Posts Tagged ‘health’

Flautist Again

2012年 8月 1日

My father-in-law has two main hobbies: one is pottery and the other is playing the shakuhachi (尺八). Almost exactly four years ago he started teaching me how to play. Almost exactly three years ago I was hit by a car while cycling. One of the saddest parts of that was how it knocked a lot of the creativity and inspiration out of me. After that I put the instrument down for a long time and took care of other, less creative things; however, this week – mostly thanks to my kitten – the shakuhachi is back in my hands.

Monday I made sure I could still make sounds and then practiced the basic notes. Tuesday I ran through several fingering exercises and played one song. Today I practiced all the fingering exercises and played a couple songs. Running out of breath and getting dizzy is the most significant trouble right now. One small problem is that my soul patch is too bushy and makes it hard to keep the instrument in the right location. Judicious use of scissors will correct the small problem. Hopefully daily practice will correct the other.

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Closer to Zero

2011年 9月 26日

Ideal commute time is zero minutes. While I am at work, my time is being used and I am being paid for it. When I am commuting, I am spending my time getting to work, but no other compensation is forthcoming. Given my choice in the matter, I would have a job where that time was eliminated or greatly reduced.

For two and a half years I chose to live in Ise for personal reasons even though my work is in Tsu. Our circumstances that pulled me to Ise vanished suddenly on April 1st and I set about contriving to get back to Tsu. September 17th – amidst a downpour – a moving company arrived in the morning and hauled our personal belongings to Tsu.

Before the move, whether going by train or by car, I needed to leave about 7:15 to comfortably arrive at my workplace by 8:30. Doing some simple math shows that two and a half hours of my precious time was vanishing in the commute. This morning, facing my longest commute from the new house, I left at 8:10 and arrived precisely at 8:30. Further, I hope to learn a more direct route which will drop it to less than 15 minutes with luck. Friday’s commute should take less than one minute by bicycle.

It has only been about a week, but the luxury of sleep is already greatly appreciated. My calligraphy study has also improved and I am able to do a lot more around the house.

Already there are several posts I want to make, but they require a lot of photo uploading so they may have to wait for my new internet connection (October 6th, hopefully). Looking forward to communicating here.

Mandatory Cooling Off Period

2010年 10月 1日

Bathing in very hot water is tradition in Japan. Often people will go to natural hot springs to soak in baths of various mineral content. Depending on the salts in the bath, different conditions are said to improve with regular bathing. Also, many people like the slippery texture of skin after relaxing in the spas. Although most homes use tap water in the bathroom, it is common to settle in to a 41 or 42 degree tub of water in the evening at home.

American readers might need a reference point, so 104 degrees F is considered maximum healthy temperature for a hot tub and that is 40 degrees C. Japanese people sometimes use hotter baths as well although I haven’t tried anything over 45 degrees. Health benefits and improved sleep claims are associated with this practice; however, friends who study non-traditional medicine have given me a caveat. For best health, it is recommended to cool off for about an hour before sleeping.

Check the time stamp for this post and you’ll see that I didn’t get my bath until late. We have a female house guest and a bath arrangement which doesn’t lend itself to use with multiple people milling around. Thinking it best not to expose myself to my wife’s friends, I opted to wait until they were settled in for the night. Once I cool off a little more I’ll doze off here.

Picture of Health?

2009年 10月 14日

Results have come back from our mandatory annual physicals. My bad cholesterol dropped a little and good went up a bit, I lost 6 or 7 cm off my waistline and dropped several kilos from my weight. Blood pressure is better than last year’s great reading, blood sugar is normal, as are the rest of my numbers, which earned me an 80 point score with normal being somewhere in the 70s; however, it is strongly recommended that I consult with a physician and adjust my lifestyle. Why, you ask?

Most of the foreigners in Japan encounter the same comment on their forms because of a heavy dependence on BMI and a prevailing opinion that people should be very thin. At 179 cm tall and 73 kg (74 plus in August at the health check), I’m not really feeling obese. That’s about 5’10” and 160 pounds for you Americans. Naturally I would like to shed a couple kilos of fat and pick up a few in muscle mass, but my BMI wouldn’t change if I did.

Anyhow, once I get through this rehab on my neck, I hope to be on my bike for some longer rides, so I’m feeling pretty good. Meanwhile, I may start running (for something other than catching the train) as a way to get some exercise without bending my neck.

Sick Puppy

2009年 3月 10日

Not feeling well. Suddenly a brutal, pounding headache came on today, and my throat keeps swinging between phlegmy and scratchy, under constant threat of going south. At my evening class I was wearing two jackets and a scarf in a heated room and still had chills. By the end of class I was feeling better.

Got some orange juice and ate some homemade rice with takenoko from my neighbor. If I go to bed now, I should get a good night’s sleep. Can’t miss photo society meeting tomorrow night, because it is time to re-register for next year.

Oh, almost forgot. My work schedule for the next year came yesterday. I was hoping to go from six schools to three schools, instead I now have seven schools and I lost my favorite one. More on all this when I have time.

The Palm of Mom’s Hand

2008年 9月 8日

About a month ago I went to a restaurant in Matsusaka (松阪) with a very difficult name, simple but difficult. This is a fine distinction which is a struggle in both English and Japanese. Most folks will say simple is the opposite of difficult, but I would contend that simple and complex are opposites and, likewise easy and difficult. In Japanese I would say kantan (簡単) and muzukashii (難しい) are opposites and, likewise tanjun (単純) and fukuzatsu (複雑); however, many people take difference with this. Language is a delicate creature and should be handled as such, but I have wandered from the main topic… the restaurant’s name: Kaka no Te (かかの掌).

Readers who know a little Japanese might jump to the conclusion that ‘te‘ means hand, but a quick look at the kanji shows that it is more complicated, having the entire character for ‘hand’ as a part of this character. Different meanings, some religious, are described by this character but it can mean te no hira, which I’ll translate as ‘the palm’; more literally, it might be ‘the inside of the hand’. Kaka is a little simpler. being a loving term that children use to say ‘mom’ (お母さん), written in kanji as: 母, 嚊, or 嬶. So, the restaurant is “The Palm of Mom’s Hand”.

Normally restaurants should have very comforting names but, dad being absent alot, mom was the primary disciplinarian in our family; hence, the palm of her hand didn’t always have that comforting feeling. Spanking is not popular in Japan, so I’ll assume there’s no similar duality here. A business card labels this as Kami Shima Homemade-Style Cooking. It was tasty and seemed healthy enough.