From a coffee shop in Hongdae:

2016 was a great year for me to meet new people. I was all over South Korea and Japan this year and each of them taught me new things about life. Prior to reading a lot of books, I never thought about how other people can impact my way of life. Meeting these people changed all of that! Anyway, here’s who I met and how they changed my life.

(Note: There are links to each person’s social media page. I also have links to other websites and affiliate links to books! Happy reading!)

1. Gerald Lee- Creator of Core-A Gaming analysis videos

Gerald and I met in early 2016 at Arcade Stream in Hongdae, Seoul. He’s a content creator like me. He and I became fast friends once I found out he was from my home town of Arlington, Texas! We talked many times at video game events and I even had a chance to interview him! Gerald is a very laid back guy and is very good in fighting games! His video work on Core-A gaming is top notched and his analysis on fighting games leaves no room for mistakes. With that said…

What I learned from Gerald: Research is important, don’t take things serious, be diligent in your work, and have fun! 

2. Lee Seon Woo aka INFILTRATION – Pro Gamer from South Korea.

Seon Woo and I met at Arcade Stream (the same day I met Gerald). He’s the 2016 EVO Street Fighter V champion and is one of the nicest and sharpest guys I met. I heard a lot about him from others but wasn’t sure what to make of him. From watching him in tournaments to talking to him personally, I noticed he has something most Korean men in Korea lack: the ability to be yourself. Seriously, if you were to see Infiltration, you can sense his confidence from the way he stands and the way he acts. He’s very appreciative of his fans and family and their support. He goes all out to make sure he not only wins but stays winning. He has every right to show off every once in a while.

What I learned from INFILTRATION: There’s nothing wrong with having charisma and confidence.

3. Whitney – YouTuber in Korea

I met Whitney at a YouTube event in Seoul. I saw a few of her videos and was impressed with her Korean. I met her in person and noticed she was tall! She’s almost my height (i’m 6’1″/185cm) and it surprised me! Talking to her, I got the feeling that very little bothers her. I personally know people that cannot stand watching her videos (“she’s too ageyo”) but she keeps on going. She does everything with a smile. EVERYTHING!

What I learned from Whitney: Do everything with a smile and never let hate stop you.

4. Megan Bowen – YouTuber

Megan was probably the best person i’ve EVER worked with in media production. Without a doubt! In January 2016, she asked for help for filming and I responded. We met at a studio in Hongdae and filmed a make up video. While filming, she always said “please” and “thank you” and was never commanding. This sounds small but given where I worked at previously, this is major for me. The company sponsoring her didn’t take the video because it was not “filmed in our studio” but it’s okay. We both had an opportunity to get to know one another. Talking to her, I understood how she always tries to do new things. Megan’s also looking for ways to improve personally, physically, and mentally. She has NO fear and is always willing to get better!

What I learned from Megan Bowen: Be nice to people, love yourself, and strive to be better.

5. Bueno – Creator of Garage Hero 

I first discovered Bueno on an interview with Japanator in January 2016. When I stayed in Japan for two months, we had a chance to meet. Having dinner with him and seeing how his mind works, I knew I was with someone I needed to be with. Bueno pulled NO punches when critiquing my videos and personality. If it wasn’t for Bueno, I wouldn’t have realized how much I needed to change my mind, way of life, and video style. His story got me interested in him but being with him kept me on guard for myself. On our last meeting, he said to me, “Do you know why I came to Japan? Because I wanted to. Why am I making movies with tokusatsu and Japanese porn stars? Because I like tokusatsu and Japanese porn. If people can’t see your vision, f**k them. Do your own thing!”

What I learned from Bueno: Do what you want because you can. Be someone that people want to be with.

5. Anri Okita – Former porn star turned actress, singer, and model

Anri and I met in Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan in March 2016. I found out her thanks to the subreddit r/Kappa. I originally wasn’t interested in her until I read her story. She’s an arts graduate that’s also a singer, actress, and model! She’s someone that has her degree working FOR her! She spent five years in the adult industry before retiring in May 2016 to evolve her career. We met four times and each time, she surprised me. I saw her in concert and was amazed at how well she can sing! I saw her in the movie “Scoop!” and only saw her for about 30 seconds. Anri knows how good she looks and how valuable her assets are. What’s great about it is she does it in a very classy way! Associating with her showed me how to use what I am and what I know to my advantage and so far it hasn’t failed me.

Video on my first meeting with her.
Interview with Anri Okita.

What I learned from Anri Okita: Use your assets to your advantage and be smart about it.

6. Hitomi Tanaka – Japanese porn star

I met Hitomi Tanaka in the same place I met Anri, only a day earlier. I saw Hitomi on her debut in 2008 and was only interested in who she was because of her body. Before meeting her, I studied up on her and found out she took a two year break from the industry. During those two years, she let her work work for her and she became even MORE popular at her comeback! She lost weight, changed her hair color, and is working on her English! A lot of people discredit porn stars because of their profession but many of them are really smart! I read the book “The School Of Greatness” and it talks about how important it is to have capital (proof of work). Hitomi’s capital did her favors and she’s a future legend in the making!

What I leaned from Hitomi Tanaka: The art of reinventing oneself takes time. Let you capital work for you. Always strive to learn new things.

My response to meeting Hitomi Tanaka.

7. Yoshinoro Ono – Producer of Street Fighter IV and V

Ono is holding the Blanka figure

I met Ono in Gangnam, Seoul during a Street Fighter V tournament! He was always positive and was VERY appreciative of his fans. He put a lot of work into making sure fighting games were fun again!

What I learned from Yoshinoro Ono: Be there for the people that support you, good or bad.

8. Kenny Omega – pro wrestler

I met Kenny Omega at the Tokyo Game Show in 2016. He’s not only a great pro wrestler, he’s also a very good Street Fighter player. I learned about Kenny in an interview he did with NHK and was very impressed with how he got started in pro wrestling. He wanted to wrestle in Japan and got his chance by SHOWING what he could do. He didn’t just talk about it, he TOOK ACTION!

What I learned from Kenny Omega: Take action, do whatever it takes, and have fun!

9. Danny Choo – creator of Smart Dolls

Danny is probably one of the hardest working men I know. He went from being a fan of Japanese culture to supporting and supplying a product to other fans! He is a real go getter and will do whatever it takes to stay being a success! I could feel his need to be a success just by talking to him. He gave off such a positive vibe that made me want to worker smarter and harder!

What I learned from Danny Choo: Work smart and hard and don’t EVER give up.

10. Esco & Hesou (EXBC) – Pro live streamers

While I was doing a live stream of my own, my viewers talked about EXBC. This married couple does live shows on a semi-daily basis and they’re entertaining! Esco’s story on how he met Hesou and what he was doing before streaming was inspiring. He didn’t want to live the typical Korean life style so he decided to take matters into his own hands. Fun fact: he learned English through American hip hop!

What I learned from EXBC: Don’t conform and don’t be afraid to entertain!

11. Baye Mcneil – Author

with author Baye Mcneil.

Baye is an author and a columnist for the Japan Times. I read his book “Hi, My Name Is Loco and i’m a racist” and it opened my mind. Reading his book showed me that being in motion and having an experience worth a lot. I got confirmation of this from stories in the Bible and from reading Victor Pride’s blog post on motion. Talking to him, I sensed how important it is to document EVERYTHING that happens in one’s life. It could save someone.

What I learned from Baye McNeil: Being in motion and having an experience gives ideas. Be true to yourself.

12. Kris Wolf – Pro Wrestler

I found out about Kris through the sub reddit r/squaredcircle and 420chan’s /wooo/ board. I found her on Twitter and saw how much energy she has! The first thing she said to me when we met was, “Wow, you’re so tall! I’m jealous!” I interviewed her and learned about how she got her start in pro wrestling! She’s a seasoned photographer and very entertaining in the ring.

What I learned from Kris Wolf: JUST DO IT and don’t hold yourself to your past.

13. Kim Jong Kook – Korean pop singer from the group Turbo and contestant on Running Man

I knew the group Turbo but didn’t know Kim Jong Kook was in the group. He was at my job filming the popular Korean game show Running Man and he was very nice. I walked up to him and asked if I could take a picture and he said “sure”. It was THAT easy.

What I learned from Kim Jong Kook: Exercise is important and never be afraid to ask for something.

14. Hwang Eun Sun – Korean Pop Singer

Hwang Eun Sun was on the music reality show Produce 101. In this show, they audition 101 women to be in the next big Kpop group! She was voted off the show but became popular enough to have a solo career! Hearing her story on going from good to great was inspiring!

What I learned from Hwang Eun Sun: When one door closes, another opens. There are better opportunities ahead.

15 and 16. Holidead, Thunder Rosa, and The Owens Twins – Pro wrestlers

Met these ladies at the same promotion Kris Wolf works for! I had no clue who they were but they welcomed me with open arms! Their generosity taught me how to treat people when I meet them for the first time. I knew this but I had a better understand after meeting complete strangers!

What I learned from these four: Hospitality keeps people coming back.
From Holidead & Thunder Rosa: Use intimidation to get the advantage
From The Owens Twins: Go for greatness with a smile

17. Santana Garrett & Chelsea Green – Pro Wrestlers

These ladies were full of SO MUCH ENERGY! You could see it in the ring and outside of it! Much like the ladies above, they were sweethearts and welcomed me to Stardom. They were very excited to be where they were and were excited to see a foreigner travel far just to see them! I found out about them thanks to wrestler Lance Hoyt and he spoke very highly of them! Victor Pride talks about high energy and these two confirmed it!

What I learned from Santana Garrett and Chelsea Green: HIGH ENERGY WINS!

18. Cyrus Sethna – voice actor

I discovered Cyrus on the Japanese drama show “Japanese The Japanese Don’t Know” and wanted to get to know him more. I messaged him on Facebook and he gladly accepted to do an interview with me! From our discussion, I saw how much he stressed the importance of staying calm and having a sense of humor. He’s mainly a voice actor but he did acting just to test and see if he’d like it or not. He taught me the importance

What I learned from Cyrus Sethna: Options, a cool head, being trustworthy, and having a sense of humor will get you far. 

19. Kaho Shibuya – Baseball reporter turned porn star

I found out about Kaho through r/Kappa on Reddit. I wasn’t interested in her until I found out about her past. I saw an interview she did with Anri and someone in the comments section said she was a sports reporter! I met her at an event in Tokyo and told her I was interested in her transition! In her words, she said, “I got tired of writing headlines so I wanted to be the headline.” In Las Vegas, I asked her what motivated her to transition and she said she wasn’t “…passionate about baseball”. She’s a writer at heart but wanted to do more with what she had. Kaho was probably one of the most important people I met in 2016. If it wasn’t for her and her manager, I wouldn’t have learned how to PROPERLY interact with people i’m looking to do business with.

What I learned from Kaho Shibuya: Experience is key; don’t stay where you cannot grow. Interaction and taking it slow is important in relationships.

20. Xian – Pro gamer

I met Xian in Korea during Street Fighter V Crash. I didn’t get to talk to him much but I talked to him more months later in Tokyo. When I saw him in person, he interacted with fans like they were his best friends! On Twitter, he interacts with anyone that responds to him! The fact that he’s an anime and drama fanboy that reads books on self growth is unique!

What I learned from Xian: Expression and interactions are keys to success. Reading books helps also! Not taking yourself serious helps keep everyone around you feeling easy.

21. Mina Oh – YouTuber 

I learned how to read hangul thanks to Mina in 2012. Since then, i’ve seen her videos and enjoyed watching her channel grow! She was in Seoul right when I was leaving in September and I had a chance to meet her. I told her how much I liked her channel and we clicked right away! I briefly saw her interact with her fans but I noticed the way she was in real life was the same way in her videos. She was real!

What I learned from Mina Oh: Being authentic wins.

22. Gokigen – Japanese pop group

I was in Shibuya filming my own video when I saw these girls. Like Santana and Chelsea, they were also full of energy! Didn’t get to talk to them much but I gathered enough from them after our first meeting!

What I learned from Gokigen Teikoku: HAVE FUN!

23: Team Evil Geniuses (Kenneth Bradley, Ricky Ortiz, Justin Wong, Chocoblanka and Momochi)

This group of individuals have one thing in common: BEING DARN GOOD AT WHAT THEY DO!

What I learned from Team EG: BE SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU! Do something that’ll get people’s attention.

24. Ryan Gutierrez aka Gootecks – retired pro gamer, commentator, author and show host

I found the show Excellent Adventures of Gootecks and Mike Ross by accident. It was one of the best accidental finds ever. Watching them motivated to improve my channel and content because they were so good. I thought I knew how to do proper production until I saw Gootecks. I asked his process and he said, “Keep it simple”.

What I learned from Gootecks: Keep it simple and don’t keep your knowledge to yourself.

My goodness, that was a lot to write! I hope you all learned something from my experiences! In the comments, I want you to tell me what you learned from people you met and how much of an impact they had on your life.

Peace and love!