Sunday, August 28, 2016



I have this thing going with some imaginary friends on Twitter (We met on a blog about Hawaii Five-0) Anyway, our thing is that we do some 30 day fitness challenge and we tweet having done the workout and cheer each other on. We did the 27-day squat challenge (we worked up to 100 squats) twice. We are currently doing the 30 day arm challenge (tricep dips, pushups, and mountain climbers).

On an unrelated thread, I follow some Olympic rowers on Twitter. One of them is a rower on Great Britan’s gold medal winning coxless four. Moe Sbihi is the tallest, strongest rower on that boat. I tweeted him some congratulatory stuff and about how good he looked in an interview online, and he tweeted thanks in return and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I tweeted to my imaginary gym friends about this and how even though it might have been some public relations agent’s intern doing it, I was going to cling to the fantasy that it was really him doing the tweeting, and then I went to bed and then I woke up to find this in my alerts.

スクリーンショット 2016-08-27 4.19.10

Double Olympic medalist (bronze in London, gold in Rio) with a handsome face and a sense of humor who remembers his supporters. What’s not to love?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sports Festival!


Year of Requirement Part 13

To this day, I do not understand the extent of emphasis on sports in education in Japan or the United States. I get that exercise is important, and that people who are good at sports and actually like sports should have the chance to take part in it, but for those of us who are less blessed, PE class is sufficient torture and should not be expanded into events such as ball sports day or sports festival. It should be taught, no, emphasized that for most people, athletic prowess will not translate into any social or financial status beyond university, if that. Unless you go to the Olympics and win medals, or become a starting player in a professional team and earn enough to pay all your bills on that alone, the only time you will win any admiration for your physical fitness is at your child’s preschool parents’ race.

“Taiikusai” was the annual sports festival, held because an annual ball sports competition was obviously insufficient mortification for us math geeks. This was more along the lines of a traditional field day, with relays and tugs of war and three legged races and kibasen and Botaoshi Our school was unusual in that girls did kibasen. Being small(er) even in Japan, I was the top person, but fortunately no one in my group really wanted to aggressively attack anyone And even if they did, as the top person, I got to call all the shots. Like coxing! But unlike coxing, I called it so we stayed in the fringes of the battleground while the other girls got into scratchy fistfights over the bandanas tied around their heads. A bandanda saved is a bandana earned. Or something.

A distinctly Japanese phenomenon was the “folk dance.” It was like square dancing except the whole school danced in two or three big double circles, girls on the outside and boys on the inside (or maybe it was the other way around). It was the only dancing junior high school students in Japan would do on the school grounds, in fact, it was the only dancing junior high school kids in Japan would probably do with the opposite sex, period, so it was apparently a big deal whether you’d be able to dance with the boy/ girl you liked. The choreography always involved a limited but significant amount of hand holding, which was, of course, also a great big deal.

I’ve mentioned this previously, but I’m not ridiculously short in Japan, just plain short. I wasn’t the shortest girl in my class. I was the second shortest. I teamed up with the shortest girl in the class to run in the three-legged race relay. I don’t really remember how we did, which probably means we did well enough not to earn the hate of the rest of the class. I don’t really remember how my class did either. Just the weirdness of the folk dance, and gratitude that it didn’t rain the night before, like it did for the ball sports competition.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Blog Neglect

Burg houki

I’ve neglected the blog for a whole month. I’m kind of impressed with myself. Well, not really, but I’m not disappointed with myself either. It’s a blog. That about six people read regularly. I’m not sick physically or mentally, and I’m not in trouble or anything, nor is anyone else in my family.

Let’s see. The Pumpkin Prince and Princess are on summer vacation. A couple weeks ago, we went to Disneyland and Disney Sea. They’ve become tall enough to ride almost everything, so we rode attractions that we hadn’t been able to try until now. 

We also did the obligatory overpriced but irresistible treats, 

like the Mickey Mouse popsicle
and the Little Green Man (man means dumpling in Japanese. These are mochi skins containing chocolate, strawberry and vanilla custard.)

In the hot summer sun, the passion fruit/ beer cocktail was to die for.

The cost performance of the food is, of course, better outside the park. There was an upscale shopping mall right next to the park, so we had lunch there the second day. Soba with assorted tempura and a small unagi bowl.

I saw a kid with an R2D2 popcorn case, and I had to have it. I mean, the Pumpkin Prince saw a kid with one, and begged me to get him one just like it. Yes, that’s it, that’s what happened...

The last day at the park, I ran a single lap (about 6k) around the whole thing. I could see some of the Disney Sea attractions, but nothing of Disneyland (I got a good view of the Disneyland Hotel, though). Never thought the day would come when I’d go to Disneyland and use my running shoes, but I guess that goes to prove you should never say never.

Then we went to see the cousins (my brother’s sons). They took us day camping, which meant they loaded up the grill and a tarp in his minivan and set everything up in the campsite and cooked stuff and the kids played catch and then it started pouring rain so we hid under the tarp for about an hour until it passed, and we packed everything up and went back to the hotel for a nice shower. My kind of camping!

On our way back, we saw this cloud that looked so much like a nice big cup of shaved ice. I’ll take mine mattcha/ condensed milk, thank you....