Hooked on helping: The man who is running the length of Japan for tsunami relief

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Aaron Porter is a man on a mission. Giving up drinking in 1998 and smoking two years later, he took up running. Before he knew it, his new hobby had become his life’s passion, and he began taking part in marathons, half-marathons and ultra-marathons, running thousands of miles in a single year. Running, Aaron notes, was his recovery.

Now, though, he wants to help others recover. With the goal of running the entire length of Japan, from Kyushu to Hokkaido, Aaron is aiming to raise as much money and awareness for tsunami relief as he can. To do this, however, he needs sponsorship. Which is where you come in.

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Run Japan 010 – Moving forward

Six months to go. So far I’ve raised a little over $1600 on gofundme.com/runjapan. That should get me to Japan, and maybe my first night stay in a small room I found on AirBnB.  That leaves 2 months-29 days,  food, the Tokyo Marathon, and the flight back to raise funds for. Not to mention the fact that I’m trying to double what I’m raise to fund the trip to donate to those still in need as a result of the Fukushima disaster.

There are thousands of families living in shelters that I’d like to help get back into homes. I’d also like to help reunite pets and owners who were separated – much like this story about the cat that got back home after 3 years!

The good news is that with this latest term of classes finished I can use some of the things I learned to put together a stronger plan, and solid objectives. We’ll find out if I’ve given myself enough time.

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
― Stephen Grellet

Admittedly, this adventure is just as much for me as it is for the cause. I am not attempting to make any personal monetary gains, but rather cultural gains.  I’ve always been fascinated by the Japanese culture and what better way to learn about it than immersing myself completely.  This is not to say I’m not doing any research as to what to do, how to act, and show respect, I am, but one can only learn so much through studies alone.

The next phase is to get the mental checklist to an actual checklist and continue moving forward. On we go!

 

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Run Japan 009

Oh my so much to do, so much to learn. I talked with one of my Japanese classmates and with that 15 minutes of chatting I learned that I need to learn a lot more.

A little insight I gleaned from our conversation is that if I make an effort to learn more of the language it will go a long way with connecting with the locals. That slight (language) familiarity will help stave off the “outsider/insider” component while traveling the countryside. Also, be nice. I shouldn’t have a problem with that last part. And I’ll have about six months to learn some of the language basics.

Also, bath houses are likely going to be a common stopping place for me. This will be an interesting new experience. It’s like a formal locker room for everyone.

Just what have I got myself into?

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Run Japan 008

Things are slowly coming together. Slowly. The skills I’m learning in my curriculum can certainly be applied, and they will be, but timing is critical. One thing I have learned is that sometimes a good group can make all the difference.

This one man planning takes a lot out of a guy when he’s also trying to finish a college degree, while working a couple part-time jobs, and setting up an internship over the summer. Oh yeah and I have to do the training so I can actually do what I’ve set out to do.

I’ve got books, maps, plans, scratched plans, re-planned plans, a funding site, some support, little support, some excitement, or none at all. And I’d be lying if I said I never had any doubts. I have doubts every day. Then I’ll have a spark of interest from an unexpected place and everything seems to feel okay again.

In the mean time, the planning, schooling, training, working, interning continue….

 

Emotional Messages

I read a couple of trade articles about emotions in messaging. Ad Age claims “debate over” when comparing the effectiveness of “facts and rational arguments” over “soft sell.” Margaret Steen of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Magazine Online writes about an upcoming book, The Dragonfly Effect, that suggests tapping into emotions is required to effectively use social media. I find it particularly interesting that it was proven with facts and rational arguments that emotional messaging is more effective that fact-filled rational argument messaging. Maybe that’s just me.

Okay emotional messaging wins. But what emotion: happy-funny, sad, angry and whatever else? A quick google search of “top 10 emotional messages” offers sites that provide sad, romantic, sorrow and love SMS messages. Not a single result offered a happy or funny message. Sad.

Because if this whole theory of emotional contagion I keep seeing pop up has any legs to it, I think society overall would be well served if more of our messaging – through public relations, advertising and marketing – was of a happy-funny storytelling nature.

In a perfect world, all our products and services would be developed by considering the end user and what he or she needs and then makes that product or service fit those needs. The tricky part is to have, and do that, without spouting facts and figures about how my needs are fulfilled.  Instead, share with me a little awesome story that makes me feel good. Then it doesn’t matter what your product or service is, I’ll associate it with a happy-funny emotion and act accordingly.

The aforementioned articles contain the research numbers about successful campaigns that switched from “hard sell” to “soft sell”, but I don’t really need those.

I need a good emotional story.

 

Adbventure Runner – Next Quest: Run The Length of Japan

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