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All Rested Up

27 Dec shonakamori 2 Comments »

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas!  I spent the day just relaxing and hanging out with my mother.  I can’t remember the last time I had the opportunity to sit around, watch movies, and read for enjoyment. I know my body and mind needed this rest for sure.

Funny thing though is when I went back to training today, my body felt slower rather than feeling refreshed.  I’m thinking that my body wasn’t ready for the couple of days of rest and was shocked that at the unusual relaxation.  I should start a journal on how I feel after certain events to get more in tune with my body.  I did some basics today and got my blood moving so I’m assuming I should be good to go by tomorrow!

By the way, took some pictures of Christmas lights over the weekend in Berkeley.  Credit goes to my mother.  Enjoy.

Merry Xmas!

24 Dec shonakamori No Comments »

Wow!  I can’t believe Christmas is here already.  Time flies when you’re having fun huh (or they fly when you’re busy)?  Honestly, I haven’t had the opportunity to relax and truly experience the holidays this year.  I think the difference between this year and all of the other years is that I’ve started working.  I wonder if I’m actually becoming a responsible adult??? When I was still a student, as soon as winter break hit, I was able to turn my brain off, focus on training, and enjoy the holiday festivities.

However, I’m glad to say that I am done with my work for the rest of the year.  Now I can just focus on training and resting when I’m not in the gym.  Pretty nice for a change! Definitely looking forward to paying back the sleep debt I’ve built up during the last couple of weeks as well.

Speaking of Christmas and the holidays, I remember that exactly one year ago, I was still in Japan finishing up school.  Spending Christmas in Japan was quite a different experience (a bit odd for me also, given that I grew up in the US).  A few things that I observed and saw interesting was that the Japanese see Christmas as a couples’ holiday. Couples go on dates and go eat at a fancy restaurants, and all of this is usually done on Christmas eve.  No family Christmas time in the land of the rising sun.  They also have a tradition of selling specially decorated Christmas cakes.  I did my research and read somewhere that this was a strategy started by cake stores to boost their businesses.  Pretty similar to the tradition of Valentines I suppose.  Finally, the thing that irked me was they started decorating for Christmas as soon as Halloween ended.  In the states, Christmas comes after Thanksgivings.  However, since they don’t celebrate Thanksgivings there, decorations were up for a two whole months.  I’m not saying that I don’t like Christmas.  In fact, I’m all about the spirit of giving and spending time with families, but by the time Christmas actually rolled around, the actual holiday didn’t seem all that special because it seemed to have lasted too long.

Well, enough about Christmas in Japan.  This year, I’ll be spending time with my family and resting for a couple of days to recharge my batteries.  I’m hoping to feel refreshed when I get back in the gym next week and to close the rest of the year strong with great practices!

Happy Holidays everyone!


19 Dec shonakamori No Comments »

Swamped! – That’s all I can say about how I’ve been feeling lately.  With such a short month with the holidays, I’ve been working a little more than usual (in the office) to hit my quota.  Honestly, aside from the cold weather, it really hasn’t sunk in that it’s December and that Christmas is coming up.  Yup, that’s how hectic things have been!  But let me say that despite how busy I’ve been, I’m also very grateful to be in this situation and to actually have a job, especially in this economy.

On the flip side, gym and training has been going really well.  I’ve come to realize that the more things I have going on outside of gym, the better my training becomes…to a certain extent of course.  Obviously if I’m too stressed, it butts into my training, but generally training helps me get rid of my stress from my daily life.  I suppose it’s the same feeling runners feel when they go out running.  Whatever it is, I hope that I can keep this up as I prepare for my next competition in February and that January becomes a little less busy with my outside work.

Either way, it’s nothing I can’t handle. It’s definitely not nearly as bad as things were during my college days.  When I think back, I don’t know how I wrote all those papers, read all those books, and trained all at the same time.  If college didn’t make me smarter, it definitely taught me how to get my work done.

To all the people that are busy running around this month, whether it’s for shopping or work, please stay safe and I hope you all have a great holiday season.

Bring on December!

30 Nov shonakamori No Comments »

Well, it’s a new week and a new start!  Luckily my body is finally recovered from whatever I had that kept me hibernating in bed for a week.  That said, I’m back into the swing of things (literally) in the gym.

It definitely feels great to be back and I realized once again how easy it is to take good health for granted.  Without a healthy and functioning body, it’s impossible to keep up as a competitive athlete or anything for that matter.

December is right around the corner and I just know it’s going to be a busy month for me.  I get to kick it off with taking the JLPT this weekend (woohoo, not…) The JLPT stands for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and it’s administered every year, all around the world.  There are five levels; ranging from beginner to advanced.  I’m gonna go ahead and take the hardest one.  Passing it would mean that my Japanese is at the same level as a normal adult that grew up in Japan.  I feel fairly confident but the only issue is I’ve literally had zero time to study.  Hate to make excuses but the one-two combo of work and training has kept me super busy.  The good thing is I can take the test as many time as I want, so I’m hoping to use this opportunity as a trial run.  If I pass, then that’s a great thing!

Funny thing is, I always thought that my crazy schedule was going to slow down once I graduated from college.  Having been out of school for a couple years and experiencing “real life” has made me realize that my assumption was way off.  I still train just as much as I used to, and while I don’t have to worry about school anymore, I still have to make sure that I hit my deadlines with my regular work.  Also, the upside to school was that I never had to worry about food.  The cafeteria took care of everything.  Nowadays, I periodically catch myself thinking about what to make for dinner during training.  It’s tough stuff but all the while, I’m enjoying the process and lucky to be in this situation where I can still work towards my dream.

December will be busy, but I’m ready.  Bring it on!

Thanksgiving Post

25 Nov shonakamori No Comments »

Hey all. I have to apologize to the people that periodically checks my website because it’s been waaaay too long since my last post! I hate to condense everything into one post, but luckily it hasn’t been all that eventful so you guys haven’t missed much (I’ll explain why).

It’s been a tough couple of weeks to say the least.  First off, I came down with a cold, and when I thought that I had fought it off, I caught another one that was even worse than the first one.  The second time around, I stayed in bed for several days and was basically a living zombie.  No fever but mostly upper respiratory problems.  As soon as I was put on antibiotics my condition began to improve quickly, but after taking some time off from gym, I could tell that my stamina was way off.   It’s definitely the time of the year though when everyone is getting sick.  The temp is dropping in California and in some spots it’s hitting record lows.  Actually learned that placing objects to cover the space underneath doors to prevent drafts makes a dramatic difference in the temperature of your room.  Whatever you do, stay warm everyone!

As far as gym goes, I’ve been working to get back into the rhythm of things.  We were supposed to get into working routines last week but the fact that I got sick threw my schedule off.  What can you do though.  Sometimes there are things you just can’t control and you just have to learn to deal with things.  Looking forward to being good to go and having great practices by next week.

Similarly, my cold had some effect on my work outside of the gym.  I’ve been pretty much playing catch-up the last couple of days because of the days I missed.  The plan is to get all caught up by this weekend so I’m on top of my work by the beginning of next week.

I know it seems like the last couple of weeks have been pretty bad for me, but honestly it hasn’t.  The good part is I had the opportunity to go to the Big Game last weekend.  The Big Game is the annual football game between Cal and Stanford and it’s a fun game to attend given the intense rivalry between these two schools.  What made this game more eventful for me was that my ticket turned out to be in the Cal section (a good friend of mine that works for Cal gave me tickets).  It wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t decked out in my Stanford gear, but the “Block S” on my jacket was like a blinding emblem to those Cal fans and they were quick to throw a comment or two.  The fans gave me a hard time but it wasn’t personal.  Luckily they didn’t have much to say when the game ended when Stanford football ended up dominating Cal.

Big Game!

Final Score - Yikes!

Well, it’s Thanksgivings and I hope everyone is enjoying their time with family and friends.

I’d like to end this post by saying thanks to my friends and family for their support.  My coaches for guiding me in the right direction with my athletic endeavors. Doctors for keeping me healthy enough to pursue this dream.  And all the soldiers out there for protecting this country, and allowing us to sleep soundly at night.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Making Progress

05 Nov shonakamori No Comments »

It’s been a pretty productive week in the gym.  Most of my attention has been placed on putting my routines together as we’re planning to compete early next year in February.  The meet is an important one as it’s a re-ranking meet for the US Senior National Team.

This training period can be challenging but fun and interesting all at the same time.  The most challenging part is getting strong enough to get through the entire set (i.e. building endurance).  Putting together routines can be difficult especially in this new open-ended code since we’re trying to pack 10 of our most difficult skills in each routine.  Strength comes from numbers though, so the daily grind should get me stronger and to that next level.  Doing high reps is also helpful because throught it all, it allows you to learn the rhythm of the routine.  For each routine, there are sections where you should breathe and catch your breath.  However, when you’re first starting to put together a new routine, these parts are difficult to figure out.  Instead, most gymnasts stay tense the entire time, which leads to fatigue.  It’s a slow process but seeing the daily progress is definitely fun!

Outside of the gym, I had the opportunity to attend the victory ceremony for the newly-elected governor of California, Jerry Brown.  It was my first time to attend such an event so it was a fun experience.  Check out the pictures below!

Fox Theater in Oakland: Venue for Jerry Brown's Victory Celebration

Sign at the theater

Blurry picture of Jerry Brown after his speech

Some Things to Celebrate About

01 Nov shonakamori 2 Comments »

Wow, what an exciting time for the people in the Bay Area.  The Giants just won game 5 to clinch the World Series title!  I bet the city is going nuts right about now with all the celebration.  Wish I could be there but unfortunately I have morning training tomorrow so I’m staying in.  I’ve gotta keep my eyes on the prize so I can create something to celebrate within my own athletic realm.  I’ m totally chillin out and sipping coke out of my Tim Lincecum cup though!

Sippin' coke out of my Lincecum Cup!

Another exciting thing about today was that it was my coach’s birthday!  He insisted that he turned 25, which would make him the same age as me.  Huge lie!  His age remains a mystery, however, he does look that young.  Lucky for him, he has good genes!  Anyway, happy birthday Jinjing!  Thanks for all that you do both in and out of the gym!

Happy Birthday Jinjing!

Sickness Go Away!

28 Oct shonakamori No Comments »

It’s been a rather rough few days for me as I caught a cold over the weekend.  It must be that time of the year because pretty much everyone around me is getting sick as well. I guess we can thank the sudden drop in weather.  After all, it still felt like the middle of summer only a couple of weeks ago.

One of the bad habits I have is I just can’t sit still even when I’m sick. I get too antsy about working out.  But as we all know, not resting when you need it most can backfire and set you back even more.  Thankfully I’m feeling a lot better after spending the last couple of days hibernating and recouping so I should be ready to get back in the gym again.

This is perfect timing as I’m pumped and motivated to workout after watching the world championships last week.  Watching my friends compete and do well added to the fuel and revamped my desire to get back on the world stage again.  Gotta remind myself to take it one step at a time though.  Like I just said, rushing can backfire.

Speaking of exciting things, I’ve also been glued to the TV watching the Giants play in the world series.  Being a Bay Area kid, I’ve always been a Giants fan so the last couple of weeks have been really exciting.  While it’s not gymnastics, seeing any athlete/team compete at the highest stage is awesome.  Hope the Giants take it all the way! :)

A Little R&R

17 Oct shonakamori No Comments »

After several weeks of up and down weather, I think fall has finally arrived in California.  I’m a pretty big fan of fall weather when it comes to training because it doesn’t wear me out as quickly when it’s cooler in the gym.  Then again, there’s also a downside.  When it’s cooler, I can definitely feel it in the joints and it definitely takes a while for me to warm-up.

Anyway, the last several weeks of training have been tough.  My coach and I have revamped my conditioning workout to increase strength but luckily he dropped the intensity the last half of the week gave me the chance to recover.  Judging from how my body felt, I think I really needed it.  I even went to go get a massage to get some kinks out.  The person I generally go see is an old Chinese man in San Francisco that works out of his garage.  He’s a rather small guy but his massages are intense.  It’s definitely not one of those easy-going, soft-tissue massages.  I’ll admit they’re rather painful but I can definitely feel a huge difference afterwards.  In this day in age with this sport, half the battle is keeping your body healthy enough to compete.

Now that I’ve had this opportunity to rest and recover, it’s time to hit the gym hard again.  Just gotta make sure I don’t catch a cold because it seems like that’s been going around!

The Grind

08 Oct shonakamori No Comments »

I’ve been a pretty boring person lately.  My days have been fairly mundane and not much stands out outside from my normal training and my part-time jobs.  However, they say that the daily grind is what gets you to the next step.  Having a consistent schedule has allowed me to make a ton of progress both in and out of the gym. A lot of this has to do with having the time to simply train and not worry about having to prepare for a competition.  I’m definitely using this time wisely in order to get stronger, but also backing off when necessary to avoid injuries (gotta remember my body is getting older!).

On an unrelated note, the gym community is still dealing with the shock of losing UC Berkeley’s gymnastics programs (both women and men).  Stickitmedia writes a great article about this situation.  I don’t know if there’s much that can be done now that the decision has been made but it looks like the five teams that were eliminated from Cal athletics is holding a rally tomorrow (Oct 9th) at 9:30 am at UC Berkeley’s baseball field.  They’re hoping that with enough support, they can overturn this decision.  I’m not sure if I can make it myself but for anyone that is in the area, I urge you to go and be a part of the rally.

Here’s an article with some information about the rally tomorrow.  Good luck to the Bears tomorrow!