Disney, Climbing, and Whatnot

Went to a Disney on Ice show with the family in Yokohama today which was rather fun. We had insanely good seats — 3 rows from the front, but ironically it was a bit hard to see because there wasn’t any slope there so you were looking at the back of everyone’s heads. The first row to the side of us was empty though for some reason, so the kids moved up there. I think they enjoyed it. And I enjoyed it mainly because they had beer (go Japan!)

I’ve been climbing with *gasp* other people the last few weeks which has been a bit different. I have always been the loner type but I’ve realized the benefits of going with other people. You get good advice, get to watch how other people do things, and you learn a lot. It’s probably a lot of the reason that my progress has always been so slow up to now to be honest. But yeah, what can you do.

As an example, I had this 4-kyu I was working on and was never able to reach the last hold. There was only one good foot hold available and I just didn’t have the strength to pull myself up to it with my arms. And I found the trick by watching someone else and it was horribly simple: if you’re lacking a good foot hold just make one (i.e., smear). And it’s so stupid but this is somewhat of a revelation to me because I can see like one million other scenarios I have been having the same problem with. I was just stuck in this mindset that it was a strength problem (i.e., not being able to pull myself up on one leg when the foothold is too high) but it’s easily solvable with very simple technique.

Anyhow, I went top rope climbing a couple weeks back and am going to go again with a friend on Monday. My main objective is just to not forget how to do it but I also want to try some harder routes this go. Maybe around 5.9 or 5.10 to start with? Would also like to try out the slightly over-hanged wall they have. I fell for the first time about two weeks which was actually a good thing cause I need to get used to doing so. I still am rather hesitant to make big-ish moves when I get far up. Just not used to it yet so I get a bit nervous about pushing things too hard.

Bouldering @ Miyashita Park

Went bouldering at Miyashita Park in Shibuya today:

The wall they have is outdoors, which is rather cool, and they also have a big lead wall as well if you have the certification to do it. It’s nice because A) it’s really cheap and B) they only let so many people in at a time — so it’s great for going with kids cause they won’t bother too many other people.

Here is the wifey:

And our friend Mami:

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The only real downside was the wait — they had a pretty horrible waiting list. I think next time we should just put our name down in the morning, get lunch, and then come back later. It was a lot of fun though. I do want to go back. I just need to twist someone’s arm and get them to do the rope wall with me.

Yet Another Bouldering Post

I climbed my 4th 4-kyu/6a/V3 today and on about my 3rd time attempting it (which is dramatically faster than what it has typically taken me to send that level):

It wasn’t all that bad but the holds were all rather small and pinchy. It wrecked havoc on my fingers but not really my arms — and reaching the last hold is a bit tricky. I also made a lot of progress on another 4-kyu/6a/V3 that I have been working on after getting some beta from another climber. I was kind of stuck on this one hold were I have to replace my hand with my foot, and I learned I could heel hook it instead (by watching the other guy do something somewhat similar).

I also realized something else: I’m really not going to get much better than I currently am climbing once a week. I really felt it this evening as it was my second session in three days, and I was climbing way better than I normally do. I was on the wall for about three hours straight as well. Problem is that it would be realistically hard for me to do more than one session a week with my current schedule. Oh well, that’s what happens when you get old I guess.

Father’s Day

I went climbing down in Shibuya with my son on father’s day while the ladies stayed home and made cookies. Here is Ren rocking the cave:

I managed to climb this 6-kyu which was rather fun:

The holds are nice and positive but it’s pretty rough on the steep negative incline. The last hold is also a bit tough to reach as your legs are all under the wall at that point. Or at least mine are. Because I suck.

Chicken Pot Pie

The wifey’s dad came up to see us a few weekends back and we all teamed up to make homemade chicken pot pies. I searched around the internet and compiled together a recipe based on stuff we had in the kitchen (using some frozen pie sheets we had just sitting there in the freezer). Oh my god — it was so good. They were a bit of a pain to make but soooo yummy.

Baked Pasta

Our family had been eating out pretty much constantly for the last two days so tonight we promised ourselves we would make something at the house. I had no good ideas so I tried something new — essentially just cramming a bunch of mess together.

We made two types of baked pasta: one being with a tomato sauce and herbs:

And the other being a gratin:

They both came out well though!

Note both were packed with chicken and vegetables and the penne was whole wheat — which was a bit new.

Yet More Climbing

I had a pretty fun climbing session last week; mainly because I wasn’t expecting too much out of it but I ended up doing quite a lot. That’s the secret to happiness though I think: low expectations.

Anyhow, I managed to repeat the 4-kyu/6a/V3 I did last week and one I have been doing for some time now. The very first V3 I did has now been taken down (but it doesn’t hurt my feelings too much).

I started looking around for a 3-kyu/6b/V4 to start working on but there really isn’t too many to choose from. I was trying to get one on rather flat wall without being hands/feet restricted but I could only find one or two that came close to that, and both of those were hard as hell. There was one hands/feet restricted one downstairs that may have potential but it took me a good two or three tries just to get the first hold. I have a feeling it is going to be a really uphill battle.

Oh, and I managed to pull off that steep 5-kyu I was trying last week but it was brute force: had to half jump from the last foot hold and was dangling on for dear life with one hand to do it.

So after all that, I made my way upstairs and played around on some of the “easier” problems on the 3rd floor. I was mainly climbing a bunch of 6 and 7-kyu’s but even those were sometimes a bit challenging as they are all hands/feed restricted (which I’m really not that good at), and my arms were already totally shot.

There were lots of fun routes to climb though and I ended up enjoying myself way past the point I should have. I even found a really cool (and insanely steep) 5-kyu/5b/V2 that I want to start working on. I’ll have to give it a few runs next time when I still have some arm strength remaining.