Sunday, May 30, 2010

Power Bracelet

I got a new piece of jewelry. Its strange calling it jewelry because that word makes it sound so trivial. This is a special bracelet. I don't know the Japanese name for it, but majority of Japanese people have these stone bracelets. Whether you believe in it or not, the belief is that stones have powers so wearing certain stones can deflect some negative things or bring something positive to ones life.
I've always wanted to get myself a bracelet, but couldn't find a shop near by. I close friend at school, Miyabi Lin, had stone bracelets and I asked her where she got hers. So last Friday she took me the shop and she helped me choose the stones. I choose Amethyst and Cartz (correct me if I'm wrong Miyabi). It should give me self control and clarity. I'm in love with it! The photo makes the purple look almost black. But its actually a really pretty purple.
Thank you for your help Miyabi!. She has such a positive influence on me. It's amazing how certain people can affect you in different ways. Where would we be without friendship!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thinking and Diet Overhaul

I've been feeling stressed lately. This is probably the least stressful I've been in my life but stress is stress, right? In my day to day life, I don't have such stimulating situations that most people would consider to be stressful so I feel rather ridiculous to actually say I'm stressed. Maybe I just like to say I'm stressed so I have an emotion. But no, I don't think that's it, because when I'm happy and satisfied I know that feeling and I show my contentment.
My stress comes from school. I'm so terrified of failing horribly on every tests, in particular grammar tests. I find myself getting so irritated in class when I make a mistake and every Friday now I can expect to get decent amount of homework that I have to do over the weekend. I find myself so angry that I have to write an essay (which turns into a speech in front of the class)every weekend on a topic that seems to get more and more less interesting (ie. really stupid). And every Monday now we've had a Kanji tests which means I also need to study for kanji over the weekend. I treat Japanese class as a job, I study hard over the week days and my weekends I hope to relax and not study.....well, that's close to impossible I've come to realize. Japanese has become a 7 day job and my resentment is starting to build. I keep thinking..."I can relax after this Grammar test." Ironically, Grammar tests always fall on a Friday, so immediately after I finish the test, I think I can relax a little until I'm shown the mountain of homework that I have to do over the weekend. And the cycle continues.
Ok, I'm rambling.

I've decided I need to change something in my life that is making me so stressed out. I can't really change the school system so....
#1 I will/have to change my attitude to Japanese school; It shouldn't be a job, it should be life. I live in Japan, I can't just switch Japanese off, in fact if anything should be switched off it should be ENGLISH. So I'm going to try to embrace Japanese more and accept it as a healthy challenge. Besides, I am making excellent grades which shows my hard work is paying off.

#2 I will/have to learn to not be so terrified of making mistakes. As perfect as I'd like to be, its impossible. I'm not a native Japanese speaker, so I'm expected to make mistakes so I can learn from them. My Japanese teachers frequently point out that native Japanese speakers often make mistakes as well. Besides....who likes a perfect person anyway, yeah?

#3 Eliminate things I can from my life that stimulate stress. Such as sugar! Oh, how I love sugar! Chocolate, cake, cookies give it to me!
This book I've been reading recently "Thrive" is a nutrition guide for vegans. This guy, Brendan Brazier, a professional vegan triathlete, explains how situations and food cause people stress. Sugar, caffeine, processed foods, dairy and meat are foods that stimulate stress.

He calls it Nutritional Stressed. It's not hard to see the connection between eating foods that the body doesn't really need and the body reacting negatively to it. I consider myself a conscious eater. I diffidently eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and minimize processed and unrefined foods. But, as I mentioned before I have weakness to sweets and its easy to excuse myself to have sweets because I do workout 5-7 days week and eat an abundance of organic fruits and veggies. And while I think its fine to have a sweet perhaps once a week....daily is not necessary and rather unhealthy. No wonder I've been feeling a little down lately, because I'm not feeding my body the best I could so its in turn affecting my thoughts. So I am going to cut my amount of sweets I consume. Now I realize that I said caffeine is also a stress stimulator, but I can't give up my coffee yet. Thus my coffee being in the above picture with the health books haha.
Another book I got is YogaNap. It's a book explaining different poses for Restorative Yoga. What is Restorative Yoga.....exactly what the name is. The book shows various poses and guides to get into a yoga pose which is relaxing and also soothing for the body. I've been incorporating a few poses in my yoga classes on Sat so I'm going to start using some for myself to help with relaxation.

My pose of the week is legs up the wall. This is especially good for tired legs, lower back pain, hamstring stretch and general relaxation. With or without a bolster/blanket under you is fine. For tight hamstrings, your hips will be farther away from the wall. For those with the flexibility, try getting your bum as close as possible to the wall. This is an inversion pose. Inversions are especially good because it gets the blood flowing in the opposite direction. If you get puffy feet from a long day on your feet. Try this for 5-10mins.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Darling is A Triathlete

Another weekend at the beach. This time we traveled on an over night ferry to Niijima.
"Niijima (新島?) is a volcanic island in the Izu Islands and administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Japan, that lies south of Tokyo and east of the Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka prefecture." From good ol' Wikipedia.
It's a beautiful place with hardly any automobiles which makes pollution close to zero. This was a special trip because it's Motozo's first Triathlon of the year. He did it last year, but because of work, I couldn't join him. So this was also my first time to the Island.
I'm not a huge fan of boats and as I expected, I got sick despite it being a huge ferry. But we got to see views of other Islands.
Here's Oshima, we'll be going there next month for another Triathlon event.

We also traveled with 25 other racer friends so it was quite festive.
We arrive at 8:30 in the morning and promptly went to our Minshuku for breakfast. Leng Leng and I went for a little jog to explore the Island while the triathletes got their bike together and prepped up for the race.

Strange things like this are all over the Island.

The athletes were blessed with beautiful clear skies and ocean. It was a little windy though and everyone was concerned how that would affect them on the bike.

Motozo, getting his bike ready.

The gang! Pumped for the race.

Keren and Motozo at the start line.

The gun goes off and off they go!

Motozo finishing his swim. Still smiling....good sign!

On to the bike!

Speedy man!
The final part of the race! The run! Started getting warm at this part and the first 2k or so are uphill, but he was such a trooper!

Others enjoyed the hill as well.

Goal! He did pretty damn well considering that he didn't have much time to train this year. So proud of my baby!

Happy Finishers. Otsukaresama!

Every time I see a Triathlon I'm so impressed with everyone! It takes so much preparation for this kind of race! They have to train for 3 sports; swim, bike and run. Training for a running race is hard enough work for me, so I can't imagine adding the other 2. I always say,"Some day I'll do one." but I don't know.....I think for now I'll just enjoy being a supporter/spectator.

The next day I borrowed a little mama-charin from the minshuku and we spent a couple of hours exploring the Island.
I went for a little jog, while Motozo rode his bike to get a little lactic acid out of his legs.

We had time left to visit a glass museum and have a sushi(veggie sushi for me) lunch before catching our plane back to Tokyo.

I was SO happy we got a plane back rather then an 8hr ferry ride! I didn't want to leave the Island though. It was so peaceful and beautiful!

I just realized this blog is becoming just an album. Ah, hell...thats not a bad thing. haha.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Yoga Moment

I finally tested out my yoga socks! I think I bought these last summer and ended up not using them.
I didn't want to actually use socks while doing yoga in the summer. These are purely for times when a yoga mat is not available. So I'm going to start bringing them with me when we take trips.
They've got little grippers on the bottom so technically I can do yoga anywhere, without a mat. How convineant eh? I was quite happy with the socks. My foot looks monstrous from this angle!

My Crow Pose

I found some photos from last years yoga class I went to. It's called Acro Yoga or flying yoga. It fun and playful! Requires some major core action! That's also the studio that I teach at on Saturdays.

Another happy customer! Our pull-up contraption is getting put to good use. I use it about twice a week and Moto without fail does it daily when he comes back from work. Pull ups to relieve stress from work. Maybe he should be called "Stress Reliever" or Moto's idea was, "Dexter" haha. We love that show!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Golden Week FUN!

Oh, how I love holidays! I believe the last holiday we had was our honeymoon. Of course, I can't really complain about the holidays being few being that I'm not spending 8-9 hours at a company unlike dear hubby. In a way, Japanese school is sort of like work though. I still have to wake up at a reasonable hour (5:30AM if I want to get a workout in) and leave home at 8AM. Then when I get home I have a few hours of homework and study to do.
I'm pretty stress free apart from the occasional kanji dilemma and Japanese speeches I have to write on a weekly basis....but, I have a good life.

Our GW started off with beer and cake. Our (Moto and I) dear friend, Keren, had his 50th birthday and we were there to celebrate along with Namban Rengo. I met Keren in our running club a few years back and he never fails to impress me. This guy has a full time job as a hotel manager, but finds time to train like there's no tomorrow. He's an amazing runner/triathlete, who fought skin cancer and came back fitter then ever! He loves how he can lap Motozo on the track now. Of course, Moto doesn't like that, but he forgives him being that he did such a great job as a wedding "prist".
Happy Birthday Old Bastard (the cake says)

The wig went around to everyone. Ignore the mumble jumble. I screwed something up when posting photos and I can't fix it.

The next day we were off to the beach, Shimoda! We try to make a few trips down there over summer. This was an early trip because not only was the weather LOVELY, but we also have friends who moved down there a couple months ago and had a baby so we went to visit them.
We were stuck in traffic for quite a bit. But I guess thats expecting being GW and all.

But we got to see some great views along the way.

We had a fun barbecue that night, but wasn't able to take any photos successfully in the dark. I've become quite the wine drinker though. I drank more then I usually do.

The next morning we were up bright and earlier and met a running friend for a little run. We ran to a light house which also offered beautiful views! I'm so happy that I can run now. I ran both days that we were down there and I'm pleased that I still have my cardiovascular strength, although my legs get tried after an hour or so. I'm working on getting my running body back.

That afternoon, Motozo played tennis with our hosts. I don't know how to play tennis, so I was the umpire instead. I had a little tall chair and everything. Of course, the players were correcting my counting every so often. Its funny, tennis has a different point system. Its not just 1,2,3. Its something like: 15,30,40....anyway.

The problem with me having a camera, means no photos are taken of me unless I take them of myself...haha. Motozo hardly even brings his camera because he knows I'll take mine and doesn't bother to take any for me...HUMP!

Introducing, Izumi, our host's 5 month baby. I bought that toy for her when she was first born. It's getting used very well!

The last day we were there we had the best weather and clearest water I've ever seen in Shimoda. The locals were taking full adavantage of it!

Ah, Shimoda...we'll see you again soon.