Bouldering in the Cave

Took the kids climbing in Shibuya again on last Sunday and spent a little time playing around in the 2nd floor cave once they had pretty much exhausted themselves on the 3rd floor wall.

I really love the design of this room: it’s a fantastic use of restricted space and it’s cool how the big window looks out to the street. Anyhow, I still don’t have even half the strength necessary to climb it well but it is fun to play around on some of the easier problems and let the angle kick my ass a bit.

Boston

I had a long, hard day on Monday and walked into work today already feeling exhausted. We have big screen TVs around the floor constantly playing the news and I saw the explosions in Boston the minute after I sat down.

I remember on 911 I was sitting outside Harrelson Hall at NCSU, drinking a soda and waiting for my class to start when a classmate said “did you hear a plane hit the WTC?” I was thinking: “A biplane?” “An accident?” Soon after we were all huddled around a TV in one of the classrooms and watching in disbelief as debris, people, and then eventually the buildings themselves, fell to the ground.

For the next good week I was really in a state of shock. Just didn’t really know what to think or feel. I also remember worrying about how America (both its people and government) were going to react, and I think that worry was validated unfortunately in a lot of ways.

I find that this time around I feel a lot different: I find myself not caring so much who caused it, or even what their excuse for a reason was. I’m just sad. I think it feels a little more real too in some ways as I have visited that area of Boston before. I had taken a day trip there from RI some years back to buy my wife’s engagement ring.

Anyhow, I really feel a great sympathy for those affected, am of course deeply saddened, and hope the city (and country) can achieve a sense of normalcy again sooner than later. I guess there will always be those people that for whatever reason, misguidedly try to fill some personal void by tearing things down under whatever pretense is most convenient. I try to take a bit of solace in the fact that there are still far more people out there focusing on building things up.

These Days

Been playing drums:

Working:

Had a picnic in Yoyogi Park under the cherry blossoms:

Started working on a new problem at the gym today:

This one is a 5-kyu/5b/V2. All the holds are nice and positive although the second to last is a little weird: like an underhanded three-finger pocket. Not bad though. I got my left hand on the last hold tonight but just couldn’t pull myself up to grab it with my right. Don’t have the strength. The wall is a good bit steeper at the top then it looks from this picture. I’m kicking off the big white thing right now to grab it but I’m pretty sure there is a better way to go about it technique-wise. Still kind of irks me because if I had just a little more strength I should be able to pull it off the way I’m doing it.

Super 8

My lunchtime has been my study time for about ten years now. It began when I was studying for the JPLT way back in the day and I have just continued on with it out of habit. Lately (meaning for the last year), I have been studying for the JSDA exam. Not really getting anywhere with it though to be honest. It probably took me at least 2-3 months just to get used to the vocabulary (it’s in Japanese), and 30 minuets here and there just isn’t enough to get it in my head. I probably need to do a good few long study sessions but I just can’t make the time for it these days with everything else going on. And by everything else I’m basically talking about work.

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The wifey’s dad brought over an old super 8 reel he had from when he lived in Germany. The thing has to be what, at least 30 years old? It’s the first time I have even seen one.

Anyhow, I promised him I would try to figure out a way to view it. I found a little shop in Tokyo that specializes in old film digitization so I’m thinking I will bring it to them and try to get it converted into a DVD or something. Should be kind of interesting to see how it comes out.

The Moon Rock

They opened the new 3rd floor at B-pump:

And it looks downright awesome. Everyone has been calling it the “moon rock.”

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It’s insanely hard though — very few holds and all the problems are hands/feet restricted. It’s marked by hold color rather than tape like the rest of the gym, which is a bit different. They also tend to be graded a bit more harshly in my opinion.

BBQ

I spent quite literally the weekend on take two of my imitation eastern NC BBQ. Take one was here for reference.

Got three large blocks of insanely fatty pork to use this round:Marinated each block overnight:

The baked them so hard the next day they were almost falling apart on their own:

Then in the middle of Sunday night after they had finished baking, I pulled all the pork and flavored it (while yawning and regretting that I had started cooking so late):

Note this is the “kids” bowl of a not-so-spicy version. I filled a Pyrex bowl with the normal BBQ. From there I wrapped the bowl, put it in the fridge, and hit the sack. Got a email from the wifey around dinner time saying Oishii~! so I guess I passed. Tried some for my dinner tonight and yeah — it came out really, really good this time. I aimed for closer to a Smithfield’s flavor as opposed to Moore’s — mainly because I won’t ever be able to get that wood smoke flavor in the oven and I felt I could fake the previous better, which ended up being true I think.

Anything and Everything

Went shopping with the kids yesterday afternoon to pick up some stuff to make meatballs:

Stopped by the shrine on our way home:

First made the meatballs:

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Then the subs:

These subs actually have a bit of a story behind them. I was always a bit sad that the Subway in Japan didn’t sell meatball subs (which were my favorite) so back when I was jobless and had too much spare time on my hands, I decided to try to imitate them. But I couldn’t find any decent meatballs so I learned to make them myself too, and so on. They taste fantastic, but they take forever to make.

Other stuff that has been going on:

I ran in the Nissan Stadium Ekiden (relay race) last weekend:

The wifey went to the princess’ school parent day (I was at work unfortunately):

And today we went to the park and while the kids rode on their bicycles, I, for some ungodly reason, went skateboarding for the first time in almost 15 years:

It’s rather interesting though — I suppose it’s kind of like ridding a bike in a way. The first 15-20 minuets I could hardly keep my balance and after about an hour I was landing kick-flips again. Guess your body just kind of remembers it. The princess did awesome as well. It was her first time but after about 15 minuets she was skating by herself:

Ren had fun as well, but he mainly just got on his stomach and used it as a surfboard.

Dinosaurs

The princess has been learning about dinosaurs at school and after getting probably farther into it than any rational family should, we decided to take the kids to the National Museum of Nature and Science here in Tokyo to see some:

I’m actually rather surprised I’ve never managed to go in my 10+ years of living in Tokyo. It’s a fantastic museum. We spent half the day there and barely covered half of it.

In other news, last Monday was a national holiday and the kids were taking some classes at the international school, so the wifey and I went to go see “Looper” (which I ended up liking quite a lot). I also just finished “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern today, which I also rather enjoyed.

Oh yeah, and I am supposed to be running in the Nissan Stadium Ekiden (Japanese) which I am totally regretting about now. It’s been so cold I haven’t run in like over a month. I ran 5k last night trying to get back into the groove of things but it was pretty rough. I plan to do at least one more 5k this week before the race but I’m debating on a 3rd (because I need the practice but I also don’t want to kill my legs before the weekend). Luckily I’m lazy so I will naturally gravitate to just one more. Or maybe not even that one.

Never Enough Time For Everything

Went bouldering yesterday and managed to send that 6-kyu/5b/V2 I was working on:

The last hold was giving me a crap load of trouble because I’m too short but I found I could get a hold of it if I dropped myself down a notch on the right wall and then got both feet up on the left. Wasn’t expecting to be able to hold my balance that way but interestingly enough it works. Just goes to show you: if you don’t try new things you will never know.

I met up with some friends from the gym last Thursday and they somehow convinced me to try some dyno’s. Still can’t do them at all but I’m pretty close to pulling one off. I’m just happy I got myself to try actually. It’s good to climb with other people so you can learn from their style and get out of your comfort zone.

Speaking of comfort (or lack thereof), I feel like I have a million things piling up behind me now but I just can’t find the time (or energy) to get it all done for the life of me — and it is really frustrating. I probably just need to relax and let go a bit perhaps, but I feel as if I don’t kill myself I’m not going to manage to get everything done. I think more than anything I need to learn to start letting myself do a shity job on some things. You can’t do that on everything of course, but sometimes when it’s just not possible to do it all (i.e. always), doing a shity job is a pretty big improvement. Like in school — just putting your pen to the paper will ensure you at least 40-50 points. And when you think about it, that’s half! Hell of a lot better than zero anyway, and for minimum effort. Much better then spending hours bringing a 90 up to a 95 anyways.