Posts tagged ‘fitness’

November 17, 2013

The Most Colorful Birthday of All


Earlier this fall my friend Noelle mentioned to us that she wanted to get a bunch of her friends together and do a 5k for her birthday. I of course said YES! As many of you know, I’ve done two 10ks in Japan. Those were hard. A 5k would be a snap and a lot of fun to do with a group.

The best part about this 5k was that it was themed! I’ve always wanted to do a themed fitness event. This one was called "Color Me Rad". Color Me Rad is a race where you have color thrown at or sprayed at you while you run. The entire point of the race is to begin wearing white and end a rainbow-y mess.

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October 17, 2012

Random Observations as of Late #6

Aaaaaaaaaaaand it’s time for another catch-up post. I haven’t posted a “daily life”/random observations blog in a while, so here we go! Warning: This is long.

※ I was wondering…Why is everything I do so interesting? To everyone? For example, every time I come to this one school, the office lady asks me, “Did you bike here again today?” She asks me this and she is amazed when I answer “Yes”. The weather is nice and it only takes 30 minutes. Why is that so interesting? Also, people are amazed when I mention that I like exercise. And that I like to go to the gym after work. You’d think I qualified for the Olympics from the reactions I get. This stuff is normal, but since I am a foreigner in Japan… I guess everything I do is just interesting?

※ At one of my schools, there is a transfer student from another country. His father has already been here for a while, working, so he just recently came to join him. The rest of their family is still in their home country. I think it is interesting, because this kid speaks little Japanese and little English. Man, that must be hard. Plus, his name when put into Japanese katakana means “Ant.” I talked to the teachers about him recently and they said that the kid is being teased a bit and has few friends. The situation kind of makes me sad.

※ For the month of October, Kyle and Tori’s tradition is to watch one Halloween movie per night. So far I have joined them for Nightmare Before Christmas, Slither, Idle Hands, The Witches, and The Ring. The Ring (American version) is one of the scariest movies I have seen. I had horrible nightmares the night after I watched it the first time. I even slept-walked in Sam’s house and woke up on the floor in her bedroom’s entryway with a huge bruise on my foot. Still have no idea what happened there. Since then I’ve gotten a little desensitized by it and was okay to go to bed by myself. After we watched it last week, I went home and got in bed. I reached up to turn my overhead light off, but then froze. My lamp that hangs above my bed is a circle-shaped light, resembling a ring. The line from the movie played in my head: “Before you die, you see the ring.” So I bravely turned off the light, knowing what I would see. The room was completely dark aside from the ring of light, which faded into the dark seconds later. Pretty scary.

※ I’ve been cooking a little more lately. I’ve made a new curry recipe and this one is rocking my taste buds right now: click here for the recipe! And also, I rediscovered some of my Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free baking flour that Tori and Kyle gave me for Christmas last year. I still had some left! So I decided that I was going to try and make carrot cake. I even bought nutmeg and everything. I used this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie and while the results were not as visually “pretty” as a normal carrot cake… The taste was incredible. I hadn’t tasted carrot cake in probably over a year, so it was pure heaven for this carrot cake lover. Plus, it takes 5 minutes and you can make it in the microwave. I don’t have an oven here in Japan, but… This carrot cake can be made anywhere in the world with a microwave! I need to order more gluten-free flour. :)

photo (1)

Another thing I made was… CHILI. Oh my gosh. I have not had chili in… two years? I can’t remember the last time I ate real chili. I am so looking forward to eating this with a nice ripe avocado on top. I used this recipe from Oh She Glows.



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April 3, 2012

Working Out (or not) in Japan

Let me preface this by saying that there is a long list of things that Japan does well. However, based on my experience, gyms/fitness centers do not make this list.

Exercise is a part of my daily life, right up there with breathing, eating, sleeping, and working. Gotta move to stay healthy and all that. But it is amazing how many roadblocks I have encountered in my quest to exercise here.

Here we have Exhibit A, my gym in the US:

(photo source)

In the US, I paid (what I considered an expensive) $65 a month for one of the top gyms in my city (with locations nationwide so I could work out when I went to visit my parents). Open 24-hours and only closed on Christmas day. I could take as many group fitness classes as I wanted, the towel service was free (both sweat and shower towels), never had to wait for a machine, broken machines were a rarity, people with tattoos were allowed in, there were indoor and outdoor pools, water slides…

mdmmmost27_t607(photo source)

The whole place was kind of like a resort, actually. I miss going there so much.

I know this may sound silly, but being placed in a super-rural location in Japan and not being able to go to a gym was one of the things I feared most before I accepted my position with JET. I worried about this far more than not being able to maintain my vegan+gluten-free diet. It was kind of a deal-breaker for me, until I finally decided to just go for it and trust that there would be exercise options in whatever city I ended up.

When I first arrived, it was easy to just go outside and run. In August, September, October… the weather was fine enough. When I ran the marathon in the beginning of October, it was getting a little too cold for my wimpy body. The day of the marathon was cold and rainy and I decided that I needed to get inside for my workouts.

During these first few months, I had also been biking to the Aomori-ken Budokan (literally, “martial arts stadium,” but it is more like a community fitness center with gyms and practice rooms for badminton, karate, kendo, etc). It took about 10 or 15 minutes to bike there from my house. They have a little training room that costs 円100 (yen) per hour to use. A few weight machines, some free weights, a stretching mat, a rock-climbing machine, some bikes, a couple Stairmasters, and four treadmills.

However, this became unsustainable for me. When it became cold, I could no longer ride my bike (especially in the snow). I had to depend on Tori and Kyle for a ride. I could have ridden the train, but the Budokan is along the a non-JR railway and thus more expensive/inconvenient. Also, the training room often reached maximum occupancy around 5:30-6pm and there was often an hour-long waiting list to gain entry.

So, in November I finally sucked it up and went to the “fancy” gym by Hirosaki station. It is only a 5-minute walk from my house! They were offering a joining special with some sort of incentive (isn’t that always the case?) and I really needed a close, convenient place to work out at, so… I went ahead and did it as an investment in my emotional and physical well-being. I don’t have any tattoos, so I was allowed to sign up. I was actually pretty proud of myself for getting the membership all by myself.

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