It’s Christmas Time in Japan

If you end up teaching English to children in Japan, there is a very good chance you’ll be asked to play Santa.

Here is me as Santa and loving it!

Eight years ago I played Santa in Japan and hated it because I was very nervous!
Not ony because I was playing Santa but the suit I was given must have been the cheapest piece of junk I’ve ever seen. I was like “I’m not wearing that!” But I did and ended up having lots of fun-the kids really like it even if they know it’s you.
Once I started my own English school in Japan, I bought a top of the line Santa suit over the internet and it’s great.

This week and last has been nothing but Christmas parties! I’ll post some photos soon so you can have a peek at some of the children I work with.

Oh, before I forget, the following is an email I got and the story is worth a read.

Today, in honor of this season of giving and joy, I have a
special gift for you. It comes not in a box with a big, red
ribbon, but in the unadorned text of the message you're
about to read.

It reveals one of the great secrets of marketing, of life, of
how to connect with people, and, most of all, how to
experience unsurpassed joy any time you wish.

If you read every word that follows, don't be surprised
if a tear wells up in your eye. This is my holiday gift
to you, a true story that will touch your heart.

* * *

As I mentioned in an earlier message, I am the father of
a developmentally disabled child, our daughter Laura, the
light of our lives.

But this story is about another father of a disabled child, in
his case, a son named Shaya.

This story was originally reported in the New York
newspapers. It was so touching, it spread like wildfire
across the internet, and many began to question, "Did
this really happen, or is it just another urban legend?"

Well, that's the amazing part of this story. It is true. In fact,
because of all the buzz, a web site called ""
investigated and has reported that, yes, the story is indeed
true. It has also been confirmed by no less an authority than
the highly respected Rabbi and author, Paysach Krohn of
Brooklyn, who says that he personally knows the participants
and that every word of the story is true as originally reported.

As I said, the story is about Shaya, a learning disabled boy
in Brooklyn.

On weekends, Shaya and his dad like to go for walks. As
they do, they like to stop and watch the neighborhood boys
play baseball.

On this one Sunday afternoon, as they approached the ball
field, Shaya looked up at his father and asked, "Dad, do
you think they would let me play?"

Now, this gave Dad a dilemma. He knows his son is
learning disabled, very uncoordinated, and has never
played baseball before. But Dad also knows that the
neighborhood boys have always treated Shaya with
kindness. And he feels that if he, his father, doesn't speak
up for Shaya, who will?

So he walked over to one of the boys and asked, "What do
you think about letting Shaya in the game?"

The boy didn't know what to say, and looked around to his
teammates for guidance. Not getting any, he took matters
into his own hands. He said, "Well, we're about to start the
8th inning, and we're losing by six runs. I don't think we're
going to win this game, so what's the difference? Get him a
glove and he can play behind second base, in short center
field," which Shaya did with a big smile on his face.

In the bottom of the 8th inning, Shaya's team rallied and
scored three runs. But they were still losing by three.

In the bottom of the 9th, they rallied again. They had three
runners on base, two out, and it was Shaya's turn to bat.

Dad wondered, will they even let him bat? But without
hesitation, one of the boys shouted, "Shaya, you're up!,"
and he was handed a bat.

But as he stood at home plate, it was obvious to all that
Shaya didn't even know how to hold the bat, let alone hit
with it.

So the pitcher moved in a couple of feet and lobbed the
ball very softly so Shaya could at least make contact.

Shaya swung and missed by a wide margin. Before the
second pitch, one of Shaya's teammates called out, "Hold
on, let me help him. Let me show him how to bat."

This boy came and stood behind Shaya, and put his arms
around him so the two boys were now holding the bat

The pitcher moved in a couple more feet and again lobbed
the ball as softly as he could.

The two boys swung the bat together and managed to tap a
soft grounder right back toward the pitcher. Shaya's
teammates yelled, "Run, Shaya! Run to first!" And he took
off for first.

But the pitcher pounced on the ball in an instant and could
easily have thrown Shaya out at first, ending the game.

Instead, the pitcher took the ball and, with obvious
intention, threw it on a high arc way over the first
baseman's head, all the way into the outfield.

Shaya was safe at first. The first baseman turned him
toward second and said, "Run, Shaya, run to second!"

But by then, the right fielder had chased down the ball and
he, too, could have easily thrown Shaya out, at second. But
he understood what the pitcher had done. So he threw the
ball not just over second base, but way over the third
baseman's head, so far that nobody was going to retrieve
that ball.

As Shaya chugged into second base, the opposing
shortstop ran towards him, turned him towards third base
and shouted, "Run, Shaya, run to third!"

Of course, by now the three runners who had been on base
had scored. The game was tied, Shaya represented the
winning run, and his teammates were screaming with

As Shaya rounded third base, every boy from his team and
several from the team on the field were all running behind
him, cheering him home.

And as he put his foot on home plate, both teams gathered
around him, lifted him on their shoulders and cheered him
as the hero of the game. He had just hit a home run and
won the game.

These boys gave Shaya the thrill of his life. Of course, they
gave him something even more precious--their acceptance.

Obviously, these boys had either been taught, or perhaps
had discovered on their own, the greatest secret of human

And that is . . . .

We experience our moments of purest joy at precisely
those moments when we are causing it in others.

It is a truism of life--whatever we give out comes back to us,
multiplied. Which brings me back to the beginning of this
message . . . .

In the hurly burly of the holiday crush, if you want to
experience some genuine joy, all you need do is take a
few moments to spread some around.

So maybe it's time to call an old friend who needs calling,
to forgive what needs forgiving, to let a family member hear
some healing words, to write that note that needs writing,
to smile an accepting smile at the next disabled person
you encounter, or perhaps to just relax in the moment with
someone older who'd love your undivided attention for a
few minutes, as all living things thrive on attention.

Of course, you may ask, what does all this have to do with
effective marketing, the usual subject of these BULLETS?

Nothing, really.

And everything.

As Malcolm Forbes was fond of saying, "In all thy getting,
get understanding."

It's vital for all of us to understand that our prospects and
customers are people, too . . . and people like to connect
with others who are unafraid of showing a little humanity,
of taking some time now and then to share a laugh, feel
some warmth, express some sympathy, do a favor, help
a charity, be a friend.

Whatever your product, however impressive your expertise,
people will never care how much you know until they know
how much you care.

Every now and then, toss a few pebbles of caring into
your pond of contacts. Those ripples of friendship will
spread and unfailingly return to you in waves of
appreciation and loyalty.

Especially at this time of year, we all need to rediscover,
like Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol," the giddy delight of
perpetrating on unsuspecting humanity some random
acts of kindness, some senseless acts of joy.

* * *

If you would like to share Shaya's story of joy with anyone
you know, you certainly have my permission to forward this
e-mail to as many people as you wish, to spread a little
cheer yourself and honor the spirit of the season.

* * *

In closing, at this time of year, I normally wish my clients
and friends "happy holidays and a prosperous New Year."

Well, you already have my message for a happy holiday. In
the next issue of these BULLETS, coming in January, I will
share the greatest secret I have ever discovered for achieving
prosperity. Indeed, this remarkably simple secret will make
prosperity a virtually automatic byproduct of all your
marketing. I believe it is the single greatest marketing
secret ever discovered for guaranteeing your success,
yet very few people know about it, as you'll see.

This next BULLET is entitled, "The Secret of Getting Almost
Anything You Want in Life," and it works without fail.

If you're a regular subscriber to these BULLETS, you will
receive it automatically in January. If you're not a regular
subscriber and would like to receive it, you may sign up
for a free subscription to these BULLETS, and also get free
access to all back issues, by going to:

Sincere wishes for a good life
and (always!) higher response,
Gary Bencivenga

(c) 2004, Accountable Advertising, Inc.
734 Franklin Ave., #312
Garden City, NY 11530

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