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.

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.

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.

These Days

Been playing drums:


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.

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.”


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.

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.