I enjoyed my trip to Japan a lot. I had a few things that bummed me out in my personal life, so I spent a lot of time trying not to be sad and just enjoy my trip. I also missed my kids class and worried about them a lot. I guess that’s what being an adult is. You’re never truly 100% able to relax ever.
I departed on Friday morning, Aug 30th, and landed in Japan Saturday afternoon, Aug 31st. I did what I usually do – check in to my tiny business hotel, and then go shopping in Lazona for food, 100 yen items, and stuff I stock up on to bring back home, like furikake, tea, a bowl for my salads, etc.
Sunday morning, I went to Groundslam and took Kimura-san’s 9 AM MMA general member class. I’ve really been enjoying that class because it’s so structured. He has everybody shadow box to warm up, then people hold mitts for each other, then light sparring, then some kind of grappling or wrestling technique of the day. Kimura-san is to the right side of me, and I really enjoyed training with the dude to my left.
After that, I went to Kawasaki Daishi and enjoyed eating black sesame ice cream, and visiting my favorite sembei shop. Unfortunately, the owner who I usually chat with wasn’t in. :/ I also couldn’t go with my friend I usually go with. Sadness. But I tried to enjoy! I was in Japan, baby!
Sunday evening I met up with my friend Meiko, who is a former Berlitz English student, and we went to see DEEP JEWELS together!
I fought on that show a few times! Thank you, Saeki-san and Shu-san, for getting me tickets! 😀 I got to see Shizuka Sugiyama fight and whoop her opponent. I also ran into Megumi Fuji, who I haven’t seen since she moved away, got married, and had a daughter. I ran into K-Taro, and Fujino-san, and others. It was nice.
Monday I went to 9:30 Am pro training and was a little disappointed that not many people showed up the way they used to, but I enjoyed training with Tokoro-san and Shinashi-san, especially.
Shinashi-san fought in Smack Girl BEFORE ME, debuting in 2001. She has a record of like 37-5! She’s gonna fight again soon. Thanks, Katsumura-san, (double peace sign guy) for having me! After that, I had sushi lunch with my host mother. It’s nice to see her so genki and energetic at 85 years old! In the evening, I had dinner with my former co-worker friend, Karla! She had lots of wisdom to share about stuff. I appreciate you, Karla! <3
Tuesday morning, I braved the morning rush hour traffic and went to Paraestra Tokyo, where Yuki Nakai taught! I went to Tokyo Paraestra and REALLY enjoyed training under the legendary Yuki Nakai.
I didn’t go last year, but had gone the year before. I love that place and I was fan-girling so hard over Nakai-sensei. 😀 Legenddddddd! He asked if anybody had any questions, and I said, “SPIDER GUARD!!” He said, “Okay. So first….” I LOVED THE SERIES HE SHOWED. He pulled a lesson immediately right out of his hat! 😀
I ended up drilling with this other girl, who turned out to be a decent drilling partner despite being a white belt. I liked her. 😀 I thought she was like 23 but then she said she had a 15 year old daughter who she forced her to drill jiujitsu with her at home and I was like…..oh. DANG. I thought my Lithuanian blood kept me looking young. lol
I had fun rolling afterwards, too. 😀
I then trekked to Animate and got only a few things for Candy. I didn’t find much for myself, but I took pics of some interesting looking anime for later. In the evening, I met another friend Midori for dinner.
On Wednesday, I didn’t train. My body was hurting so badly….Teri was supposed to give me a massage the day before I left, but she stapled her finger. I had such horrible back pain from tight glutes, and calf soreness. I could barely walk. It hurt so much to train and get taken down and bend in half on Thursday. But anyway, on Wednesday, I met up with Grace and we went to the Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku. Omg It was SO FREAKING AMAZING!
I love Japanese theme restaurants. The tables, chairs, walls, and ceilings were all decorated. The menu was rainbow colored. Grace got Hello Kitty curry where the rice was the face, and food coloring was on the curry. hah! The ice cream was all rainbows, too!
We happened to be there for the 1:00 PM performance! They dimmed the lights and a lady dressed in a crazy costume danced around on a rotating stage shaped like a cake with a Hello Kitty head, and a dude in a cute monster suit. Whatever they were being paid, they deserved double that. It was RIDICULOUSLY entertaining, and they looked really happy doing it. LOL
We then walked around Harajuku, laughed at funny Engrish, and she got me a Naruto shirt. I got a few souvenirs, too. In the evening, I met Mami in Seijogakuenmae for dinner at her favorite family-owned Izakaya.
On Thursday, I did 9:30 AM pro practice. Harley was there! Cool to see him living his dream, having gone pro and working in Japan. I got a foot massage at my favorite place ever, and then met my former trainer and friend Kunioku-san for dinner.
Friday the 6th, I lifted weights at gold’s gym, hoping to counteract some of my body’s pain, and it worked! I did a lot of arms and back, but also some one-legged squats, and hip abduction and aduction. THOSE HELPED. I knew it….sometimes working the muscle helps because it hurts because there’s an unbalanced pull somewhere. I feel like everything got tightened back up a bit.
It was an adventure to get in. The staff wouldn’t let me in without a passport. I even said I was a UFC fighter, name-dropped Abe-san, said I was a former member for 8 years and I’d be in the computer, but they wouldn’t even check! I managed to bring up a pic of my passport that I had on my phone from when I emailed it to somebody. They said no but I stood there waiting and they finally let me in.
After that in the morning, I saw the One Piece movie Stampede! LOL It was so ridiculous but entertaining! Everybody kept growing larger and explosions kept getting bigger! I met my training partner friend Ben later!
On Saturday the 7th, I decided to go to Tokyo Paraestra again, and enjoyed Morishita’s class! We did a ton of Toriando drills, followed by de la riva passes and counters to being stuffed.
I met Sakura at Ishikawasdai and we went to Fukuzushi, Tsuru-chan’s restaurant! I’m glad I got to see him again.
Sunday I did Kimura’s class, which I enjoyed a lot, and then headed to the airport.
All in all, I enjoyed myself. I know to appreciate the people in my life, but you know, Japan is starting to feel less and less like home the longer I make a new one for myself in the States. I spend the money and make the time to go back to see PEOPLE, to see the ones I love and care about and try to maintain bonds and connections with across the oceans.
I also ate as much Japanese food as I could and gained about four pounds. 🙂
But yeah. The people. I appreciate just spending time with them, I’m grateful for their love and friendship, and I enjoyed celebrating the good times we had in the past and will have hopefully in the future!
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