Archive for November, 2009

Random Pics From Various Places


Entrance to the university

It’s actually a pretty steep incline but I see it as good exercise for my knee.  Sometimes I have to go up and down several times a day because I have a lot of time between class and practice.


Kimchi & Cheese Flavored Cup Noodle

No joke.  I bought it at the supermarket the other day.  I was reluctant to try it but it wasn’t all that bad.  Interesting combo though…


Part of the Gym

It’s where champions are made…literally.  Olympic gold medalists like Hiroyuki Tomita, Takehiro Kashima, and Isao Yoneda came out of this place, as well as other Olympians.  It’s a privilege to be training at this gym with awesome athletes and coaches.


Humongous Buddha!

The Ushiku Daibutsu.  My friends and I saw it from the highway on our way to watch the “Freshmen Championships.”  The statue is huge!  You might not be able to tell from the picture but the little hazy thing by the left hand is an electric tower.  The Buddha is the tallest statue in Japan and the third largest in the world at 394 feet tall (got my facts from wikipedia).  Pretty amazing!


Mercedes-Benz McLaren

I really liked it so I bought it…ok just kidding.  No way I can afford a half-million dollar car but I saw it at a famous audio shop in Chiba Prefecture. Apparently there’s only a handful in Japan.  I’d be way too afraid to drive such an expensive car especially in the narrow streets of Japan!

Go Go Godzilla!

It’s already been several days since the Yankees won the World Series but the news about Matsui’s MVP is still buzzing in Japan.

The fact that he has made such a big name for himself in the US is really awesome.  It makes me proud to be a Japanese (Japanese-American) athlete in the US.  But more importantly, I find the win inspiring because he had some rough and flat years with injuries for a while.  Like Matsui, I’m hoping to recover from my knee injury and get back in action!



"Freshmen Championships"

I was at the “Freshmen Championships” with my gym friends in Ibaraki Prefecture (about 2 hours drive from where I am) just yesterday.  Naturally I rooted for Juntendo University because it’s where I currently train but I did have friends at other participating universities as well.  The competition was interesting, and was a close race until the end.  Juntendo was down by 2 points behind Japan Sports Science University (aka Nittaidai – home of Kohei Uchimura), however Juntendo’s last event was high bar (a good event for the team), while Nittaidai finished on pommel horse (a relatively low scoring event).  These two teams were in a league of their own, just going head-to-head.  Unfortunately, some costly mistakes kept Juntendo from taking the lead.  Nevertheless it was an exciting competition and it was great to see some familiar faces inluding Kohei (Uchimura).  It was also a good chance for me to get away from campus and to just hang out with my friends from school. 

The next competition for these guys is the All Japan Championships.  All Japan should be intense and it’ll be a big reunion for sure.  Can’t wait to see my old friends!

Learning to Drive (in Japan)

The last few days have been pretty busy for me.  Spent some time at the DMV to get a Japanese driver’s license.  The process is rather tedious though because I have to go in and take several tests before I can officially get it. To make things difficult, the roads are narrow and traffic laws are a bit different.  There are more people on the roads and tons traffic lights.  The fact that the driver’s side is on the right makes driving a little more confusing.  I also need to make sure that I turn into the right lane and don’t go head-on into traffic (they drive on the left side of the road).  In fact, a lot of Japanese people I know in the States said they’ve turned into the wrong lane by accident!


Driving in Japan

As far as training, I’ve been continuing with what I’ve been doing.  Rehab has been progressing smoothly also.  I see the PT every Wednesday at a location about 45 minutes from where I live.  The facility is great and the person in charge was a former gymnast so I’m in good hands.

The rehab facility from the outside

The rehab facility from the outside

This weekend will be pretty busy.  I’ll be going to the “freshmen” championships in Ibaraki which is about a 2-hour drive.  I’ll be going with a buddy from the gym, Koki Sakamoto, who was on the Olympic team in 2008.  Seeing the freshmen go head to head should make the competition very interesting to watch!

Played Tourist

Since I had a day off from gym today, my teammates and I decided that it would be fun to visit the city of Tokyo.  Luckily one of my friends had a car so he drove us there (about an hour from the university).  We started the day off by visiting the Meiji Shrine.  The cool thing about these places is that it’s very historical and the architectures are so intricate.  For those of you who have never been, we usually cleanse our hands with purified water before entering.  It’s also custom to throw in a 5-yen coin (equivalent to about 5 cents) into a large box in front of the shrine before we put our hands together to make a wish.   This custom is also thought to bring good luck and to ward off evil spirits.


One of the Torii (gates) to the Shrine


Meiji Shrine

Unfortunately, it seemed as though I didn’t pray hard enough as I was met with an evil spirit at my next stop.  Ok, I’m kidding but this girl we saw in the city definitely looked like she came straight out of a comic book.  Who knows, maybe she got mixed up and forgot that Halloween was the day before…


She might need a haircut soon...

But no, one will see many people in costumes on the streets of Tokyo even on normal days.  Don’t know where this ‘culture’ started but it’ll be interesting to learn about the origin.  A quick research on the internet may help solve the puzzle.

Anyway we used the rest of the day to walk around and look around in a lot of shops.  Too bad for me, everything was super expensive and the exchange rate from dollars to yen is no good.  Either way, it was fun to have had the opportunity to hang out with my friends and to window shop.  Plus, whenever you go to Tokyo it always feels like you step into a different universe.  The place is always crowded with tons of interesting people like the one mentioned above.  Regardless, today was an adventure-filled day and I had a lot of fun playing tourist in the capital of Japan!


Busy street of Harajuku

 Page 2 of 2 « 1  2