Archive for February, 2011

See Ya Soon Japanese Friends!

23 Feb shonakamori 2 Comments »

Although I was quite busy, being able to train and hang out with the Japanese guys over the last ten days was really fun.   I’m also glad that the younger guys on the Stanford team were able to train with them.  I’m sure that being able to observe a different type of training style was very educational for the guys.

By now, they’re probably already back in Japan or at least almost there.  Seemed like the last 10 days flew right by.  When I asked the athletes how they felt about going back to Japan, most of them told me that they wanted to stay in America.  If you’d ask me, I’d like to be in Japan.  The food is good and it’s just a fun place to be.  I guess the grass is always greener on the other side :)

Surprise birthday celebration for Hiroshi!

Since the competition ended on Saturday, the Japanese team were able to spend a couple of days to sightsee and hang out.  On Monday night we had a surprise birthday party for one of the guys on the team, and on Tuesday, we had a farewell dinner.  I’ll definitely miss them and their coaches but I hope to see them in the near future at some international competitions. Hope the athletes will continue to train hard as I’ll be doing the same!

Good Work Japan!

21 Feb shonakamori No Comments »

The Stanford Open never disappoints and is always one of the most exciting meets in the country, especially since the competition involves a good mixture of some of the top collegiate teams and junior gymnasts in the US. However, with the under-21 Japanese National Team with us this year, the competition was a lot more exciting than usual.  There were a lot of mistakes from all teams, but in the end, the Japanese team came out on top.  A huge congratulations to them!

The U-21 Japanese Team, Me, and Josh

Following the meet they told me that the atmosphere in the gym during the competition threw them slightly off their game.  It’s totally understandable since Japanese meets are oddly quiet, almost to the point where you can hear a pin drop.  I’ve experienced competing in Japan myself, and I’ve realized that I’m actually more comfortable in a loud and rowdy environment.

Anyway the Stanford team and the Japanese team got together after the meet for a little get together/party.  We’ve done this with them the past two years, and as always, we all had a blast.

The Japanese team will be in the area for a few more days before they have to head back to Japan again.  They went over to San Francisco for a little touring yesterday and went to Sacramento (State Capitol) today.  I’ve been enjoying this past week and being able to spend some time with my Japanese brothers.  It’s too bad that it was rainy the entire week so they couldn’t enjoy the nice California sun.  It  looks like the weather will be pretty clear for the next few days though.

On a slightly different note, I just got the results back from the Level-1 (the highest level) of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) that I took a couple of months ago.  To my surprise, I had passed.  The result was a huge surprise given that I barely had the time to study.   I went in not knowing what to expect but luckily it seems like I did ok.  Definitely glad I did because I can now donate my study materials that’s been collecting dust in the corner of the room!


The Japanese Team Comes to Town

18 Feb shonakamori No Comments »

With the under-21 Japanese national team coming to train with us, the last several days have been fun and exciting.  They’ve been training at Stanford all this week as they prepare to compete at the annual Stanford Open this weekend.

As always it’s great seeing old faces.  Some of the guys I know from competing internationally and others from when I went abroad to  study in Japan last winter.  Not to mention all of the coaches that are with them were at one point, my own coaches.

Japanese U-21 Team!

Looks like they had some minor issues adjusting to the time change and American equipments, but they seem to be all settled now.  Stanford Open should be an exciting competition as some of the best collegiate teams in the US will battle it out against the Collegiate All-Stars from Japan!

On an unrelated note (or maybe it’s related…), one of the guys on the Japanese team got an infection in his wrist and I ended up having to take him to the emergency room.  Luckily after having some IVs put into him, he should be ok. I’m glad that I was able to help out as an interpreter as there was a bit of a language barrier between the hospital and the Japanese delegation.  Unfortunately, looks like he won’t be able to compete, but  on the bright side, he’ll be able to share some of his American hospital experiences with his friends once he goes back to Japan!

Poor dude in the hospital.

Bad News Bears

11 Feb shonakamori No Comments »

I’m bummed to hear that Cal Men’s Gymnastics has officially been cut and that this will be their final season.  For the last couple of months people have been pulling together with the hopes of having the five sports that were initially cut to be reinstated.  Today, the final decision was made. The university decided to bring back three of the five sports. Baseball and Men’s Gymnastics were left in the dust.

Honestly, it’s a terrible day for men’s gymnastics in this country.  Not only will the current gymnasts need to decide what to do if they want to continue with the sport, but the up and comers will have one less option when deciding which college to attend if they plan on pursuing gymnastics through college. It’s also sad to know that UC Berkeley is one of the best universities in this country.

Lastly, I thought the whole reinstatement thing was an all or nothing deal.  If they were going to reinstate, they were going to bring all teams back.  Total bummer…

One Day at a Time

09 Feb shonakamori 2 Comments »

Another competition down and it’s back to the grind once again.  Although my main focus for the Winter Cup was just to compete and test the waters again, there was definitely a thought in the back of my mind of wanting to get myself back onto the national team.  Naturally I was disappointed when I realized that I did not, but at the same time, I felt that I made some huge strides after comparing this year’s Winter Cup to USAs last August.  For one, I felt much more comfortable competing.  On the flip side, I felt very out of tune at USAs, largely due to being out of competition for a year because of the surgery I had to repair my knee.  On the physical side, I felt I handled the two days of competition much better. The knee didn’t bother me nearly as much during meet, and I’m happy that it still feels pretty good even after the adrenaline has worn off.  That said, I guess I could say that I’m making some improvements both mentally and physically.

In all, Winter Cup was a good learning experience.  It was just another hurdle that I needed to cross over on my road to comeback.  I’m now back in the gym as usual.  There are some skills on the back-burner that I didn’t use at Winter Cup so I’ll be working on those, along with cleaning up the skills that I currently have.  Definitely looking forward to competing again in the summer.  But as they say, I’m making the most out of each practice and taking it one day at a time!

Off to Vegas!

02 Feb shonakamori 2 Comments »

It’s hard to believe it’s finally competition week.  The last I competed was at USA Championships six months ago and I have to say that I feel better, both physically and mentally, for this competition.  I’ll admit that I feel that I’m still on the mend and climbing back after my knee injury but this competition will be another great opportunity to test the waters again.

Anyway, the first day of competition is Thursday.  I’ve trained hard and prepared well so honestly there’s nothing else I can do at this point than to go out and compete.  I’m grateful to be back on the competition floor!