Sunday, September 27, 2009


Japanese Flowering Cherry Tree

By Elaine Friend

My timing was perfect, even if the place was not as I imagined. How could two cities be so different yet share something so distinct as to make them like sisters in a family? There was no doubt in my mind that it was the cherry blossoms that created the illusion before me - an illusion of something Japanese, in a place as American as New York City. Today was the annual Sakura Matsuri or cherry blossom festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where more than 200 cherry trees were in full bloom. I remembered the Japanese because of the cherry trees.

In this shimmering spring day
Ah, with ever anxious heart
The blossoms are falling...
Ki no Tomonori
Japanese waka poet

What could be more joyful than this moment, when all the Japanese flowering cherry trees or Sakura were bursting with pale pink and white blossoms? I could see the delicate blossoms falling to the ground even before withering out, as if someone had shaken the cherry trees and thrown the petals in the air. The scent of cherries wafted the cool breeze in the garden, blending like a symphony with the laughter of the people who posed under, besides or in front of the cherry trees.

The radiance of cherry blossoms
Their scent, ever fresh with every passing year,
So man grows old, eternally.
Ki no Tomonori
Japanese waka poet

Like any tourist, I admired the cherry blossoms for its aesthetic value, not knowing the Sakura symbolized something more profound to the Japanese. The falling leaves or blossoms are a metaphor for death in Buddhism. That's because the Japanese compared the short life of a cherry blossom to the life of a samurai or warrior who was fully prepared to sacrifice his life in the cause of his master. I thought the samurai was rather like a Christian martyr who was fully prepared to sacrifice his life in the cause of his faith in Jesus.

Myriads of things past
Are brought to my mind -
These cherry blossoms!
Basho Matsuo
Japanese haiku poet

A few days ago, we were at the Senso-ji Temple, in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan where I noticed the cherry blossoms within the courtyard of the famous Buddhist Temple. Our good friend Yachiyo explained a little about the cherry and Buddhism.

"Those are not real anymore but made of plastic," she said. "They are there all year round so that people could hang their prayer petitions under the trees. We don't have a mass like you do. We don't worship a God like you do."

Yes, I did notice several sheets of paper (with characters on it) hanging under the shade of the cherry trees. It was something that even I could relate to. The scene reminded me of how the Jews inserted prayer petitions between the bricks of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Even Catholics have prayer petitions thru lighted candles or written paper that are burned after praying.

From a Buddhist's perspective, however, the cheery tree is a deity and each petal of cherry blossom is a person who sacrifices himself for a certain mission or ideal. It is as simple as the flower will wither, the warrior will die, and the world will fade away.

The rains poured down as I sat to eat our bento lunch underneath a large tent. Surrounded by cherry trees, I understood how people see the world from the perspective of their own faith but regardless of faith, I sensed the connection of mankind to nature and to a higher power above. Yes, immortality was never meant for man on earth but how beautiful it is to know that we have a purpose to strive for and like the Buddhists, we could live well at the moment with eternal spring in our heart.

This year on, forever,
It's all gravy to me now-
Spring arrives.
Japanese haiku poet

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Monday, September 07, 2009


3 Reasons It's Easy to Become a Web Content Writer

FACT: Writing web content is one of the easiest ways to make money online.

Why is this so?

1.) Writers are in high demand. If you know where to look, native English speakers who can follow simple instructions can easily start out at ten bucks an article. In six months or less, you should be able to raise your rate to fifteen dollars or more. And with just a little practice, you'll be able to write an article every 20 or 30 minutes--how does $30-$45 per hour sound?

The Internet marketing crowd is the core market that's looking for writing services. 99% of their business models require constant, fresh content for their web sites. And most of them have learned their lesson from outsourcing to India for five bucks an article.

You do need to be able to write like you talk (forget your English classes as they likely did more harm than good in this department!). Aside from that, all you'll need is a good attitude and the ability to set and meet deadlines.

(Clients will take a solid writer who is easy to work with over a difficult-but-brilliant writer any day. Keep a good attitude and don't get flowery with your writing, and you'll be good as gold.)

2.) Content writing is a sustainable business. Unless every English-speaking nation on the planet suddenly gives up capitalism, you are assured web-writing work for as long as you want it. Why?

The short answer is that the web isn't going away any time soon! The long answer is that more and more people are doing their shopping and socializing on the web as time goes on. And this trend isn't likely to reverse itself.

Simply put, more and more commerce is moving from the offline world to the online world. Even the present online economy can support more good writers than it currently has. What's even better is that it will only need more writers in the future!

3.) You don't even need to know how to make a website--or anything else technical. You don't need to be able to program a computer to advertise yourself online. In fact, you don't even need to know basic HTML! There are several FREE online services you can use to create an online web presence that shows your writing abilities.

Sites like Squidoo, Blogger, and Facebook offer no-cost, cut-and-past ways for you to network and advertise your services. You don't need any special skills to use them--if you can use Microsoft Word, you can build a page at any or all of these sites.

If you decide you want your own .com (and eventually, you will), you'll pay about nine bucks a year for the name and seven dollars a month for hosting.

Sites like come complete with several different programs that let you easily build a templated website in an afternoon--without any technical knowledge at all. The only things you really need to learn are how to market yourself, and where to find clients.

Learn more about: The Content Chef - How to Make Money Online as A Content Writer

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