Archive for April, 2011

Keep Worlds in Tokyo!

21 Apr shonakamori 2 Comments »

The recent earthquake and tsunami that wrecked northern Japan about six weeks ago is taking effect in the gymnastics world as well.  It’s been planned for a while that Tokyo is supposed to host the World Championships this year, but with all that’s happened, the FIG (the governing body of gymnastics) is considering moving it to another site. Personally, I’d hate to see this happen.  Especially since I’ve been working hard with the hopes of competing in Japan again.  The last time I competed there was in 2009 at the Japan Cup, which was the same meet that I injured myself at.  This is one of the reasons why I wish that they allow Tokyo to host the meet. I would love to have another shot at showing a good performance in Japan.

Not to mention that all of my relatives and a bunch of my friends are out in Japan!  It’d be awesome to be able to compete in front of them again!

Japan - World Championship Logo

As for the general people in Japan, this will be a good opportunity to boost their morale after going through such a devastating incident.  To get people from all over the world for the World Championships in one place and at one time will definitely be a great thing for the Japanese people.

A good friend of mine, Aki, did some translation work in a recent article on IG regarding this situation (good work Aki!). Check it out here.  I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll keep Worlds in Tokyo!

Check out the promo video for Worlds below:

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(I’m slightly confused by the lady standing in the field during the middle of the montage…)

My Visit to the Sakura Matsuri

18 Apr shonakamori No Comments »

It’s mid-April, the weather’s warming up, and the flowers are blooming. So, what does this mean? It’s cherry blossom viewing time! In Japan, this is the time of the year when families and company groups will go out to the park for picnics under big cherry trees.  Unfortunately we don’t have this custom in the US.  But what we do have is the annual Cherry Blossom Festival (Sakura Matsuri) at San Francisco Japan town.  Given that I had nothing going on this weekend, I decided to go check it out.  See pics below:

One booth was selling dolls and characters made out of felt. I don't think that this was on sale but this picture is of a human-sized Tottoro!

Cosplay people in the parade - I definitely saw multiple pikachus and final fantasy characters.

A guy on a huge mikoshi (float). Sorry for the two guys wearing the g-string. It's tradition in Japan for guys to be wearing this type of outfit at a festival. Over twenty people were carrying the float. I can only imagine how heavy it was with the two guys and the sake barrels on the float!

With tons of food booths and cultural performances, it turned out to be a fun day.  It was very fitting to have such an event at this time, and for the people come and show support for Japan with what happened to the country in the recent earthquake and tsunami devastation.

Staying Healthy is Half the Battle…

15 Apr shonakamori No Comments »

As they always say, staying healthy is just as important as training hard. I’ve known many talented athletes that had to retire or couldn’t compete to their full potential because of injuries.  It’s tough but that’s the way it goes…

You can’t predict when injuries happen either.  But there are things you could do to prevent or keep that injuries that you have in check.  Staying on top of the condition of your body and working with physical therapists are vital to performing at the highest level.  While I was a college student, this wasn’t such a big deal.  I had full access to the physical therapist and doctors whenever I wanted (yes, NCAA athletes are spoiled in that sense). Now that I’m out of college and I’m on my own, the situation is a bit different.

However, I recently reconnected with an old friend of mine that used to work at Stanford as a PT (physical therapist) while I was a student there.  The PT, who’s name is Jacon, opened up his own clinic called ESPT a few years ago.  He’s been treating a ton of very successful athletes since he opened his doors.  He’s got a ton of experience under his belt and understands the needs of the athletes that take part in various sports.  Luckily my knee is feeling great (it’s been about a year and a half since surgery) but I know I’ll need his help with my regular aches and pains.  I’m very fortunate to have Jacon on my side as I continue about this journey of mine!

My PT, Jacon Chun!

For all of you in the Bay Area needing some help in physical therapy, Jacon is the man to go to!  Check out his site here!

Elite Sport Therapy in Fremont, CA!

Regional Championships Concludes

13 Apr shonakamori 2 Comments »

Just finished judging the Region 1 Championships over the weekend, and I’ve gotta say that that was by far the longest weekend of judging for me.  It was definitely tough to be focused on every single deduction on 800+ routines, but it was well worth it.  Not only was it fun seeing some great routines (especially the optionals session) but it was nice seeing the kids continuing to work hard and getting better!  I’ve been judging for about 7 years now and it’s been fun seeing the kids improve over the years (especially the ones from out of state since I generally only judge in Northern California).  Just seeing that made everything worth it!  Plus, as I always say, I want to do my part to give back to the gymnastics community, and this is the least I can do.  With regionals over, I won’t be judging again until next season (unfortunately I won’t be at JO Nationals).  That said, I wish all of the athletes luck in their summer training!

Wanted to give a quick shout out to the parents of these gymnasts.  Each one should give themselves a pat on the back!  It’s not easy to take time off of work and travel long and far to bring their kids to these meets.  Behind every athlete is a ton of support from family, coaches and friends.  Can’t forget about the coaches either.  Some of them were there for every single session starting from Thursday – Sunday.  I understand that their job is to be there for the athletes but I wanted to point it out that it’s definitely a lot of work keeping the athletes safe.  Big thanks to the coaches!

Go Go Godzilla!!!

06 Apr shonakamori No Comments »

With the weather last week oddly hot, I thought that we had passed over spring and went straight to summer.  Despite feeling drained from the quick change in weather, I had some great workouts in the gym.  Luckily the weather cooled a bit over the weekend, and to cap off the week, I went to an A’s game during their opening weekend with my friend, Aki, and my mom.

With Ichiro from the Mariners playing Matsui from Oakland, the coliseum was packed with Japanese people, not to mention that it was also Japanese heritage day.  To be honest it was a weird feeling.  With so many Japanese people there that day, I literally thought that I was back in Japan!  Having a Japanese heritage day during this time was definitely very fitting though with the recent tsunami and earthquake disaster in Japan.  It was a great opportunity for the Japanese community to rally together and raise some funds for the victims that are suffering out there.

As for the game, it was great because we were able to witness the first hit for Matsui wearing an A’s jersey and also his 2,500th of his professional career.  With Matsui now on the A’s, and Ichiro on the Mariners, I had a difficult time rooting for one team over the other.  In the end, the A’s ended up winning, which I thought was a good thing given that they lost their two previous games against the Mariners.  I’m also glad they won because there was a lot of attention on Matsui that day since they were giving out free “Matsui T-Shirts.”

On the jumbotron after being interviewed!

Oakland Coliseum packed with Japanese people!

Matsui on First Base!

Ichiro protecting RF!

I totally felt recharged after watching such an exciting game.  I’ll definitely need it though because this weekend will be a long one.  I’m judging the Region 1 Championships for the boys.  I’m definitely looking forward to this though.  There should be some good quality gymnastics and it should be a fun one!