September 21st, 2014

forgot to sleep by amaralen

working out and cooking

Someone just asked in thequestionclub, "How do you motive yourself to work out when you feel what's the point, always going to be chunky, have no one to impress, food is tasty." (Original post here.)

Here's my answer:

I'm going to start on a tangent, so bear with me here.

Are you curious about food? Like, maybe you read a menu and go, "Oooh! I want to try that! And that looks so good too! And that!" Or you go to a grocery store you've never been to and end up with a month's supply of food because everything looks so good? Maybe you read an article in a newspaper or a magazine, like, one about different kinds of salt, and go, "I want to try every one of those!" Or a new way to make chocolate cake, and think, "I've never tried it that way, but that sounds really good!"

That's how I think about workouts. Like, maybe you don't like just spinning the wheels of your exercise bike. I think of that like raw, washed, plain spinach. I have some friends who can do the exercise bike thing, and some who really enjoy plain spinach. I can't do either. And if spinning the wheels of an exercise bike is like raw spinach, some spinning classes are like spinach fried in bacon grease. There's a heck of a lot of ways you can rock an exercise bike-- just like there's a heck of a lot of really delicious things you can do with spinach!

If I take a class and it bores me, or if I plain don't like it, or can't handle it, I'm not sad, any more than I am when I try a yummy-sounding recipe or dish in a restaurant and it turns out kinda blah. It's probably just not your thing. Or maybe it's not your thing just yet, or maybe you don't like the instructor. Whatever. There are as many kinds of workouts as there are kinds of food-- you can't ever stop learning about them, or get tired.

Have you ever felt that weird feeling deep in your belly when you do Pilates? And felt like you were standing about three inches taller after the class? Or the blissed-out relax after a tough yoga class? How about splashing around in the pool-- with some air-filled dumbbells? See how much you could push your muscles on the weight machines, and enjoyed that rich sensation as you really worked them? Or the loose fluidity of Tai Ch'i? Found muscles you never knew about during a bellydance class? Maybe you like the scenery of biking through a mountain path?

My point is not just that there are lots of different kinds of workouts and there might be one you like. My point is, you can see the different body traditions of the world kind of like different kinds of food. Or different books, for that matter. Just like you can be like, "Ooh, that Shanghai-style braised pork belly sounds so delicious," you can say, "Ooh, Tai Ch'i sounds interesting." Trying the pork belly once doesn't mean that you must cook it every day for the rest of your life-- but if you like it, you've got another awesome dish you'll always be able to turn to. It's not a "I hope this one will finally work with me,"-- it's more like "I wonder what this one will be like?" You don't have to commit to anything, and you don't have to pick one. If you're not trying to slim down, all the better: you can just enjoy the workouts for the fun of it!
was sleeping

JLPT and Tokyo

It's that time of year again: the grapes and pears are in the supermarkets, it's cold enough to wear a sweater, the fall is coming. This means it's time to take the JLPT again. This is the third year in a row I've taken the JLPT, so it's become a ritual for me. I suspect that even if I pass with flying colors this time, I'll find myself taking it again next year if I still live here. Why not? After all, another year probably would improve my score again.

This year I'm going to take it in Tokyo with a friend who lives nearby. He's going for the JLPT 2. I'm researching hotels again, because why not? I'll get to learn more about Tokyo this way.

Right now I'm checking out Shibuya hotels, because the test is in Tokyo University, and the train for Tokyo University leaves from Shibuya. I don't think I'll find one, because Shibuya is one of the hottest parts of Tokyo, but it's always worth a look. Anyway, half the hotels I call up have crazy expensive rates-- like $300 a night-- and the other half are love hotels that don't have rooms with 2 beds and charge by the hour. And even though it's almost 3 months away, a lot of the crazy expensive ones are already booked solid for December! That's Tokyo for you.