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Creative Career Path

Rolling Conversation2013.02.05

    Have you ever felt at a loss for words in a conversation? You need not be. Many books and articles on communication recommend such things as being a good listener, mirroring the other person's posture, or asking good questions. All of this fine as it goes, but have you ever tried imaginative association?


    By associating words, ideas, and images, you can start anyplace and go anywhere your imagination can take you. Of course you need to engage the other person's imagination too, so that you don't drift off into space, but a flight of the imagination can be much more fun than ordinary small talk.


    All you need is something to set the process in motion. Take the letter D. In this case no ordinary letter D, because the illustration here is actually a window lattice, through which peers my self-portrait, overlaying the original pencil drawing. How did I make it? There are several stories in that question alone, but let's stick with the letter D for now. Of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of words in the dictionary beginning with the letter D, one that came to mind was dice. That should get the conversation rolling!


    Have you ever been to Las Vegas, Macau? Did you gamble with dice? A pair of one's is called snake eyes, surely a specially lucky number in the Year of the Snake. Did you notice how on Japanese dice the pip or number one is in red, according to some a symbol of Japan as the Red Sun, or hinomaru.


    Another interesting thing about Japanese dice is that the corners are sometimes squared, and sometimes rounded with six flattened faces, making them much easier to roll!


    On hearing that, my Japanese friend said that the expression for roll the dice is saikoro wo furu. He added that the same verb is used when a man is rejected, dumped, or jilted by a woman (furareta), which he said had happened to him many times. I suggested that he learn to roll like a Japanese dice with rounded corners, which might make the roll more comfortable. Or play with loaded dice, so that the outcome turns out in his favor!


    To play with dice is to take a risk. Which you can also do with saikororo steak (dice-cut steak), if the beef is not properly inspected or cooked. At least that news had been on the television that day.


    And by the way, can you tell me the numbers that appear on the opposite faces of the dice in the illustration shown here? Opposite one is...six. Opposite five is...two. Opposite four is...three. Why? Because dice are made so that the opposite faces always add up to seven. No wonder seven is considered such a lucky number!


    I opened up the Compass App on my iPhone, pulled out a dice, and asked my friend to place the dice with the proper orientation of each face, showing Heaven, Earth, East, West, South, and North (Tenchi Touzai Nanboku). With some hesitation, as he reached into his cultural memory, he placed one facing up for Heaven, with six facing down for Earth, five East, two West, three South, four North, the dice sitting centered on my iPhone. This is known as 天一地六東五西二南三北四(いってんちろくとうごさいじなんざんほくし)pronounced itten chiroku tougo saiji nanzan hokushi, in case you want to impress your Japanese friends. It is also an expression that things are as they should be!


    If that isn't enough to get the conversation rolling, at least it shows that imaginative association can be more fun than talking about the weather, or inquiring about the other person's health.


    And if you are still at a loss for words, there are twenty-five more letters in the alphabet to go.



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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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