Friday, August 12, 2005

recent happenings

So much going on lately, that I haven't updated in a while.

My Japanese studying has really kicked into high gear recently, as I've been attacking the vocab and kanji I'll need to know for the level 3 JLPT with a zeal I haven't had since college.
I do feel that my Japanese is getting better and I'm hoping that by the end of the year I'll be able to hold more conversations with my co-workers in Japanese where I use actual complete sentences! :)
Recently, a new ALT who just arrived told me that I really use my hands a lot when I talk - and I realized it's from all the quasi-sign language I employ whenever I speak with Japanese people, hoping that my hand gestures will compensate for my inablilty to adequately express myself in Japanese.

Speaking of new ALTs, we've got a few in my area, including Chris, who's from Georgia and is 23, and Titia, who's from Ohio and also 23, and Angharad, who is from England. I'll post pics soon, as I took Chris & Titia to IzumoTaisha shrine this week and I'm taking Angharad on Monday.

I haven't been able to work out with the kendo team as much this week, due to other morning activities, but I hope to get back on schedule with them soon.

Kendo has reached a bit of a plateau for me, as far as practicing with my Junior High team. I go in, and participate in the warm-up activites, and then go off to the side of the dojo where I work out alone while the team does group or pair activites leading up to small matches. I really can't impose and ask to join in the actual one-on-one fighting for a few reasons:
1 - I'm not really as good as the kids on my team - they've all been doing kendo way longer than me - and I'd most likely be a negative stimulant to their ability. Think of it like this - if I was hanging out with the tennis team or the baseball team, I wouldn' expect to have a turn at bat or play in a match - the kids need to practice against each other and not have to worry about some old guy who wants to play. :)
2 - I still can't understand all the directions the coach is giving in Japanese, so I have to watch the other players for a minute before I understand what the next drill or practice is.

So I practice by myself for about 30 minutes and then usually go lift weights for about 30 minutes. All the solo practice has honed my attacking skills, but my defensive skills are lacking, simply because I rarely get to practice against another living person who will hit me back.

Kendo has been a great experince so far, but I think when my san nen sei "retire" later this year, I may retire as well. Maybe I could find an adult class or kendo club that would take me, and then get more one-on-one instruction and guidance, but I really am not going to learn that much more from my Junior High participation.

All the working out has had its benefits. When I went for a recent medical check up (which is a story in itself), I got to see how much I weigh for the first time since arriving last year. The scale in the nurses office at my JH only goes up to 100 kilos (220 lbs) so I could never see where I was at.
I'm at 120.2 kilos or about 264 lbs. I came to Japan last year weighing around 280, so I've lost about 15 pounds. Feels good and I hope to lose even more. I'm also in better shape due to kendo and bike riding. The other morning at kendo we had to do "500 stroke" practice, which is where we take our sword and pretend to hit our opponents head 100 times in quick succession. We did this 5 times. By the end I was a little sore, because I'd chosen a heavier sword, made of solid wood, as opposed to my regular shinai which is made of bamboo strips bound together by strips of leather. The next day I was really sore - but I have muscle definition for the first time in years, so that's cool.

OK - it's now lunch time and my yummy plate of yakisoba awaits. More soon.


1 comment:

K said...

Congrats on the weight loss!!! That's awesome!! Wish I had joined kendo...I've only gained weight since being here. I'm thinking of joining the boxing gym though, hope that works out.

You have inspired me to update my blog. So much free time, yet so lazy, I must snap out of it.