Met with a doc yesterday to get my knee checked out. Apparently, surgical techniques for ACLs are much more advanced in the US because he was really surprised with my progress at 3-months post-op. From what I heard, it generally takes about a year for an athlete who had their surgery in Japan to come back from an ACL tear but athletes in the US generally take only 6 months. When I heard this I felt very lucky that I had my surgery in the US! Anyway, we talked about some rehab options and decided that I will visit the clinic once a week to do my exercises there while I continue to do what I’ve been doing in the gym on the other days.
After, my appointment I went straight back to the university for my training. Actually, I had to stop by a Burger King on the way back because I was really hungery (I know it’s bad but it was the only quick food I could find on my way back). People who have not visited may be surprised to find that there is a drink that is smaller than a standard ‘small’ in the US. A person who have never visited Japan probably has never seen a drink so small (on the left), but this is in fact a standard ‘small’ in Japan. On the right is actually a medium! Yes, portions in Japan are starting to increase but some things continue to be less than that of the US.
Anyway, tomorrow is our day off from gym. I’ll be visiting the big city, Tokyo, with some friends from school. It should be fun as Tokyo is home to a bunch of interesting things!
Today was a light practice day at the gym so I spent my time stretching and doing basic conditioning. Same went for the guys training at the university. Unlike the US, the competitive season for these guys are in the summer/fall, therefore a lot of the members in the gym are getting ready to compete at some big meets. The freshmen are gearing up to compete at a “freshmen championships.” This is something that we don’t have in the States but it’s a competition where a team of freshmen will go up against other freshmen teams from other universities. On the other hand, the older guys are preparing for the Japanese National Championships, which will take place in late November.
The atmosphere in the gym has been pretty intense because of these upcoming meets but it was nice to have a light day today to heal up.
Anyway, I’m off to see a doc here in Japan about my knee. Things are coming along and I’m anxious to see what he’s going to have me doing in terms of exercises!
Halloween is right around the corner and I’ve realized that even Japanese people celebrate it. I heard that there will be a bunch of people in costumes, especially in big cities. However, I heard that kids don’t go trick-or-treating for candy. What’s the fun in Halloween without candies? Anyway, thought this was another example of how much Japan is “Americanizing.” Pretty interesting…
Went on a Costco run the other day to get some living supplies. When I stepped inside, I was surprised by how much American products they carried. It was like I never left the States. It’s crazy how much Japan is influenced by the US. I can pretty much get anything American (food, movies, etc) at Japanese stores. Even food portions are starting to grow. I can’t tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing but I can definitely see the effects of globalization. I just hope that the Japanese don’t lose their identity because I think that that is what makes them special.
The last few days of training were good. Typhoon “Lupit” is passing by so it’s pretty rainy/windy here but good thing is that we’re always indoors. In the gym I’m continuing my rehab and conditioning workouts and those are coming along as usual. I’ve also been able to watch the Japanese guys train so I’ve been able to learn a whole lot that way as well.
One thing that I’ve learned is that they don’t take as many turns as most gymnasts in the US. However, each turn is done with a purpose. They put in 100% every time they go up and rarely take any “wasteful” turns. It’s smart way to train because it takes a whole lot of stress off the body. These guys also “self-coach.” Instead of asking the coach after every turn, they take some time to think about what they did and try and fix it. I think that this is a great method because it allows the athletes to understand their own gymnastics and their own body better.
Another thing I’ve realized is that everyone is really respectful. It’s part of the culture but it’s really apparent in the gym. For example, the younger guys says greets all of the older gymnasts when they walk into the gym. They also have a lot of respect for their training facility. Today we cleaned the gym after training (we do this twice a week). No janitors here!
Anyway, I’m glad I came because I’m learning a lot of stuff outside of gymnastics as well. I can take these things and bring it back to the US. Soaking everything in for the time being!
It’s my first weekend here in Japan and I’m off roaming the areas in Chiba prefecture. Luckily, Tokyo is not far away (less than an hour by train) and will probably be going there rather frequently.
To the people in Japan or people who have visited Japan, let me know where I should visit (in and around Tokyo) while I’m here! Feel free to leave me some comments with some recommendations (Japanese is ok too!).
Even though classes started today, it was rather exciting because the class was taught by my former coach, Mutsumi (Harada). The focus of the class is on coaching methodologies. This is perfect given the fact that I’ve been helping as coach at my club (Champions Academy) back in the US.
One interesting thing that I realized was that most university classes in Japan do not give out homework! Yay for no extra work, but at the same time it puts a little more pressure on the students to do well on the final exam/paper. Nevertheless, this will be a good experience and I’m excited about learning a lot while I’m here.
Tomorrow is Saturday and there’s no school. Will be at practice as usual though. The guys on the team are great. Even though I’m in rehab mode, I’ll be able to continue my conditioning workouts and will be able to learn a lot just through observing their workouts. Definitely looking forward to getting to know them better!
After a 10.5 hour flight from San Francisco, I’m finally here in Nihon, ‘Land of the Rising Sun,’ Japan (or whatever you want to call it). Finally got the internet set up so I’ll be able to post rather frequently.
A little info about my trip here: I started the day off by taking a shuttle to the airport, and the person that drove was absolutely awesome. Not only did he get me to the airport in 30 minutes because he knew all the short cuts through the streets of SF (it usually takes about an hour in traffic), but he apparently lived in Japan at one point. On the way over to the airport, he told me some funny stories.
When I got my bags checked in at the airport, I realized that I hadn’t eaten so I headed off to the food court. Surprisingly, a father of a boy that I had given privates lessons to in gym was a chef at one of the restaurants. He worked his magic and put breakfast on the house!
The flight I took was ANA (All Nippon Airline) and the service was really nice. Even though I sat in economy, we each had our own entertainment system. The console had a bunch of movies, TV shows, music, and games. During the flight, I ended up watching The Hangover, Little Miss Sunshine, and Big, which means I didn’t sleep at all. Anyway, the flight was all good but was made even better when served the meals. It was very good and very balanced. Hard to believe that all that was served in an economy class.
After landing, I went straight to my residence, ate dinner, and fell asleep. Luckily, despite the big time difference between here and the States, I was able to sleep through the entire night (I must’ve been really tired from staying up on the flight). Anyway, I’m using today to get settled in. I’ll be unpacking, going to the city ward to fill out some paper work, and getting basic items I need for survival. My first class as a student in Japan starts tomorrow and I’ll also begin training with the team. Looking forward to it. Wish me luck!
I’ve gotta say that I’ve been procrastinating way too much and haven’t done that much packing for my trip to Japan. I’ve spent the last couple of days visiting friends and saying my goodbyes before having to leave for 3 months for my study-abroad program.
To give you and idea of where I’m at, I leave tomorrow and I’ve only packed a small duffel bag and haven’t even cleaned my room yet! I’ll probably spend most of tonight (I’m super busy all day until tonight) packing up the rest of things I will need. I guess if I were to look at this on the bright side, staying up late tonight might help me because I’ll be so tired tomorrow that I’ll just sleep through the whole plane ride. Also, even if I were to forget to pack something, I can easily get whatever I need in Japan considering it’s my “home” away from home.
I know I’ve said this many times but I’m very excited about this trip to Japan. The food is delicious, many places to see, and best of all, I’ll have a great training environment. I’ll be posting a lot while I’m out there so please keep checking back!
Also, great job to all the guys that competed at Worlds. I wish I could’ve been there competing with the rest but my priority now is to get my leg better. Good news is everything is coming along!