Climbing and Music

Went bouldering again last night and had a pretty good time. Climbed the one 4-kyu/6a/V3 hands/feet restricted problem I can do just to see if I can still manage it. I sent it, but barely. Been working on a new somewhat interesting 6-kyu/5b/V2 but the last hold is still killing me. I can get close, but I just can’t get my hand on it. Been enjoying playing with it though.

I’ve found myself reading a good bit on music theory today and getting wrapped all up in it. I had studied a decent bit in early high school and rather enjoyed it, but just have never really spent an extended amount of time on things that fall outside of percussion. For some reason I just got pulled into it a bit again, mainly because I have been letting my brain wander a bit more freely these days. Not horribly sure if that’s a good thing or not though.

Financial District

The above is the area I work at if anyone is curious. It’s an interesting place: the streets and buildings are very large and simple in contrast to the typical mix and match of Toyko. It surprised me the first time I went. All of the stores are underground. You can walk for miles — from building to building even — and it’s a never ending maze. I can walk from the building I work at all the way to Tokyo station without even getting wet on a rainy day. It’s kind of like a city under a city, which is pretty cool.

Had a short bouldering session this afternoon.

The red on a left is graded at 6-kyu/4c/V0 but was rather fun. The holds are nice and positive but the wall has a pretty deep negative slope (kind of hard to see from the picture though) which beats the hell out of my arms. The blue on the left is graded 5-kyu/5b/V2 and I was trying it for the first time tonight. I made a lot of progress but still can’t pull the last hold. The sit start is kind of interesting though (requires a bit of a weird twist to get the first hold).

The red on the right is graded 5-kyu/5b/V2 and I sent it for the first time last session. Not too hard really. The first three holds are somewhat easy pockets — but it’s the first problem I have climbed using pockets of any sort believe it or not, which is why it caught my interest in the first place. The blue on the right is graded 4-kyu/6a/V3 and is an utter bitch. I’ve had two sessions on it but still can’t get the last so-small-it’s-almost-invisible hold. I saw one guy do it and kind of shook my head: he was basically holding himself on the wall with no hands while doing a split — and he had some long arms and legs. Wouldn’t work for me even if I was capable of doing it that way.

Task Management and a New Site

I’ve always had trouble with to-do lists but at the same time, I have trouble without them too. Just have never found a type of task management system that works good for myself. I’ve been trying something different this last week: I have borrowed a cue from agile development and listed up a handful of the “most important” tasks into a sprint, and am trying to force myself to focus on these and these only.

It’s working good so far in that it helps me focus. One of the biggest problems I have with lists is that I have too many interests, and I tend to write EVERYTHING down. And then it gets overwhelming and or just too junked up to keep organized. This seems to solve that problem at least by giving me some points to concentrate on.

I have run into one hang-up so far though: I have set a target date of about 2 weeks for each sprint, but on the one I’m doing now, I have found myself with only 2 items left and another week left. I don’t want to start “refilling” (i.e, starting something else before I finish what I’ve assigned myself) because that will kill the concept, but being that the two things I have I can only do at specific times, it kind of kills any idea of a plan I would have for next week. Perhaps in these cases I can add a miscellaneous small task box to fill in with some of those non hyper important things that tend to get dropped normally?

Who knows, I’ll play around I guess.

In other news, I’ve opened a new site: Bouldering Japan (link is also posted on the sidebar). There isn’t a whole lot there at the moment but the idea is to just have a place to compile various articles and information about bouldering in Japan — in English (cause that sort of information tends to be rather lacking from what I have seen). It also serves as a bit of a reference guide for myself and well, it’s just for the fun of it I suppose.

Top-rope

Uh oh. Looks like I found a new addiction:

I went top-rope climbing with my friend Yamato tonight and it was so, so, so fun. I was a bit nervous the first time on the wall but to be honest, I think I was more nervous belaying for Yamato for the first time (cause I didn’t want to drop him and squish him into a little bug particularly). After a few good runs at it, I started getting a bit ballsy and started pulling off some more aggressive bouldering moves. Feels really freeing to do so being so high in the air.

Above is the lead wall which I will never, ever touch.

Yamato bouldering for the first time. He did a really awesome job, and T-Wall Kinshicho had some pretty fun problems!

Fun Problems

Two of the problems I’ve climbed recently that I’ve found to be just good ole’ fun:

It’s hard to tell from the picture but this is on a pretty steep negative incline, meaning you get to dangle all upside down like a monkey on the first three holds, then do a twist-lock to grab the forth. All the holds are easy to get your hands around and it’s like playing on monkey bars. Terribly fun. This is rates around 6-kyu/4c/V0+.

Once again, most of the holds are pretty easy but what makes this one fun to me is the height and angle of it, and the little green volume in the center after the first hold. It’s also the first problem I’ve ever used a toe hook for (under the volume before going to the third to last hold). Once again, 6-kyu/4c/V0+.

Happiness

I felt good today: no hangover, a normal amount of sleep — I could get used to this. Only I can’t, because I work way too much. Anyhow, was in a good mood, got a lot done, and even managed to go bouldering at night after my night meeting. It was horribly crowded though — Wednesdays are bad days to go it seems.

I think I only climbed maybe one new problem, and it was around a 6-kyu, but I did have some fun on a few other semi-easy problems I’ve done before. I played around on the overhangs a lot because they typically have the least amount of people attacking them. Didn’t make too much progress really. All good though — I enjoyed it.

So yeah, after about a week of being in a crappy mood for no good reason I seem to be feeling better — finally. I’m so horribly moody sometimes. Ultimately I think it really does come down to the sleep though. And just getting one good mental breakdown in to let go of some stress from time to time. Always good of course.

My Arms Are Killing Me

Hit the bouldering gym tonight and I was in there for like 4 hours — probably actually climbing for about 3 in total. Planned on going home earlier but met a couple of nice people so I stuck around. It was good fun, and I always enjoy watching other people climb. Everyone kind of has their own style and it’s really interesting to watch.

Anyhow, the rest of my day was shit for the most part — just wasn’t feeling it. Glad it all ended on a positive note though.

Peki Peki

I took the princess to Peki Peki, an indoor bouldering gym in Shibuya a couple of weeks ago. I was looking for a place that allowed kids and this one was one close by and looked kind of interesting. It was horribly expensive for adults: 2,500 yen plus 1,000 for the registration. For kids it wasn’t that bad — just 500 yen for under elementary school which is affordable enough.

Here is the first floor:

Not a bad wall, but just too crowded. And this was in the middle of Golden Week so I hate to see how it would be on a typical day.

Here is the kids wall on the 3rd floor where we spent most of our time:

It was a lot of fun, the wall had a pretty big variety of routes, and there were actually quite a few other 4 year-old girls who the princess made friends with.

The princess doing a 8-kyu:

Here is the 2nd floor wall — intermediate to advanced and utterly empty for some reason:

The princess let me have a few goes at it while she was taking a break:

And on the other side of the 2nd floor was the cave! Really cool!

Again, completely empty (with the exception of one guy). I guess the 2nd floor isn’t that popular for whatever reason. I had a good time on it for as long as the princess would let me though:

Rather Tired

Just been so much going on these days. So much I want to write about too, but I’m just too preoccupied. And old — I’m getting old. And when you get old you get all conservative and practical which means less writing and more get-off-my-lawn.

But in fairness I’m much happier in my 30s than I was in my 20s. Guess I had 10 years to find more important things to worry about.

And I should be working on my taxes and blah, blah, blah but after three days in a row of 13+ hours of work and waking up at 5 am, only to stay up to the middle of the night to work on taxes… I’m pretty shot. And I should be sleeping now but I’m so used to being awake and being exhausted my body can’t seem to figure it out. And I want to go climbing tomorrow but I have no clue if I’ll manage to make the time, let alone the energy, and DAMN YOU RED TAPE BOULDER PROBLEM I DID ONCE THAT I COULDN’T DO LAST TIME I SHALL CRUSH YOUR SOUL!