Fujiyama Mama!

Woodblock made ca. 1930 exactly the same way a...
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One of the greatest disappointments of last year was that I did not get to climb Mt. Fuji. I didn’t realize that it’s only open to climbers in July and August, and there simply was not a reasonable time to go do it. But this year…I am determined! Not only Fuji, but thanks to the fun Japanese trend of being a “yama girl,” I’m ready to making hiking a fabulous new hobby of mine. So what’s a yama girl?

Yama means “mountain” in Japanese, so it’s a girl who hikes and wears adorable, colorful clothing. Typically, it’s boots with tight and leg warmers, and some type of skirt or shorts, then, either a puffy jacket or vest over a bright shirt. It’s practical, it’s fun, it’s… SUPER EXPENSIVE. I started out by looking for funky hiking stuff online and found almost nothing. Then, I realized most of these items are made for a Japanese market, so I googled sporting goods stores, and went out in Tokyo, also hoping to find derby clothes. What I found was a street with about 50 stores on it, mostly dedicated completely to snowboarding. Then, I stumbled upon an outdoor mecca, and the yama girl stuff was everywhere. Oooooh! I was so excited! I ran up to a puffy coat like a moth to a flame. How much is it? $600? What the #%*???  There was almost nothing at all in the store under $50 at all, to include bandannas, socks, etc. It’s true that the dollar is weak against the yen now, and Japan is an expensive place, but c’mon!

I’ll have figure out a thriftier way! I did find some cheap fair isle leggings and the PX and I got a puffy 80’s Adidas vest on clearance, so I’ve started. Now I just need to get outside!

Further Reading:

http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/articles/crazy-mountain-girls-tokyo

http://www.webleague.net/korekire/wear/outdoorstyle.html

http://www.thegearcaster.com/the_gearcaster/2010/11/i-want-to-be-a-yama-girl-too.html

Shoo-ooes!

I recently went to my first Meetup, via www.meetup.com, to see an exhibit of Vivienne Westwood Shoes in Tokyo’s elegant Omotesando Hills . I thought it would be a nice way to see if meetups were worthwhile, and to check out something interesting. I’ve always thought of Vivienne Westwood as one of the pioneers of the original “punk” look, but that’s about all I knew. They had a lot of background on her at the event and it seems she and Malcolm Mclaren sort of engineered and styled the Sex Pistols, which seems a decidedly un-punk rock thing to do, but perhaps I don’t understand it very well.

The meetup group consisted of 22 people, about 75% Japanese. After perusing Lady Gaga’s shoe closet the exhibition, we went to a nearby restaurant and had some drinks and appetizers, and mostly spoke about cultural differences, chiropractors, and a little about art. No one mentioned punk rock, so clearly they are not going to be life-long friends of mine.

It was pleasant enough, and a good way to get out and see and learn new things. Like, for example, this pair of penis shoes (prolly NSFW). While looking at them, a conversation about how to walk up and down stairs in something like that led to me learning that Australians call pointy shoes “winklepickers,” which is adorably strange, and my word of the day.

The Winner!

I like to play a little game with myself called, “let’s see how long I can wait before going to a grocery store,” and I’m pretty sure that this weekend, I won the game! Last night when I came home and wanted to eat something, there really was nothing, other than some ginger hard candies, peanut butter, mayo, and honey. Don’t worry, I did not eat those things. I also did not eat breakfast, although a nice PB and mayo ball was sounding more and more delicious as time passed.

This is not about dieting. It’s about how annoying groceries are, and how wasteful I can be. Sometimes it seems that my life can really be distilled down to me taking things in and out of my apartment. Buy groceries, bring inside, take trash outside, repeat. This will always happen, but with how difficult it is to sort trash here, and how far away I have to park, I dread both the “carrying in” and “carrying out” portions of this process. So here’s my best plan: breakfast, every day, is oatmeal with peanut butter and honey. Lunch is eaten out or at the office. Dinner is a can of soup, a protein shake, or nothing. Then all I have to buy is oatmeal and soup. And if I bump into Ryan Gosling on the streets of Tokyo tomorrow, I can just run off with him and not have to worry about milk rotting in my fridge.

I *might* need a housekeeper. Also, let it be known that I literally live above a grocery store.

Physically Insane!

Whenever I go to the gym, the first thing I do is remove all the necessary items from my gym bag to make sure they are present. You will learn to do this after you get completely changed and then realize you only brought one shoe, no shoes, no shorts, no sports-bra, forgot socks, or brought two similar, but entirely different shoes, as I once did, as a result of being very stupid. Today I was disappointed to realize that I’d accidentally brought a really strange outfit: a big baggy t-shirt and tiny little skirt. Oh well, I figured, it’s Friday night, and I figure all the cool people are not at the gym anyway. Besides, I should just be proud and rock my spongebob squarepants’ body shape!

I was right. There were only 2 people in the treadmill room, both getting ready to leave. After jogging for about 5 minutes, I just slipped my silly minimalist shoes off, and ran in my hot pink stocking feet. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Despite their sleek look, nothing about that pair of New Balances resembles being barefoot in the slightest. I did some sprint intervals and, my goodness, I felt like a newborn animal, just learning how its legs work for the first time. I certainly did not feel a sudden lightness or running ability. I felt like I’d never used my body before, much less trotted along on this strange pair of legs.

I’m going to keep it up and see if it gets easier! I really think I can run in neon socks on the treadmill, even if people are around. We’ll see. I might be turning into that ‘eccentric’ lady, but I’m okay with that. Maybe I’ll also start jogging backwards or doing weird treadmill exercises to freak people out. Um…those look hard. Maybe not!

J-U-M-P!

I have a lot of jumping pictures. I think they’re fun, and they bring life to the mundane. The bad news is that I’m really bad at organizing them. I’m hoping this medium will provide me with an opportunity to edit these pics, and perhaps even make something worthwhile in the meantime. For now, here’s one of my unedited favorites:

We are all rabbits.