will fall with it. Think of Thwaites glacier as a cork in an upside down bottle of wine. The cork is old and breaking. Do we have 5 years? Maybe not.
Be informed. Google it.
The river sites are closed for the winter. I might let campers with wood stoves, camping cars and single ladies use it, but at an increased price. I really want the campers to go into the forest and up the mountain during the winter. It's warmer and easier to build a big fire. Also, free firewood must be burned in order for progress. The more we use it, the better it gets. Old wood has to get burned or it needs a place to rot away.
The mountain sites are 1500 yen per person. Forest sites start from 1800 yen per person. Some sites have expensive site fees because they are the biggest and the most beautiful. There are about 10 different sites available during 2021 winter.
Try camping in different places this winter? Looking for a fresh site?
This site pictured here is new. It has a remarkable story...
IN THE OLD DAYS ...
That's what old people usually say. Am I becoming old? A relic foreigner living in the mountains of Japan? No, NOT YET!!
Back in the day, people behaved differently. Some good behaviors existed and so did bad ones. My parents and I threw our garbage into a landfill. There were all sorts of garbage, from wood and plastics to mattresses and refrigerators. We didn't have to ask the earth if it was OK to fill up the land with our waste. So, we just threw it in.
Well, I don't do that anymore. And I haven't for more than half of my life.
As you can see in the photos, I am making a campsite and removing the trash heap behind it. It will take as long as it does. The land is useful, so let's use it!
Friends of mine, Nathan and Julian, inspired me to make a movie. These two guys have made music together for years and this year they began new careers in film making. At first, I asked them to help me make a movie in Akiu-Canada, but they pushed me to do it myself because they had other projects. And so, I began!
This film is a documentary about transformation, enlightenment and ascension (spiritual, physical, mental, emotional). Maybe we cannot consistently reach new highs on so many levels, but when we push ourselves to new challenges, our determination will inevitably lead us to growth. That is the crux of this movie. I want to document the human spirit as it faces problems and disappointment. Success is actually quite boring. It's a kind of "good job" feeling. Reaching success too easily isn't worth remembering. It's the struggles that we must go through in order to succeed. Those struggles are worth remembering. Overcoming obstacles and fighting exhaustion moves the body, spirit and mind to new heights. In that way, transformation will occur. Not only do we grow as humans, but the environment where we are also becomes a part of us and our hands, our passion becomes a part of what we touch. In other words, the world around us also transforms. You will see that Akiu-Canada is a work of art created by all the people who come here and move something.
To make this blog entry more concrete, giving you a mental picture, I can say that we are clearing an area that will make Akiu-Canada more beautiful and more useful. This area is very cool. People can see something unique and while escaping the heat and the crowds. A few years ago, may trees fell down at the entrance to the tunnel. We are clearing the entrance and preparing a place for you.
Wow! What an incredible start to 2021 and the new decade!
A pandemic, Tokyo Olympics, and so much work getting done here!!!
It has be an amazing 6 months. I'd like to thank the people like Azuma, Carpenter Steve, Nathan, Rick and Lukas for their consistency. These people were always ready to give their time and energy to me . I'm very grateful.
And in June I met a lovely lady who has decided to climb aboard the Hakkarainen Highway to love and adventure! We'll climb mountains, swim in rivers, and plant trees together!
This is what I have been asking for. A real partner. I'm happy, blessed and excited to join her life. We make a great team. Come and meet the new management!
It's almost the end of the year. It's a Monday night and I'm home alone. My kids are with dear mommy in Sendai while daddy works in Akiu. I have gotten quite used to being alone, but it's not going to last much longer. I have worked everyday for the last three years, and at the same time I call everyday a holiday. Now that's a contradiction, isn't it? I'm working, I have a job, but I am on holiday. That's so strange!
Things are not normal here in Paradise, Akiutopia. 秋保トピア。
I don't like normal. Normal is extremely boring for me. I have changed careers 4 times already and I am young enough to do it again and again if I please. I like it when things change. The only things I don't like changing are my daily rituals. I like to get up and go to bed at the same time everyday. I also like to eat my meals as usual, but my business? I want that to go up and down. I want to have the power to control my own business. So, if I don't want to work hard, then my business will suffer. Or, if I want to make more money, then I just have to put the time in to start a new project. I like being in control of that. Of course, the market is a whole other animal. And Novel Coronal Virus is an animal unlike anything we have ever seen!
This year, many people around the world were affected by travel restrictions, lockdowns and unemployment. Me too. I bet big on the Tokyo Olympics 2020, but they were postponed. I had thought that my guesthouse would have a breakout year. That didn't happen. I didn't really care though. To me, losing business to Covid 19 was a very small thing. I didn't concentrate on my losses. Instead, I focused on what I could do with all this free time! So, I began...
IN 2020... This is what we have accomplished:
All hallways have new flooring.
Tatami replaced in 6 rooms.
A new restroom (with a water toilet)
A new reception room
A new tool room
An outhouse was built!
New walls and ceiling in the onsen
Repair of many fixtures, electrical lines and water lines
The campsite began in 2020 and there are many customers every week!
4 rooms with new flooring
Painting interior and exterior walls... About 80% has fresh paint!
Repaired numerous broken walls inside and out
So, 2020 was an excellent year in Akiu. I am way ahead of my target. Maybe 5 years ahead of schedule. Now, I have time to expand Akiu-Canada. It'll grow outward, up the hills, along the river and even across the river. One day, it might even go inside the mountain. My plans are endless, just like my dreams. I just finish one thing and quickly start something new. I thank the mountains, the river, the winds, and the sunshine. I feel blessed.