Friday, February 13, 2015

Those who chase two rabbits

Nito wo ou mono

(The above is an old saying "Those who chase two rabbits will catch none" (Ni to wo ou mono ha itto wo mo ezu 二兎を追う者は一兎をも得ず which means the same thing as "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.")

So I want to sew and exercise more.

I'm doing Couch to 5K, and I finished week 3 today. I'm achy and tired but I have a sense of accomplishment.

Sewing, not so much. After I altered the navy blue Zara blazer, nothing (unless you count sewing buttons back on). Part of it is that I haven't bought anything new, and part of it is that I haven't really been in the mood. I lapse back into my old habits of binging on chips and fooling around on the internet. (This situation would be marginally better if I were reading something more interesting or practical while binging on chips.)

Which brings me to this: What you need is discipline 

Me feeling the extra roll of fat on my torso when I sit, or noticing that my pants don't fit anymore, or realizing during a conversation with my co-workers that I'm not quite fully keeping up with latest developments of work stuff is motivation.

Me getting out of bed at 5:45 when it's still dark and cold and pulling on my windbreaker pants and Gore-tex jacket and venturing outside, or picking up a work-related book instead of checking Facebook and blogs and Wikipedia entries about old movies is discipline.

(No sewing examples, because that's a weird combination of hobby, thrift and vanity and doesn't really fall within the realm of discipline!)

On a completely different topic, the Pumpkin Princess will be starting juku in April. Juku is private (as in the opposite of paid by the government) after-school academic classes. I've always wondered if the Japanese public education system is all it's cracked up to be. The kids learn to read and write fairly well, and they learn basic concepts like photosynthesis and gravity and democracy and commerce, but there's not very much emphasis on organizing information and expressing opinions. The Pumpkin Princess's juku will teach critical thinking and essay writing (to express the critical thinking process). I think this is an important part of anyone's education.

The problem is, teaching this within the public school system is probably (for now, anyway) pretty much near impossible. So the Pumpkin Princess will have to go to juku. Which I am totally OK with. The Pumpkin Daddy is available to give rides. We can afford the juku fee.

There is a small annoyance, though. What about the kids whose parents can't drive them to juku? What about the kids whose parents can't afford to send them to juku? I wonder how much more (tax) money it would take to let ALL kids get this kind of education? After all, they are the ones who are are going to be running the country in a few more years. I would rather have a large pool of creative, independent, critical thinkers calling the shots.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Oops, I did it again!

Mata yatchatta!

I didn't think I would be, but I'm on Week 3 of Couch to 5k. I downloaded a 100 yen app for it (because I couldn't find a decent multi-set interval timer that ran on the old version of iOS I have on my old iPod) but it crashed during the run, and I ended up just running to the timer function of my iPod. Still, I ran, and I've been running 3 times a week for 2 whole weeks, so it's all good, I think.

Anyway, I was listening to a podcast by two doctors, and one said to the other, "marathons are bad for you." And shortly after, the app crashed.

I'm trying to figure out what to make of this.

I'm continuing to purge my house of unwanted/ unused/ unloved items. I hauled the Pumpkin Prince and Princess's old clothes to work, and gave them to younger colleagues with small children. My friends get extra clothes (because everyone knows daycare babies need about 3 times as many clothes as non-daycare babies), and my house gets cleaner. If that's not a win-win, I don't know what is. While going through clothes, I've come to the following conclusions

1)  Just because you paid 5 times more for it than you usually do, doesn't mean it is going to last 5 times longer. (I am looking at you, high(er) end knits that hold their shape exactly as long as my Uniqlo pullovers.)

2) Woven fabrics hold their shape better than knits.

I tossed one of the first pairs of pants I altered because they were too tight. I'm very slowly gaining weight, and I'm OK with this in and of itself, but I really hate that the items I worked so hard to alter don't fit anymore!