Archive for the Off Hours Category

Back in Business with the PT

Finally turned in my paperwork necessary to finish school at Stanford.  I won’t be officially done until I receive my diploma though (In June I think?).  Either way, it’s nice to know that I no longer have to worry about classes!

Yesterday, I met up and sat down to discuss my plans for my knee recovery with my physical therapist at Stanford.  It’s been over 3 months since I last worked with her so I’m definitely glad to be back with her.  She’s absolutely awesome and I’m excited about continuing to get this knee better.

I’m also finally accustomed to the time difference so I’m feeling much better in practices.  This is a really busy week for me though.  The biggest thing is that I’ll be helping coach and judge at the Stanford Open this week.  Can’t believe the meet is in its 18th year!  A lot of work has been put in to make sure that we could host all 650 participants so it should be exciting!

D-Score, E-Score

Haven’t been able to slow down since I got back to the States.  I’ve been running around ever since but I’m starting to slowly settled down!  It’s too bad my jet lag hasn’t gotten much better.  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I haven’t had much time to rest.

Either way, gym has been going well.  I’m starting to get back into the rhythm of things and it’s been great working with my own coach again.  It’s an exciting time especially since my leg is getting much stronger.  Updates on my training will come soon.

Yesterday, I went and judged my first junior competition for this season.  It’s always a fun time seeing all the boys compete.  I’m very excited for next weekend though because it’s the Stanford Open weekend.  It’s one of the biggest meets on the west coast with over 600 kids coming to compete.  Also, as many of you may already know, there’s a collegiate competition as well, and I’m scheduled to judge it.  It’ll be my first time judging a college meet so I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Well, it’s finally Sunday but I have ton of stuff on my plate.  I’ll have to take care of things one by one, but the good thing is that my body will get a rest!

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

It’s been a couple of days since I returned to the US and I’ve been running around ever since.  I thought that once I finished school in Japan, it would be smooth sailing, but boy I was wrong.  I’ve been doing a lot to get settled down, and get adjusted to my life in the US again.  I do miss my life and my friends in Japan but I often forget about it because of how busy I am.  I’ll at least get to see a couple of them and my coach, Mutsumi, when the under-21 team comes to compete in California in February.

Jet lag has been tough to overcome.  Plus, I think I was tired from the last few days in Japan with preparing to leave for the US.  Training has been going well though.  Getting used to using American equipment (AAI) again is taking some time.  After 3 months of using Senoh (Japanese equipment), AAI feels so different now.  I should be back into the swing of things in a couple of days though!

Thank You Japan!

It’s been a really long time since I’ve been this busy.  Last week, I took my last finals at Juntendo University.  Not only did this mean that I finished my studies in Japan, but it also meant that I finally finished my studies at Stanford!  All that I have to do now is transfer the units I took in Japan back to the US, get everything processed, and I’ll finally be able to get my degrees.  It was a long road (5 long years) but I’m relieved to finally be done!  No more studying…at least for a while!

While I was incredibly excited, there was definitely a lot of sadness in all of this.  Being done with school in Japan also meant that my time at Juntendo was finished.  It’s hard to believe how quickly the 3 months went, and it almost feels like yesterday that I arrived here from the US.  3 months is far too short because as soon as I started to feel comfortable living here, it’s now time to leave.  Looking back though, I feel like I was such a lucky guy to have met so many great people in and outside of the gym.  In particular, I’ve also gotten so close to my teammates here that I can now call them my “family.”  I know I’ll miss them all when I go back to the US.  I’ll never forget the times I spent training with them and hanging out outside of the gym.  Thanks for making my time at Juntendo so special!

My family at Juntendo!

Coming here was definitely one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.  And thinking now, the timing of coming here was almost too perfect because I not only got to train with them but I had the chance watch and learn when my exercise-level was limited.  Plus, I just hit the 6-month mark the other day after repairing my knee, so it means that I can pretty much start real training.  Perfect timing considering I’m going back to the US and back to my coach.

Thank you to everyone who supported me during my time here!  It was short but I got to experience so much.  Now it’s time to get back to business.  It’s back to the US, and being that I’m finally done with school, I’m giving all that I’ve got to my training.  It’s GO time!

Stanford Open 2010!

Can’t believe how busy I’ve been the last several days.  I’ve been swamped with final exams and papers.  However, the good thing is that I’m close to being done. I’ll be so relieved when all of this is over!

Anyway, I learned a little while ago that they’re using me as the logo for the Stanford Open this year.  This meet started over 15 years ago when I was on the junior team at Stanford.  Back then there were only seven or eight families (including mine) that supported the meet.  Today, it’s the biggest gymnastics meet on the west coast. That being said, it’s awesome that they’re using me for the logo!

Stanford Open 2010!

For more information about the meet, click here: Stanford Open

Beautiful Gymnastics

It’s been several days since we started training again after being home for New Years.  Looking around the gym, it seems as though everyone took advantage of their break because they look fresh and motivated during practices.  Since these guys don’t have to compete for several more months, they’re able to work on skills rather than routines.  Believe it or not, these guys aren’t doing anything special or out of the ordinary (this update is for you Rick!).  I don’t mean this in a bad way.  They do the same skills that all other athletes do in other countries, but they do it well.  Their motto is to do “beautiful gymnastics,” which I personally think is really important given that the emphasis of this new code of points has been to add more and more difficult skills.  I mean, look at Hiroyuki Tomita and Kohei Uchimura for example.  Anyway, while the new code was supposed to emphasize originality, it’s sad to see that most of the top level gymnasts are doing the same skills because there aren’t that many variations of high valued skills.  Either way, it’s great to see that the Japanese guys are really focused on their style and how they look while they perform.

As far as life outside of the gym, things are busy given that it’s almost time for final exams.  I personally have two finals that I need to study for.  It’s exciting to know that as soon as I finish my exams and get these units transfered over to the States, I’ll finally be done with my two degrees from Stanford!  It’s an exciting time but also a little sad.  In less than a week and a half, I’ll have to leave this place that I have gotten so attached to.  I’ve also become good friends with not only the gymnasts here but with a lot of other people as well.  It’s sad but I knew from the beginning that my time in Japan was only for a short period.  It’s a good thing that I have family in Japan though as I come here every now and then to visit.  And who knows, I may just come back here to work when I’m done with my gymnastics career!

Where'd the Time Go?

After taking several days off of gym, it’s back to formal training with everyone on the team at Juntendo.  It’ll be the first training of the new year and I’m sure everyone will be back feeling refreshed and ready to go.

I’m excited about being able to train with the guys again, but feeling some sadness at the same time because I only have two more weeks left in Japan.  Time has flown by so fast!  It would be great to have more time here but I need to get back to my real coach in the US and back to business.  I’m nearing my 6-month mark after my surgery so I’ll be able to start full-on training in a bit.

Ready to make the best of the next two weeks left in Japan!

Happy Year of the Tiger!

Happy Year of the Tiger

Happy New Year!!!

The last couple days have been pretty eventful.

First of all, after having our last training day before being released for winter break, I went straight to Shizuoka to my father’s side of the family.  Shizuoka is a couple prefectures to the west of where I’m currently living and it takes about an hour or so by the bullet train from Tokyo.  Speaking of which, for those of you who have never seen or ridden the bullet train, it’s pretty ridiculous how fast these things can go.  If you’re standing at the waiting area of the station, a 20 car bullet train will literally zoom past you in like 2 seconds.

The Big Bad Bullet Train Approaching!

Anyway, it was great to be able to catch up with my family and to see that everyone was well and in good health.  One of the main reasons why we went though was to pay respect to my father who passed away 6 years ago.  There is a ritual that is done every several years or so in order to make sure that the spirit is doing well in the afterlife, so we went through that ceremony during my time there.  I can’t believe how long it’s been since my dad passed away because of how busy I’ve been.  Either way, I’ve sure been lucky to have all the support to help me along the way!

On the way back from Shizuoka, I saw one of the coolest views ever.  It was of Mount Fuji, the highest point in Japan. I’ve never seen it that clear in my life!  With all the snow covered on top, it was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen!

The Famous Mount Fuji!

Aside from all this, I’ve been able to visit my friends in Tokyo, which has been really fun.  However, it’s been several days since we were released for winter break and I’m starting to get antsy.  That said, I’ve been running around the neighborhood and climbing up and down steps to do some exercises for my knee.  The good news is it’s feeling really strong!  I’m hoping to keep this up so that I’m completely good to go when I return home to the US in a few more weeks.  I know I say this a lot but I can’t believe how fast time has flown in Japan, but I’m so glad that I was given this opportunity to come here.

It’s New Years Eve in Japan and I’m reflecting on all the things that have happened over this past year.  There have been some downs but definitely some big ups!  I think the toughest thing was going through such a big injury but it was because of this injury that I’ve been able to meet a lot of great people.  This injury has also given me the opportunity to watch and observe other athletes, and to train my mental-side.  I’ve also been able to focus on my upper-body training because of this.  The highlight of this year though was definitely winning the collegiate national championships with my team in April.  I’m no longer part of the collegiate team at Stanford but I hope this upcoming season will be a good one.

After we got it done!

To everyone else, I hope 2010 brings lots of good things.  Happy New Year from Japan!

Winter Cleaning

Yesterday was our final day in the gym before we were released for our short break for New Year’s.  However, instead of training, we did something else.  We cleaneded the gym!  We literally dusted, vacuumed, and washed every part/equipment in the gym.  Cleaning the gym (or your own house) at the end of the year is customary in Japan.  We do this with the idea of starting the new year from a fresh slate and to make sure that we feel refreshed when the new year rolls around.  There is also a big appreciation aspect involved in this whole process.  In other words. we treat the gym as if it was alive and we take the time to appreciate it by giving it a good clean for letting us have the opportunity to train throughout the year.  That being said, we literally took down every single equipment in the gym, cleaned it by hand, and placed them back in its original position.   

This is something that we don’t do enough in the States.  Often times we take things for granted so I think that having the time to show respect and appreciation for the training environment is incredibly important.  I’m learning a lot of great things in Japan and I’m so glad that  I was given this opportunity to come and train here. 

Anyway, the cleaning process took several hours, but in the end, the gym looked as if it were brand new.  However, the best thing about the whole thing was that everyone was released for the short one-week break after it was all done.  I’m sure everyone is excited to be home and that they’ll all come back after the break feeling refreshed and ready to work hard!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

24 Dec Sho 1 Comment »

Christmas in Japan is very lively, although it seems like it’s been going on forever.  Christmas lights in Omotesando, near Harajuku station brightened up the streets for the first time in 11 years (don’t know why they stopped).  There are 630,000 LED lights.  Pretty cool!

Illumination in Omotesando.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!