It’s Not You, It’s Them. Yes, It’s Definitely Them.

Guess who’s back?  That’s right, it’s taken me a good while to get my life together out here in beautiful Hawaii but KP is finally back and writing.  These past seven months have been incredibly trying, and I’ve learned quite a bit about myself.  In summary:

1. My 12 week program was a crash-and-burn once I hit Hawaii.  First 6 weeks were great, but life lesson learned: don’t enter into an extensive diet/exercise/fitness program that requires long workouts, very low calorie meals, and very limited foods while in a transition phase.  It simply doesn’t work.  You need to be in a set routine for it to be effective.  Moving is not the best time to do this.

2. New jobs can cause unique stresses.

3. People are stupid.

That’s right people, for tonight’s installment of whatever-I-feel-like-writing-about, I bring you, KP’S DATE FROM HEEEEELLLL!!!!  Cue Vincent Price entrance with appropriately creepy theme-song!  I was pretty miserable over the breakup of my relationship for quite a long time, and I blamed myself for its failure.  However, it took a recent experience to really open my eyes to this fact: It’s not you, it’s them.

Recently, I went out with this guy I met online.  Now, I don’t want to knock online dating because I know some people who it’s really worked out for.  However, I automatically assume everyone on the internet is cat-phishing or a serial killer.  YOU DON’T KNOW WHO IS SITTING ON THE OTHER END OF THAT COMPUTER.  End of story.  Well, I met Mike, and he seemed like your run-of-the-mill-weirdo that you find online.  Okay, cool.  Great, it’s going to be true love.  I tell Mike we can meet for coffee, because I need a quick exit in case he’s 30 lbs heavier in person, or you know, he tells me he fantasizes about wearing my skin or something like that (ala Buffalo Bill).

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Anyway, we meet, and he’s pretty weird in person, too, but I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and not be overly judgmental (note: if you get the feeling in your gut something’s up, you’re probably right).  Mike made a pretty big mistake (well, he made a few big mistakes) on date #1: he didn’t ask for my last name to put in his phone when he got my number.  That automatically alerts me that something’s up.  Like, don’t you want to know who I am?? I could have a criminal record or I could be a crazy internet stalker (cue overly-enthusiastic Justin Bieber fan girl).

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I should’ve asked for his right then and there, but I wasn’t sure if maybe these days asking for a last name is like, a major milestone in a relationship?  You know, somewhere after the decision to be monogamous, but before you’re boyfriend/girlfriend?  I have no idea.  So then Mike begins the text-a-thon.  Gentlemen: DON’T TEXT GOOD MORNING AFTER THE FIRST DATE.  IT’S CREEPY!!!  Like, whoa give the person a chance to breathe!  This guy was all kinds of up-in-my grill.  Also, STOP. ASKING. WHAT. I’M. DOING. EVERY. FIVE. MINUTES.  “Whatcha doin’?”  I’M SITTING HERE WATCHING FORENSIC FILES PICKING MY NOSE AND THIS IS HOW I’M GOING TO REMAIN FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT SO JUST STOP.  His attempts to get me to come over were pretty transparent, so what do you do with a creeper who is trying to creep?  You creep on back!  Example:

Mike: “You’re so beautiful and intelligent.”

Me: “Aww, I’ll bet you say that to all the girls you meet on the internet.”

Mike: “Too bad you’re all the way over in (town name here), all by yourself and scared.”

Me: “Nah, I’m not scared.  I got my discount ginsu knives for protection.  I’m also thinking about investing in some brass knuckles.”

Still, I wanted to give him one more chance.  So we agreed to meet for dinner.  And I had a nice time, he was slightly less weird, but still weird.  He had this thing about infidelity, saying how he was very anti-infidelity.  Well, I don’t know if there’s this weird human thing where people like to think that the more they say something, it must be true (even if it really isn’t).  Kind of like if you know you’re not really a good singer, the louder you sing you think you can fool people into thinking you’re actually a good singer?  So I’m pretty suspicious, and I ask for his last name.  HE STILL DOESN’T ASK FOR MINE.  RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG.  So the date comes to an end and we say our goodbyes, he says he thinks we should go hiking on Saturday.  Okay, Mike.  Sounds great, will the third date be the charm for when you finally ask for my last name and don’t make me feel like just a name in your creepy phonebook of first names?  I get home and immediately commence appropriate google and Facebook stalking.  Sure enough, he comes up.  No criminal record, okay, check.  However, his Facebook profile picture is definitely of him and another girl, holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes lovingly.  I find her name and click on it, and her profile picture is of the two of them.  I’m not even mad, I’m honestly  laughing at this point.  Like, are people THAT STUPID?  So I text him what’s up, and he proceeds to tell me they broke off the engagement “well over a month ago,” except not, because, thanks Facebook for date and time stamps, because less than a month ago he writes, “So happy I’ve found the love of my life!”  WHAT.  WHAT.  CUE ALL WHITE GIRLS HERE AND LET’S GET A COLLECTIVE: I CAN’T EVEN.  

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He told me he couldn’t prove that their engagement was off and that contacting her to change things “would just cause more problems.”   Riiiiiiiiiiight.  Because what female in her right mind would keep a profile picture up of your stupid ass if she broke off an engagement with you AND broke up with you?  Just for shits and giggles?  Hey everyone, remember the time I almost married THAT asshole?  Yeah me, too!  Hold on, let me constantly remind myself of how much he sucked by keeping our picture up!  LOLS!!!

Needless to say, Mike and I did not go hiking, and he still doesn’t know my last name (thankfully).

Moral of the story (well, there are a few):

1. The internet is f*cking WEIRD.

2. Gentlemen: if you want to be shady and have a jump-off or a side dish, for god’s sake change the professionally done engagement photo profile picture of you and her.

3. Most importantly: IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S THEM.  IT’S DEFINITELY THEM.  How someone can sit across from you at a dinner table and tell you they have issues with infidelity and then you find out they’re married/engaged/in a serious relationship–IT’S 100% THEM!!!  They’re nuts!!!  

People, look up Occam’s Razor, in the most basic sense it’s a way of deciding between theories–basically the path of least resistance is usually the right one, or whichever way causes less assumptions is usually the truth.  So I could assume this guy is just a cheater and lying.  Or I could assume that he “doesn’t really use his Facebook and just kept up the profile picture because he didn’t really give a crap” and I could just assume that the reason HER profile picture is still of them post-engagment/relationship breakup is because she’s dead or abducted by aliens or converted to the Amish faith and believes the internet will steal her soul so she doesn’t use a computer anymore and it’s the 2nd Tuesday of the month which means half-off on Tacos at the Taco Shack down the road.  Ooooooookaaaaaaaaayy!

As silly as this whole thing was, it made me realize, my ex was going to treat me badly regardless of how pretty/intelligent/unique/whatever I was.  People will treat you how they treat you based on their own selfish desires.   It has NOTHING to do with you, so if someone isn’t treating you how you feel you deserve to be treated (with respect, love, and dignity), LEAVE THEIR SORRY ASS!!

 

-KP out!

Purgatory is only Temporary.

Today I spoke with a very close friend of mine, and we had a long talk about some of the issues we both face.  I am not ready to share with the world some of my deep, dark secrets, because I don’t feel comfortable revealing that side of myself just yet, but some of what we talked about was about relationships.  We talked about how work has had me traveling for months and how it has felt like the echoes of my last relationship have been heard loudly everywhere.

K said to me, “It’s like you were in Purgatory.”

And she was right.

 

Neil Gaiman says it best, “I think hell is something you carry with you.  Not somewhere you go.”  I have never had such a jarring emotional experience of that magnitude before in my life; maybe some people can brush this sort of thing off easily.  But for those unfortunate, overly-introspective types like myself, it’s not that easy.  I still, months later, ask myself what I could have done to have been enough.  I know, rationally, the answer to this question is simple: NOTHING.  People who want you to be part of your life make you a priority.  They don’t push you away, they don’t disrespect you by being dishonest and secretive.  It doesn’t make this any easier to swallow, and we still beat ourselves up because of their betrayal.  Even as time passes, in the words of the late Maya Angelou, “People will never forget how you made them feel.”

 

The pain is still there and I know it will be there for a long time to come, but I also know that Purgatory is only temporary, and now I am here in Hawaii to start a new life, and the ghost of the man from my past can not come to these shores to haunt me.  This is a place of healing, and I concentrate on trying to let go of the hell I have carried within me for so long.

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For anyone out there going through something similar…if you don’t think it will end…I understand.  It’s not over for me, but I can finally see the beginnings of the road to healing.  The pain lasts a long time, but we don’t have to be buried under it forever.  There are still beautiful things to be seen, and we can find an abundance of kindness and goodness in the people who continue to stand by us and support us.  Our worth is not defined by those who have treated us badly, or the poor relationships we once were part of.  

 

Our worth was and always will be determined by ourselves.

 

So KP decided to try a 12-step program…

My apologies, I meant a 12 WEEK program!  Not the kind of program you had in mind (although if that’s currently part of your life more power to you!).  This is going to be a quick entry because it’s late but I’ve got much to talk about, so I’ll try and get an actual entry in tomorrow.  I know this originated as a travel blog, but fitness and health are also topics I really enjoy writing about.  I decided it was time to change my current regimen because I was expending too much effort with too little-no results, so my diet has COMPLETELY changed, I am going to be working with a trainer, and my exercise routine is also taking a 180.  I will talk more about the plan later and I’ll most likely be upping the entries to try and help keep me on track with the plan, but no better time like the present for a little life change 🙂

I’ve also got a few books that need to be talked about, along with a TED talk I found particularly interesting.  So much to write (and KP starts waaaay too late at night!).

On Love

Beware, KP has an opinion post to follow…

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As always, I continue to be a terrible writer and not write as often as I should.  I’ve been doing a bit of traveling within the States, although work keeps me busy and I haven’t really had the time to take some new photos.  We went up to Biloxi two weekends ago and toured the Jefferson Davis home, Beauvoir, but the weather wasn’t good enough to walk around and take many pictures.  Today was Easter, and although I do not identify with any particular religious belief system, it is always a nice excuse to spend a few hours at brunch with friends.

I had an incident that occurred just about two weeks ago that really got me thinking about love and forgiveness, and I think for my own cathartic reasons it needs to be shared.  I am specifically talking about the kind of romantic love in relationships in this entry.  I think we as a whole, both over-use and under-use the phrase, “I love you.”  We over-use it in the sense that it is said for the wrong reasons, whether that is manipulation for some shallow gain (sex, money, material items, etc), or we aren’t thinking about what it really means.  Maybe it’s because as a writer I’ve been cursed with constant introspection, but I can never understand why people can use a phrase of this gravity so carelessly.  When you say, “I love you” to somebody, what you are really saying is, “You are THE priority in my life.”  It is such a massive statement to make, which is why I fully believe it shouldn’t be said or used as carelessly as it is!  Love is ultimately about selflessness; anything other than such isn’t love, it’s lust or infatuation or whatever else.  But love is about someone else.

People often make mistakes, no one is perfect.  Through love, I believe forgiveness can heal wounds and relationships can grow strong, ONLY if both people are willing to put in the proper effort and believe their relationship is worth saving.

I’ve been thinking about this often as I observe others around me.  I see relationships I wish I can someday emulate with someone.  These relationships generally consist of two partners who enjoy spending much time together doing hobbies they both enjoy, such as traveling, cooking, exploring new restaurants, and the like.  They communicate well and are completely open with one another.  They fully respect and appreciate their partner and do not take them for granted.  I also see relationships I hope to never end up in; ones where people do not communicate, are not completely open, do not respect their partner and their partner’s feelings (think: “If he/she were witnessing my behavior/what I am saying to another person, would it hurt their feelings?”).  I see people in unhappy marriages because they rushed into something because “it was time to settle down,” or something of that nature.  I have never understood the concept of “settling” in love.  If it’s love, why should it be considered “settling”?  Love is a CHOICE!  Every day, it is a choice.

As for the phrase, “I love you,” being under-used, well, this one is pretty simple.  If it is love, then sing it strong and proud, because we are never guaranteed tomorrow!  And that goes for all types of love, not just romantic relationships.

I truly feel, deep within my heart, that to be better people we need to think about others.  I am in no way perfect, but I know that there are times when we really need to push our own desires aside and put our loved ones’ needs before our own.  Love really is about putting others before ourselves.

Only Human

It has been quite some time, and much has changed.

My job is transferring me to Hawaii, and I have a few months of training along the way.  It’s going to be a coast-to-coast adventure in America, starting from beautiful Northern Washington and ending up in Florida.  I will look out on to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans before June arrives.

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Although 2014 brings many promises of new beginnings, it unfortunately began on a very sad note for me.  My relationship ended in a very painful manner, and I never imagined I’d be writing an entry like this, but heartbreak feels like the equivalent of being sick with some kind of total body illness, it really does.  Regardless of whether it is you or the other person who ends it (for me, I was the one who ended it), it is horrible.  Ultimately for me, it came down to what I felt was settling in the relationship and accepting behavior that was very much not okay.  It still seeps deep into the core and unfortunately only the passage of time will heal what has been damaged.

It really made me start to think about how different people perceived love; or rather, what they thought was love.  The same man who said “I love you,” to my face was, behind my back, telling someone else how he wished he “could hold her all night.”  For any couple in a healthy monogamous relationship, this is not acceptable.  For people in polyamorous or open relationships, I can not speak, but I would assume that in those relationships, in order for them to be healthy, all parties must agree to whatever stipulations (and I would imagine there would be a good deal of communication involved).  I really do believe that for different people, different types of relationships work.  However, it is WRONG for one person to be covert and hide something from the other person when they are under the impression no such thing is going on.  That is cheating, in one of its many forms.

It saddens me to know that, at the end of my relationship, instead of being sincerely sorry for doing something that was wrong and hurt me a good deal, the man I was with was angry because he felt I had invaded his privacy and did not trust him; however, it was his behavior that prevented me from fully being able to do so.  The spectrum of human behavior is fascinating and terrifying all at once; whereas some of us are staunchly opposed to the idea of such behavior in relationships, others have no qualms engaging in it.  On some level these individuals must have issues with commitment and cannot enter the relationship both feet fully in.  Nevertheless, it does not take away from the hurt we feel when we cross paths with someone of that nature.

I think of Mary Oliver’s quote:

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The Sun Will Rise (Welcoming in the New Year)

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Happy New Year!  I have been a terrible writer this past year.  I have barely written at all, so first and foremost, one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to write more!  

I can’t believe 2013 has ended already.  So much in my life is changing; I’m getting transferred to Hawaii for my job and will be also working out of Okinawa.  My apartment looks like it’s been ransacked due to packing up all my belongings.  As I look back over my pictures from the year I am reminded of all the things I accomplished and was able to experience.  I did quite a bit of traveling, both locally and abroad.  I went to mainland China and Hong Kong, visited Kyoto twice, caught up with high school friends from my time in Shizuoka, ran my first sprint triathlon and first full marathon, and secured a competitive and coveted position at work.  I met a good deal of people, made some new friendships, rekindled some old, and entered into a relationship.

2013 was a year that allowed for growth; there were some truly positive moments (being selected from a large pool of candidates for a very competitive position, crossing the finish line at the Mount Fuji Marathon), and there were also some very difficult times, regarding friendships, relationships, work, and life in general.

I was skyping with my mom recently and I was talking about some of the difficulties I was dealing with in regard to certain relationships and I think the overall sentiment for the New Year will be her advice:

Do good and have faith that good things will happen to you.

So my New Year’s resolutions are as follows:

1. Write more.

2. Be a more dependable person.

3. Be better at keeping constant communication with friends and family.

***

Two years ago I found a local shrine near my home that was up a small hill; the pathway was illuminated by lanterns.  After walking past the main shrine area a bit there was an opening and I could see out across the bay to Yokosuka, Yokohama, and Tokyo.  I could see the ships sitting there, too.  The lights shimmered against the darkness of the night and I remembered the opening of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God:

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the same horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time.”

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I looked out on to the black ocean as a child, watching the ships sit against the horizon in the night, and I looked out on to that same darkness this night and thought of how my life has changed over the past two and a half years.  Although I am proud of the person I am continuing to grow into, I do not forget that it has taken some very difficult lessons.  

Here’s to another bountiful year!

What I Learned from Running a Marathon

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My coworkers are probably sick of hearing me talk about running a marathon.  Look, okay, running a marathon doesn’t suddenly make you a better person, you’re not “holier than thou.”  I will tell you this, though–it teaches you an incredible amount about YOURSELF and what YOU are capable of.  Sometimes it takes 26.2 miles of pain to figure sh*t out.  Oh yeah, there’s a little bit about running that you learn about thrown in there too (like don’t wear gear you’ve never worn before on race day, don’t forget to bring warm up sweats when your race is at the end of November and you’re the only idiot walking around in shorts in 35F weather before the race actually starts, and don’t just “wing it,” your body will thank you later), but mostly, it teaches you about life.

1. COMMITMENT AND DEDICATION ARE THE PILLARS OF SUCCESS.  You have to really be committed to the goal of finishing a 26.2 mile race.  I love the quote, “Do or do not, there is no try,” because you are either going to finish the race, or you aren’t, plain and simple.  Who the hell gets satisfaction in walking away saying, “Yeah, well, I tried to run a marathon.”  Injuries aside, you are going to be the one to ultimately decide whether or not YOU are going to cross that finish line.  Can you envision it?  Is the goal greater than the momentary doubt or pain?

2. YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK.  I have NEVER felt so much continued pain in my body before.  Hours of pounding pavement is absolutely killer on the joints.  By the time I reached mile 20, I was really, really spent.  I thought about giving up so many times, but I kept thinking about crossing the finish line and about why I was even running the race to begin with.  Wasn’t it to prove a point to MYSELF that through willpower all things are possible?   And if that’s not enough, think of all the people, good and bad, that were there along the way–the naysayers, the people who supported you, the people who hurt you, and the people who ran alongside you through the pain–think about them too.  

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3. DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS THAN YOU DESERVE.  This is perhaps the most important lesson I learned. Since YOU have put in the time and the effort, you have pushed past the pain and torn down the walls of doubt, you know what it takes to be extraordinary, you know that success means being better than you were before, and we all have the ability to be better within us.  Don’t make excuses, don’t accept excuses.  You will never succeed by taking either action, you will only be holding yourself back..

4. CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.  If after touching down in Japan 2.5 years ago, someone would have come up to me and said, “You’re going to run a marathon 2.5 years from now,” I would have laughed in their face.  I had never run more than 5 miles in my entire life.  Why would I even waste my time doing something ridiculous like that?  Well, because sometimes the things we once see as “ridiculous” and “impossible” suddenly become important to us, and as I learned how to push past pain I understood what it meant to change.  It was a long, slow process from within that required the aforementioned commitment and dedication.   Change isn’t easy, but it is possible, and it allows us to grow.

5. BE GRATEFUL.  You have a body that allows you to absolutely feel what it means to be alive–everything that you are made up of is working together intricately, allowing your body to run the race.  Be grateful you have the opportunity to do so.

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Run for those that matter, run for those that don’t, because in the end you are going to have made the good ones proud and you will have left the bad ones 26.2 miles behind.

***

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” -Da Vinci

Anaïs Nin, Hong Kong

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It’s late, and I’ve got an early day tomorrow, but these thoughts seem to be swimming in my head like carp in an endless pond.  I recently took a vacation to Hong Kong, and I’ve been flooded with ideas; and the world changed in a day, or maybe it was a day and a night and a day, I honestly don’t know.  We’ve been rocked over here with the disaster in the Philippines and somehow everything is both the same and different.

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I met up with a friend in Hong Kong this past week and was finally afforded the chance to visit a place I had always wanted to go.  And it doesn’t diappoint–the garish neon signs, the crowded night markets, the smell of noodles cooking in the street–it’s like the dirty underbelly of Singapore, international and gaudy and full of alleyways teeming with dealers beckoning tourists into their backrooms of illegal goods.  I made it a point to see the Temple Street Night Market, the Ladies Market, acquire good dim sum, and visit the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden.

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The Temple Street Night Market is located in Kowloon, where we were staying.  If you take the MTR to Jordan Station you will be very close.  You can buy cheap goods such as watches, sunglasses, t-shirts, scarves, food, antiques, and more.  It’s quite crowded, and a definite MUST is haggling with the dealers; although don’t go too low or they will begin to heckle you.

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The Ladies Market is located in Mong Kok, and is largely the same sort of merchandise.  However, I thought it to be a bit larger and, as the name suggests, a bit more geared toward women (I bought a lovely pashmina scarf and mint skirt).

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Switching gears a bit, we ventured out after experiencing the crowded markets into a more serene part of the city, but not before finding some delicious dim sum.  I did a bit of research beforehand and found Tim Ho Wan restaurant in Mong Kok.   Not only is it Michelin rated, but it’s SUPER cheap!  We ate plates of dim sum for no more than $20 and walked out feeling more than full.  Afterwards, we hopped on the MTR and headed toward Diamond Hill to walk around the Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery.  

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The garden is fairly new, having been commissioned in 2006, and is a nice break from the urban setting.  The Chi Lin Nunnery was founded in 1934 but rebuilt in the 1990s.  The buildings are built in the style of traditional architecture from the Tang Dynasty, which uses the interlocking of the wood to keep the structures in place and contains no iron nails.  One can see statues of the Sakyamuni Buddha (actual Gautama Buddha), Guanyin, and other bodhisattvas.  I recommend for anyone wanting to see a bit of traditional culture and needing a break from the usual hustle-and-bustle of the city.

***

I recently discovered writer, Anaïs Nin, who kept journals spanning 60 years, starting at age 11 and up until her death.  I think of the first journal I kept, around age 8, and how I’ve kept them (or these blogs) through the years.  I love looking back and reading through, seeing what my concerns were at the time, seeing who I loved, seeing what I found it worthwhile to write about.  I kept two journals through Japan, writing almost every day.

A few of Nin’s writings strike me particularly:

“You can not save people.  You can only love them.”

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” ― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 7: 1966-1974

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”

Triathlons, Temples, Typhoons, Oh-my!

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Today the winds have been continuously howling from a typhoon that is offshore, and luckily for me, that translated into an extra–much-needed –day off from work.

Recently a work colleague asked if I wanted to participate in a local triathlon, and since I am training for the Fuji Marathon in November, I decided to take him up on the offer.  I am a distance runner, swimmer, but I don’t have my own road bike at the moment and so that was the one portion of the race I wasn’t sure about.  I actually have never ridden a road bike…well….ever.  Needless to say it was going to be an interesting experience!  There is actually a lot more that goes into doing a multi-event race than just a run, because there is all this extra gear and the placement of the gear.  Some people really take the time to arrange things just perfectly.  Let me tell you how that goes in reality: “Oh my god, oh my god gotta move–going so slow–oh crap is the shirt inside-out?  WHY CAN’T I GET THESE BIKE SHORTS ON?!  Okay getting on the bike…crap, wait I have to walk the bike to the course entrance point…ok run the bike there–ok on the bike.  HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN RIDING??  HOW MUCH LONGER??”  And then my personal favorite is the transition from the bike to the run, because YOUR LEGS FEEL LIKE JELLO.  I ended up hitting all the times I was aiming for, so for a first race it was successful.

Yesterday we headed up to Kamakura because a friend was visiting and we wanted to show him some of the local heritage sites.  We took the enoden from Kamakura station to Hase station and made our way to Kotoku-in, which is the temple housing the Dai-Butsu, or Great Buddha of Kamakura.

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The structure that stands today may or may not be the original, which dates back to 1252, during the Kamakura Period.  Originally, the Buddha was enclosed in a hall, but a tsunami in 1498 washed it away, and the Buddha has stood in the open air since.  The structure was also orignally gilded, but having been exposed to the elements, it has all but faded entirely.  A notice on the entrance to the grounds reads:

“Stranger, whosoever thou art and whatsoever be thy creed, when thou enterest this sanctuary remember thou treadest upon ground hallowed by the worship of ages. This is the Temple of Bhudda and the gate of the eternal, and should therefore be entered with reverence.”

Our next stop was Hasedera, a temple dedicated to Kannon.  The temple is on the side of a hill and offers some impressive views of the Kamakura shoreline.  The main structure on the grounds houses a giant wooden statue of Kannon.  The legend goes, a monk once carved two statues of Kannon from great tree.  One was enshrined in Nara, the other set adrift to find the place it had a connection with.  It washed ashore in Kamakura and was enshrined there.

ShintoYoung woman in a kimono partakes in purification before ascending the mountain to the main complex.

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Jizo

 

Jizo

 

Statues offered by parents mourning miscarried, stillborn, or aborted foetuses to the Buddhist deity Ksitigarbha, or “Jizo” as he is known in Japanese.

Hase-Dera

 

Kamakura

 

 

 

Tsukiji Fish Market

Oh my goodness I think it’s been over a MONTH since I’ve last written! My job has kept me quite busy–not much travel since China but I do have a little to write about. I refuse to talk about work on here because it’s actually quite dreadful at times, but something of note did occur recently. I was selected among many applicants to begin pursuing a much more specialized pipeline. What that means for me is more opportunities and MORE TRAVEL! Because let’s face it, that’s what really motivates me at the end of the day.

Another item of note is that within the last few weeks I’ve drastically changed my diet. Unfortunately my worst vice is I am an avid Coke Zero drinker, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to kick the habit just yet, but I’ve really begun to incorporate much more tea and water into my daily routine. Green tea, Oolong tea, and Peppermint tea are my favorites. Tea is one of those things you actually can drink as much as you want of; and Green Tea actually has hydrating properties. All teas have health benefits because of their anti-oxidants, including but not limited to catalysts for weight loss, cancer prevention, and anti-aging. You can read more about the health benefits of tea here.

I’ve also been incorporating much more protein, potassium, and healthy lipids into my diet, and it’s helped me lose a few of those stubborn pounds that I’ve been trying to lose for years. For me, since I am a distance runner, I often find I am plagued with painful cramps in my calves after runs. Potassium greatly alleviates this problem. With regard to weight loss, the secret is there is no secret. A healthy diet and exercise are ultimately what it comes down to. With the emphasis placed on DIET.

Anyway, on to the travel! This weekend we made our way up to Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, which is the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. The market opens up at 3 AM and products are shipped in from all over the world.

We stayed in the APA Hotel nearby, which was affordable and clean. The rooms were quite small (typical of Japanese hotels), yet convenient with comfortable beds.

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And no Japanese hotel room is complete without the attention to detail:

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We left our hotel at 3:45 AM only to find the tickets for the daily auction (starting at 5:20 AM) were already sold out by 3:15! So we took a walk by the Tsukiji Shrine, ate some fresh, early morning sushi at a nearby restaurant, and made our way back to our hotel for a few more hours of sleep before returning later that day.

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Specialized knives for cutting fish for sale in Tsukiji Market

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More adventures to follow!