Roxanne Modafferi

The Happy Warrior

Japan trip: Friday-Sunday (UFC Japan, friends, training)

Posted in cultural, family and holidays, fun on October 3rd, 2017 by roxyfighter

My trip to Japan was awesome and very fulfilling.

I left early Thursday morning and arrived Friday afternoon in Haneda. I’m always going to fly into Haneda instead of Narita from now on. I had heard it was closer, but dude! FIFTEEN MINUTES BY local TRAIN, as opposed to two hour and $34 by express train. I think tickets to Narita had always been cheaper so I went with cheaper, but for that amount of convenience and ease, I’m always going with Haneda, no matter what the cost.

I landed at 1:15 PM and got into Kawasaki around 2:15ish. I checked into my hotel and my friend and former training partner Goto-san met me there. We chatted a bit, and then went shopping to Lazona’s Daiso shop. On the way, I ate the best Taco Yaki IN MY LIFE. Mentaiko cheese flavor. maaaaan. My body was tired and it felt late, but I went to bed around 6:30 PM, exhausted. Of course I woke up around 1 AM, but went back to sleep for another hour! Then woke up, ate breakfast, took a walk, but couldn’t fall back to sleep like I often do. Oh well. I figured out that I could actually stream Netflix on my phone using the pocket wifi that I bought (BEST INVENTION EVER!), so I watched an episode of The 100. Seasons 2 and 3 have really been stressing me out. x_x Anyone could die at any minute and I’ve come to care about the characters.

Anyway, I met my friend Tsuru-chan at 7 AM at Kawasaki station and we went to Saitama Super Arena together to watch UFC Japan! It was being broadcast Friday night in America, so that means the event had to be held Saturday morning in Japan because of the time difference.

Oh man, it was such a good card! Most of the fights were so exciting. I was super impressed with Claudia and Jessica. I was surprised K-Taro won a decision, actually, but really happy for him. He wasn’t really aggressive. Okami was a samurai and fought last minute two weight classes above, but did a crappy takedown and got Von Flu choked out in the first round. x_x Yashabo won. Yay. Tsuru-chan and I were near where they walked out, so that was cool.

I went straight to Groundslam after the event, but afternoon pro practice had already ended, so I stretched out with Nori-p and a few others, and then went home. Later that evening, I met Kunioku-san, my former striking coach, in Yokohama and we ate Yaki niku together. It’s always fun chatting with him.

and Yaki niku!

Sunday was great. I ate and then went to morning class at Groundslam. Kimura-san was teaching. There were quite a few people there! I was impressed! I got a nice workout in!

After that, I showered and took the train an hour to Sagami-oono, which I haven’t visted since I went for the purpose of playing Dance Dance Revolution like ten years ago when that was the closest machine I knew. haha. There, I met my friend Midori, who was a former Berlitz English student who I made friends with. Then we met up with her husband and two kids who had become teenagers! wow. Together, we went to a city fair and watched her youngest daughter, who is four years old, do an English song and dance performance put on by her English school. It was so nice to spend time with Midori! She had been pregnant with her youngest when I left four years ago.

Then, I took the train to Atsugi city, which was kind of nearby, and walked around my old home! I love Atsugi and lived there for four years before I moved to Kawasaki. So my favorite sembei shop had gone out of business so I was sad. And my favorite bakery didn’t have the crunchy mentaiko pan I LOVE SO MUCH AND OMG two years ago when I went, I didn’t get to have it either, and last year I didn’t have time to go to Atsugi, so I’m pretty bent out of shape that they ran out and I didn’t get any. *huff*

I had really good taiyaki, though.

I went back to Kawasaki and had tea after dinner with Goto-san! He gave me models of two statues for my birthday, which was this day. It was great to chat with him and have tea like we used to frequently!!

Monday I went to Groundslam morning pro practice. Kunioku-san asked me to do warmups with him. We did like two five minute rounds of takedown uchikomis, and then I just held on and we did a round of grappling. LOL Then we put on gloves and did MMA. It was so cool! I was honored that he wanted to train with me. He kept taking me down. Effortlessly. haha it’s cool that despite me getting better, some things never change. I also sparred with Uno-san, Tokoro-san, and Shinashi Satoko san, who had started going to Groundslam lately. I had so much fun! I didn’t go killer speed with anybody and didn’t get hurt. That’s pretty much what I wanted!

Dude, Shinashi is such a veteran! Her record is 36 and 3. THIRTY NINE FIGHTS!!!! (I’ve had 38 but my record ain’t as good as that!) I was watching her fight around the time I had my debut fight in Japan!

I was actually so excited and psyched to be able to roll with her! Her grappling is slick!

It’s such an honor to train with Uno-san! He fought in first UFC I ever watched when I was 18.

Then I went to Shinagawa and met Karla, my former co-worker, for lunch. It was so great to catch up with her! She has since advanced her position and of course tried to get me to return to the company. Haha I really REALLY loved working at Berlitz. But that time has passed… Thanks for the presents! She gave me a minion hat and the hilarious thing is that I’ll probably end up wearing that out at some point…. hah!

Japan trip 2016 part 4: Mon & Tues (sparring, cat cafe, sakura)

Posted in cultural, friends, training on July 25th, 2016 by roxyfighter

Monday I woke up, ate, finished Memoirs of a Geisha, which was amazing btw, and went to pro practice at Groundslam. I had been really looking forward to it, and hoped my former coach Kunioku-san would go. He didn’t, and I was reminded of my disillusionment with Japanese MMA. No warmups together except shadow boxing. I grappled with Kaki. Did MMA with Gaku. He’s a fun partner. Landed a few new moves. Sparred with Tokoro-san. Then somebody else. Then chatted with one of the guys and Uno-san. I tried not to butt into their conversation but I was very interested in their talk about holding their hands up. I hate Japanese people’s no-guard and one guy was explaining how he tries to make himself look bigger by opening his hands. Uno-san was saying that Americans all hold their hands up and tight. I told them how my hands hover and guard different areas of my face. I wonder if they were actually interested or pretending, but Uno-san said that my guard has changed since I was last here and I’m a lot less stiff. That’s good, I’ve been working hard enough at my striking! I love Uno-san. *_* He’s one of my top favorite fighters, along with Matt Serra, Joe Lauzon, and Randy Couture.

I then sparred someone who front-kicked me in the gut like 20 times as hard as he possibly could and I couldn’t defend it because he was so fast and accurate. I thought my intestines were gonna rupture! I felt like I was really fighting in the cage…

I watched another match where this one guy was doing jumping knees to the head, elbows, etc. damn, they play rough in Japan. It’s normal. I shouldn’t say more.

After I showered, I went to Ikebukuro and met sakura and we went to a cat cafe! She’s a close friend of mine and former training partner at Keishukai. It was my first time to go to a cat cafe.
cat cafe 1
The cats TOTALLY ignored us and wouldn’t play with us.
cat cafe ignored
But cats sleep most of the day but in the cafe, people bug them so they can’t, and were probably just wanting to sleep. lol But the atmosphere was quiet and relaxing, and honestly, I was mentally shaken up after that training session, so it was super nice.
cat cafe lion cut
This cat had a “Lion hair cut.” lol

Then searched for and found Animate and she bought me an Owari no Seraph folder. lol Then I said, “I want Tako Yaki!” so she found a gindako and we sat and ate some.
sakura roxy tako yaki
The afternoon had passed by then, so I went home and rested and started reading my new Dragonlance book.

Tuesday I went for a walk and got lost LOL so my 15 minute walk turned into an hour. I had to ask three people the way three different times.

Then I met Goto-san for tea from 10:00 AM to 11:30 and he inspired me to write a new book. Then I caught the Narita express at 1 PM from Musashi kosugi and was on my way back to America! Evening flight at 5 PM. 🙂

Japan trip 2016 pt 3: Sat & Sun (Goto & Daishi, training, Lauren, Skytree)

Posted in cultural, friends, fun, training on July 23rd, 2016 by roxyfighter

On Saturday I woke up and didn’t go to training. I was pretty sore and tired. Goto-san had suggested we train, but suggested taking a bus like 20 minutes to some city sports center. Um, no. I hate Japanese busses and I was exhausted.

I met Goto-san and his wife met at the clock tower in Kawasaki station and went for Soba! It’s been ages since I’ve eaten it. It was so nice to hang out with both him and Sachiko. So after soba, we and I went to Kawasaki Daishi. I took a periscope. I also made a wish, got souvenirs, and talked to my favorite people at the sembei shop and bought sembei!

daishi 2016

I met Kunioku-san in Yokohama for yaki niku dinner! 😀 It was so nice hanging out again. It felt just like old times when we used to meet for training.

Sunday morning I woke up, ate breakfast, and went to morning intermediate MMA class, taught by Kimura-san at 9 AM. 😀 Wow, 9 AM Sunday morning. I didn’t even know that class existed. They swore it’s been going on for a few years, but I was in Japan last year looking to train and scrutinizing the schedule, I definitely would have noticed. Anyway, a good group of people showed up! Including one guy who was a fan of mine who saw me on TUF. I’m so excited about that because I know TUF 18 didn’t get a wide viewership in Japan on account of having to watch it online on Fightpass, and Kimura-san said that the guy came all the way from some southern county because Kimura tweeted that I was coming. XD
kimura class
Kimura asked me to teach the switch step kick and then shuffle hook. I did, and everyone learned it well, I think. Something else to practice and add to their arsenal. I made sure to boast about Syndicate and John. That was fun.

I was conveniently in Yokohama and met Lauren and Ryuji at the Sogo building, and we went to eat okonomiyaki! 😀 It was so nice to see them again!
roxy lauren ryuji 2016

We met online, actually! We caught up and ate great food and periscoped. 😀 😀 Yaaaaaay

Then I went to Oshiage and met my friend Mami (former student in Machida) and we went up to Skytree together!
mami skytree view
skytree view 2016
I have been there before but it’s always cool to go again, and fun to spend time with her in an environment other than just sitting and eating dinner at a restaurant. I forced her to speak English a lot. ^_~
After we came down from SkyTree, Mami told me about this tiny hole-in-the-wall cafe that serves the Sky Tree Ice cream parfait. oh yeah, baby. We totally ate that.

mami skytree parfait

I went home that evening, exhausted.

Japan Trip 2016: Tues and Wed (arrival adventure, BJJ)

Posted in cultural, friends, fun, training on July 21st, 2016 by roxyfighter

I left for Japan on Monday and arrived Tuesday evening. The directions on the hotel website when I signed up said to call if you can’t make it by 6PM.

Really? By 6 PM? Why call? But hey, it’s Japan, and you’re supposed to follow the rules to a T. However, I would have an American phone and wouldn’t be able to call, so I asked my friend Goto if I could let him know when leaving Narita airport (since I’d have wireless to text) and he call the hotel for me.

That’s what happened. So funny enough, I asked Goto to call and he called, and then tried to call me on Line phone, which is an app. It was ringing just as it was my turn to see the Japanese immigration officer, and then elderly security guard yelled at me in English, “WHY!?!? WHY!?!” and pointed at the “no phone” sign. I KNOW THAT, this is an emergency lol. But I had to hang up on Goto and did my thing with the immigration officer, and then called him back. It turns out my hotel closes it’s front desk at 6!! WHAT?! “But,” Goto-san explained, “You have to enter a code into the autolock door to get in and then call the night staff on the phone to check in.”

Wait, how is that going to work with me getting a key?! GAH. So my Narita express was supposed to pull into Muzashi Kosugi at 5:45PM, and it takes like 12 minutes to get to Kawasaki, so if I really hurried, I might make it a few minutes after 6. In America, people would probably still be there, but I had no doubt that the second the clock struck 6, those metal doors would come down and the staff would be gonzo. ;_;

Still, I hustled my bustle, dragging my suitcase and heavy bookbag, made it to Kawaski, and thankfully found the hotel with no problem since I had printed out a map ahead of time because my planning skillz are top notch. 😀 6:10 I found the hotel. I was just starting to examine the key panel when A STAFF MEMBER OPENED THE DOOR FOR ME! What?!? Weee! And checked me in. OH THANK GOODNESS I called. I had asked Goto to tell them that I’d probably arrive like ten minutes after 6, so he decided to wait. yaaaay following the rules.

It was so small…the walking space was the size of a normal American bathroom. Bed, mini fridge, bathroom so small I could barely turn around in it without bumping my elbows. Sink so small I splashed water on the floor trying to wash my face. It suited my needs for $60 a night. 🙂

I decided to meet Goto-san and hang out over a light dinner. Super jet-lagged but I didn’t want to waste any time! I knew I’d wake up at a weird time when nobody would be awake, so yeah. We went to Jonathans and I ate kaiso seaweed salad, a mini pizza with a weener hot dog on top (LOL), and pumpkin soup. 😀 It was so nice to chat with him face to face rather than Skype!

Went to bed around 8:30 zombie-like and woke up around 3. I took a walk around the deserted Kawasaki and went into JeansMate, a 24 hour clothing store, looking for anime clothes, just like last year. And just like last year I found something! Last year I got a Goku T-shirt. This year I found a Luffy T-shirt from One Piece! Now I have jeans and the hat, so I can successfully cosplay him someday. ;D

I love onigiri rice balls.

Wednesday morning I enjoyed meeting Tsuru-chan and playing scratch tickets.
one piece scratch tix

tsuru chan 2016
I won $2! The cost of a ticket. Hah they were One Piece designs, which amuses me greatly. Then I went shopping for various things, then met another friend Shu Inagaki from my college days at a cafe in Nippori. We chatted, ate Oyakodon, and bought socks. Hah. Then I went to Itadaki jiu-jitsu with Mizuho, my training partner from Keishukai!

mizuho collage
It started late and ended late and I was so jetlagged that I was literally losing consciousness when Isono-san was explaining a move. LOL but I had fun and it was nice to train. My back was so sore after that class, though. It never got unsore so I suffered for the rest of my trip. ;_;

Japan trip 4: Final day in Japan – training, thoughts and reflections.

Posted in cultural, friends, fun, training on October 8th, 2015 by roxyfighter

This is my last Japan blog!
Wednesday September 30th I woke up around 4 AM….normal for me! That means my jet-lag was almost fixed. lol The day before I had to go back to Vegas. I ate, read my book “The Wayfarer Redemption.”

My friends read this book in high school and I liked the cover. I thought the woman was a strong warrior woman, so I made her face my blog user icon for a while. Turns out Faraday is NOT a warrior. LOL Little did I know! HAHA

wayfarer redemption cover

I had been into DragonLance so I never started this series, and then started The Wheel of Time which took me EIGHT YEARS TO READ ALL THE BOOKS. Then I read Robert J. Sawyer books here and there, but this book has been on my list of things to read for years. It’s pretty good….I dunno. I might keep going with Dragon Lance, though, after this one. I like Axis.

I went for a walk/sprints, stretched/did yoga in my hotel room, and then went to 10:30 sparring at Lion Takeshi’s “Rising Sun” gym. Only Lion and Sarumaru and Kone-san went. I got a good work-out, though. Whenever I spar with a man for the first time, they never want to hit me. I get it. They don’t know how strong or good I am. The first time I sparred with Sarumaru-san, he barely touched me until I tried to clinch up, and then he nearly threw me on my butt with Judo moves. The second time we sparred he punched me REALLY hard in the nose and and kneed me in the face.

LOL ^^;;; Oh well, that’s why I wear headgear and a mouth guard! I think he’s fighting soon, and he’s a super cool guy so I wish him the best of luck.

Afterwards, I ate ODEN at a convenience store. YAY. Somehow I managed to eat ALL the food I’d been missing and wanting to eat without really planning how.

I think I pretty much relaxed… I think I got a shoulder massage, one of the two times I got it in this trip. It’s like $15 for 15 minutes. My body had been killing me since I didn’t have my usual recovery supplements, ice baths, hot yoga, and Chiropractor Jake, so my back, shoulders, neck, and knee were acting up. I was a mess. “No wonder I was toying with the idea of retirement before I moved away from Japan,” I thought. Not seriously, but I was wondering, because I could barely move after training for a day!!!!!

Yay America. ;_;

And I had jammed my middle finger on the first day I trained last week, so every day it was swelling and I couldn’t make a total first. Annoying! Good thing I brought my refillable ice pack.

but I still played Taiko no Tatsujin!!! They had the Attack on Titan theme song! That cracked me up. XD I beat it.
taiko drums roxy

taiyaki roxy
So the afternoon was free-ish…I think I ate a lot of random stuff, and then I met my former English-student-turned-good friend Mami in Shinyurigaoka, another place I had wanted to visit! I think the only thing I didn’t get to do that I wanted to was visit Atsugi. But it would have been just to walk past my old apartment and visit a sembei shop and bakery. I skipped it because it takes an hour to get there.

I had fun with Mami! 🙂 We promised to chat everyday in English and Japanese to keep our language skills up. We ate at this delicious Kyoto? style restaurant. Thanks for treating me!
mami and roxy 1
mami roxy bania cauder
Thursday, I hadn’t planned to do much, but then Kunioku-san was like, “So your flight is in the evening so you’re training in the morning, right?”

Oh yeah. So I went to Groundslam morning sparring and didn’t overtrain since my body wanted to die. Kunioku-san ended up not being able to make it. :/ Thank goodness there were lockers at the Yokohama station so I didn’t have to drag my super heavy suitcase all the way to Groundslam.

Katsumura-san showed me, rather ‘retaught me’ the ninja choke from two positions. I better practice that and the Bri choke now so I don’t forget like I did last year. ~_~;

So after showering, I walked back to Yokohama, which is conveniently a bus stop, and took a highway express bus to Narita Airport. I caught my 5 PM flight to Las Angeles and then connected to my Vegas flight. I managed to sleep a bit here and there.

My teammate said, “Roxanne, Japan is also your home.” I feel that way, too. I feel that I will always be connected to Japan and it will always be here. The time I moved and last year when I visited, I felt an overwhelming sadness when leaving. I think it was the “finality” of it that upset me. But now, I feel like it’s not so final. As long as I have the money, I can just come back. My friends will be there (baring some horrible tragedy, of course). I looked forward to getting back to Vegas and my beloved team Syndicate. I was a little sad but not too much. 🙂

Even when living in American, I feel a bit of my heart is still Japanese. And that’s okay. It’s not a “lost piece,” which is how I used to feel. It’s something that makes up who I am and influences how I live my life wherever I am. I felt comfortable in certain ways in Japan MORE than American, but vice versa.

At the end of the day, I don’t regret any of my decisions in life and I’m on a big adventure in life! As they said in “Once Upon a Time,” “Home is a place that, when you leave it, you miss it.”