Wins, challenges, and a new journey

It's been three weeks since we came back to Canada. Wow, time flies. I must say that I'm very happy to be back on my routine. Meeting some friends and talking about my trip to Japan gives me a new perspective as well.

Here I'm going to go through my wins and challenges of my 35 days in Japan.


  • We had a blast. I took my kids out to more places than ever. They got spoiled by their grandmother and aunt. Some of the highlights were Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Disneyland, Oedo Onsen, and a trip to Nagano. We had a great time catching up with some of our old friends. Good times.
  • My youngest learned a bit of Japanese.
  • I went to see my dad a lot, and was able to reconnect with him. I probably chatted with him more than my 38 years with him put all together. It was great to get to know him. It made me realize the importance of communication. Having conversation with others is vital in our lives. Why would we learn how to speak a language and communicate with others if we didn't have to use it?
  • I had my dad move a little bit. It was all passive on his end, and I did most of the work, but both he and I saw a tiny bit of improvement and that was a huge win.
  • I moved things along a little bit in terms of where and how to care my dad. Keeping him in the hospital where he is now was never my option, and I'm happy that we will be moving him to a new place where he has a chance to be more active.
  • I got a little bit of load off of my mom's shoulders once we decided to move my dad to a different place. Just the prospect of her not having to attend my dad 24/7 was a great relief.
  • I had a chance to talk to my mom and sister about what they think about the situation and what their positions are. This will give me a better idea on what needs to be taken into account when we talk about the next step. Especially, it was great to see how my sister is taking on this whole thing.
  • I got to visit 2 CrossFit gyms in Tokyo and made great friends there. I love the feeling of the community wherever I go. Each box has its own unique characters but you are part of the big family no matter where you are from. CrossFit rocks.
  • I'm even more strongly convinced that Life By Design IS the answer to the optimal health and living. Whenever I ate off track, I felt sick. Whenever I felt less focused, I was able to spot why. I felt awesome every time I went training. Making choices was rather easy even though I was challenged with some big issues in the family. 
  • We got our spine checked by Dr. Sachio once. Once is better than none.


  • My oldest wanted to spend more time with his friends. In the last coupe of years I sent the two boys to the local elementary school for a few weeks, but this year I didn't. Maybe next year I will consider signing them up for school again.
  • I was unable to stay on track in terms of Eating. I failed to plan.
  • I was unable to involve my family in Living By Design. I did not pick up many opportunities to even talk about it.
  • I could not see my dad stand on his both feet while I was there.
  • I did not record my video blogs as often as I wanted.
  • I wanted to reach out to some other chiropractors in Tokyo, but I didn't.

Now I have a clearer vision as to bringing Life By Design to Japan. I'm looking forward to spending each and every day toward my vision and purpose.
In the meantime, I will keep in touch with my family and stay connected.

This wraps up my 30 Day Challenge this summer. For those who checked my blog regularly and sent me encouragement, I really appreciate your support. Thank you very much.


Day 33 & 34

Day 33 & 34 : Keep moving

Day 33
I made an appointment with a counsellor at the home for 2:00pm on Monday. Mom and I along with my boys went on yet another train ride to Zushi. Believe it or not, this was the first and last time my boys got to go out with their grandma this time, and it actually was the only time she went out of the house during our stay. Just getting her out was an accomplishment in itself. 

When I was little, we used to go to the Zushi area all the time, so we were all familiar with the place. My mom seemed very happy to feel the breeze from the sea. She grew up near the sea, so it was a smell of her hometown.
The home was located just over 5 min cab ride from the station. We got there a bit too early but our counsellor greeted us and we started to talk about the facility and other details.
Then we got to see all the floors in the building. The bedrooms, dining room, recreation area, rehabilitation area, baths etc. They have a clinic in the same building, which has quite a lot of beds for in-patients as well.
All in all, I really liked the facility. I thought it'd be a great change for both my dad and mom.
There is still one thing that we as a family need to agree on before they can proceed, and that is about the emergency treatment when the resident of the home is found in a critical condition. As soon as that clears, my dad could be moved to the new place as early as at the end of August. I was pretty excited about the idea of moving my dad to this new place and start getting him moving more. Sadly, I will not see that happen in person. I just hope that the rest of the process will go smoothly.

After the talk with the counsellor, we took a cab and headed to a beach in Kamakura. I really wanted to take my boys to see the real sea, and it was a perfect opportunity that I just could not miss. It was a windy day and the waves were pretty high, but we put our bathing suits on and jumped in water. It was awesome to see my boys knocked over by the force of the water, taste the real sea water, get covered in the beach sand, and feel the sticky salty breeze. We stayed on the beach for only a couple of hours, but I'm sure that the boys enjoyed the time there.

Then we walked to the Kamakura station, and stopped at a very fancy restaurant for dinner. We enjoyed "shabu-shabu". Feeling very full and tired, we headed back home.

Day 34
It was our last full day in Tokyo. I was busy packing our suitcases. I needed to ship them out to the airport so I didn't have to bring them all on the train. Just one of the many perks of living in Japan.
Then I took my boys out to see my dad for one last time. My youngest was all sad because he got to see his grandpa only twice this time. I felt bad. He is right. I should have taken the boys along more often.
Dad was waiting for us. As soon as he saw us, he started to get up, so he could get on a wheelchair. With some help of a nurse, he sat on a wheelchair and we went to the lounge to chat.
I told him about the home, and some other things. My boys didn't have much to say.
After a short while in the lounge, Dad wanted to go back to his bed to lay down. I called the nurse again for help. Once he was back on bed, I started to do the usual exercise. We did only a little bit. Then we said goodbye to him. I encouraged him to work on his strength. He smiled and said "Yes."

This concludes my 5 weeks in Japan.
In my next post, I will go through my wins and challenges.


Day 31 & 32

Day 31 & 32 : Wrapping up my CrossFit journey in Tokyo

Day 31: CrossFit Chikara
I missed my regular Wednesday training because we went to Nagano, and I wasn't sure if I could squeeze another session at Chikara next week before we leave for Canada, so I decided to go on Saturday.
Apparently it's very busy there on Saturdays. They have 4 classes and they were pretty much all full.
We did max effort box jump. I missed my attempt for 35 inches and scraped my left shin. Oops. I think I can jump high but I'm not fast enough to bring my feet up.
Then we did 7 rounds of 7 pull-ups, 7 box jumps, and 7 DB ground to overhead. I was paired up with a woman from California. I got to rest while my partner was doing her rounds, so it wasn't too bad. I got to meet some new people who either just moved to Tokyo or just dropped in. I definitely have to bring my husband along next time.
I took some pictures with the group and Coach Shingo. Awesome.

Then I went to see my dad. On Friday I asked him if I could bring my kids to the hospital before we left for Canada, and he thought I would be bringing them on Saturday. He looked a bit disappointed when I showed up just by myself. Apparently he was telling the nurses that his grandsons were coming and was excited about getting on a wheelchair and chatting with them in the lounge. He was so disappointed that he didn't want to sit up on bed for me. Oh well.

Day 32 : Reebok CrossFit Musashino
Today was Sunday and I went to train at Musashino. It was my first time training for two days in a row. Wahoo! When I contacted Coach Miki last night, he was like "We were wondering where you were!!" because I didn't show up yesterday. It was kinda cool to see that I was already a staple there on weekends.
Today's menu was more focused on mobility. Then the WOD was 3 rounds of 15 power cleans and 20 DB clean & thrusters. I was paired up with Anna. She was very strong and did her cleans unbroken.
I stayed for a bit after training and chatted with Coach Miki. He said that it was nice to have some "experienced" crossfitter in class. I felt very flattered.
I also took some pictures with them.
I sure am going to miss them a lot.

Then I had a quick late lunch, spent some time in a coffee shop, and headed to see my dad.
He's been eating well for the last few days. He didn't complain about the hip pain today while exercising. He also told me that the nurse pointed out that he had some urination today. According to him, it was his first time for a long time. I'm not sure if I should be excited about it, but I guess seeing any kind of normal physiological response is a good sign.
Today I told him one important thing. I told him that it would be a process before he could actually come home. It depends on how much he can improve after rehabilitation, and also depends on how ready his family members will be, especially my mother. I told him that she is not only injured but also very emotionally hurt. She needs time to recover and be ready to have him home again. He didn't say anything.
He didn't want to sit up today, so I just had him on his side and massaged along his spine. I asked him to be ready to sit in a wheelchair when I bring my boys to him on Tuesday. 

Tomorrow, my mom and I will go and check out the home we are hoping to move my dad to. We are taking the boys along, so we've decided to make it a big day trip. If everything goes well, we might be able to hit the beach on our way back. 


Day 28-30

Day 28-30 : Meeting old friends

On Wednesday, me and my three boys headed for Nagano to see my old friends.
We left home around 9:30 am. From Tokyo station, we took the Asama bullet train. We bought bento at the station, and enjoyed our lunch on the train.

Our first stop was Karuizawa, where one of my high school / university friends live with her family. They just had a baby girl in May and I really wanted to see her and their awesome cottage house.
We got picked up at Karuizawa station, and drove through a forest and there was this beautiful house right in the middle of woods. I admire their decision to move from the big city to this quiet peaceful place full of nature. They have a fireplace and her husband and their son cut down trees from their property and make their own logs. Must have been a big change for everyone, but they seemed to really love it.
We spent a few hours there. The boys had fun playing with their son, and I had a great time chatting with my good old friend. The baby girl was adorable. Oh how soft a baby girl felt...

Then we spent some time in the outlet mall by the station and I spoiled my boys with new shoes and t-shirts from Nike and Adidas. We also enjoyed their famous soft cream. Good times.

After that we got back on the bullet train and headed to Nagano. There, our all time family favourite woman was waiting for us. She drove us all the way to Nakano, where my husband taught English at junior high schools for three years. She made us an awesome dinner, and we got to hang out with her family. Her son was home for holidays, and my boys loved playing with him.

The next day, we decided to visit the famous monkey park, where the wild snow monkeys live near the hot spring. You can see them have a bath in the hot spring. We parked the car and walked through the woods for some 20 minutes. We got to see some cute baby monkeys too. 

Then we had late lunch at a noodle restaurant nearby. We enjoyed their buckwheat noodles. After lunch, we stopped by a local hot spring for a quick dip in a hot tub, then headed back to our friend's place. After a short break there, we said goodbye to her family, and she drove us back to Nagano station. We wanted to drop by the famous Zenkoji temple but unfortunately a big thunderstorm hit us on our way, so we just went right to the station to catch yet another bullet train back to Tokyo.

She is such an awesome woman. It was great that I got to talk a bit about Life By Design with her and her husband.

We had a great time in Nagano. I'm so glad that I made this trip this time with my children. Next time will be with my husband for sure. In terms of eating, it was not By Design, but we sure had fun and lots of walking in the nature. I even carried my youngest on my back and walked up the long stairs ;)

Today was a bit of a slow day for us all, but we had great news. The social worker at my dad's hospital worked very hard for us while we were enjoying our trip. She put all the papers together and sent them to the nursing home and she asked me to contact the home already. I called the home to arrange the interview for Monday. Things are moving forward, and I'm happy that I can be a part of the big process before I leave for Canada.

I went to see my dad in the afternoon. He was his usual self, saying he was tired and all that stuff. But as soon as I started our regular routine exercise, I noticed that he felt stronger today. He was able to lift his hip much higher and more by himself. He started to roll over on bed so he could sit up before I asked him to. He was able to sit for a longer time. Wow. I feel pumped. How could I not get excited!! I'm certain that as soon as he starts receiving more systematic rehabilitation program, he will see a big improvement. I just need to figure out the way to keep him motivated.

Tomorrow I'm going to Chikara CrossFit. I think this is going to be the last workout at Chikara. On Sunday I will go to Musashino and that will conclude my CrossFit journey in Tokyo.


Day 23-27

Day 23-27: Decision making days

I was off blogging but I sure was busy making decisions for my dad with my mom and sister.

On Friday after the potluck with my neighbour families, I went to see my dad. He seemed well, and he told me that he had lunch sitting up in a wheel chair and he ate more than half of it. Then he went on about how he could raise his hip a bit when a nurse asked him to. I took that opportunity to explain how much his body could still adapt to even a small exercise he'd been doing with me. With proper programming and constant work, he'd see a remarkable change. And I said, "That is what rehabilitation is all about." To that, his response was, "I did not know that. I thought rehabilitation was bullying. But I think you're right. It makes sense."
I felt motivated. I felt very encouraged. We need to keep communicating with him.
On that night, I decided to just have a talk. Originally I wanted to have a chat with my sister first to see what she'd got to say, but I did not want to wait any longer.
The talk with my mom and my sister got a little emotional at times. Yes, I'd seen how hard it had been dealing with my dad's conditions. But the last three years I was away from home, things got a bit chaotic. I understand all the emotions and feelings that my mom and my sister have toward my dad. I do not blame them for feeling that way. It's just that I have changed my beliefs and I've become a new person. 
We came to the decision to move my dad to a "home (I don't know what it should be called in English)" that provides with a rehabilitation program. The best option I could think of to keep my dad under better care while keeping my mom's sanity.
A lot of things that were discussed that night really put me into deep thoughts. The purpose of life, sacrificing yourself for something that has no value to yourself, or the fact that you can't change someone's mind but you can never assume that that person will never change. Hearing "It is too late." is something I can never accept.

I believe that every human being is designed to be extraordinary. Sick or healthy, young or old. It's never too late.
I also do know that the change must come from within. I cannot change anyone's mind. I can only speak what I believe.

At least now we have a direction. I've already get the process started with the social worker at the hospital. It will be a long process and it's going to take up to 12 months before we can actually move my dad to a new place. It will be a challenge to keep communicating with my dad, keep him motivated and encouraged, and making sure that he gets the minimum amount of daily movement. At the same time, my family all need to recover and regain the strength and start living the life they deserve. For the rest of my stay here in Japan, it is my duty to speak about the importance of it all.

So that was the big part of my missing days.

The rest of it went like this.

Day 23
Potluck at my neighbour's. My meatball was NOT a hit among the kids. LOL. My middle son devoured the entire bowl of edamame. I found it interesting that one of the moms asked me about my training and what my body fat percentage was. She also compared my arm to a professional tennis player. I could not help but noticing the distance between her and myself.

Day 24
CrossFit training at Reebok CrossFit Musashino. Coach Miki destroyed us all, although he joined the team and did most of the weighted walking lunge. My quads are still sore.

Day 25
There was a huge thunderstorm in the afternoon, and I missed my window to visit my dad, but it cleared up by the evening, so I took the kids to a traditional dance festival called "Bon-odori" at the local elementary school. My older two boys found their old friends there and we all had a great time. 

Day 26
I went to talk to the social worker at the hospital, and then saw my dad in the morning. Then we went out with the neighbour families for pizza lunch and bowling fun. It's becoming our annual event.

Day 27
My youngest and I went to pick up his new Japanese passport. Then I went to see my dad. He was getting anxious about moving to a new place, but I told him that it'd be a long while. After dinner, we had a huge firework fun with our neighbour families.

Tomorrow my kids and I are heading to Nagano to see some of my old friends. I'm excited that the kids get to go on a bullet train.


Day 22

Day 22 : More spoiling!!

Today I took my boys to the Oedo Onsen hot spring. This is the favourite place of my boys, and it's been an annual visit on our summer vacation. It is a natural hot spring in the middle of Tokyo, where they have all these different hot tubs and the summer festival-like atmosphere from good old days. Visitors wear yukata in the building, which has a food court, an arcade, and all the traditional Japanese games.
My sister had a business meeting in the morning, but was able to join us from lunch time. All my boys got absolutely spoiled (again) and enjoyed their non By Design but taste so good food.

Tomorrow I'm going to a potluck lunch with my neighbour friends who have the same aged children. I'm bringing my slow cooked chilli meatballs.


Day 21

Day 21 : Pancake bomb

I should really go get checked soon...

Today I woke up, made breakfast, and did some things around the house, then noticed that my middle son had some tummy issue. I suspected that his body was reacting to all the crap he ate yesterday. I reminded myself that I needed to really get back on track.
But I failed to plan accordingly. So I ended up failing. When I got back home from training and the usual hospital visit, there was an iMessage from my oldest that I never received. He said that the middle one was unusually upset and aggressive, and that his thought was it was something to do with the pancake that their grandma made for lunch.
The middle one continued to have some tummy issues for the rest of the day, and even the other ones were a bit gassy.
I thought I made it clear not to feed my kids any wheat. I thought my mom accepted it. But I failed to make sure that my kids would be fed well.
I never explained in the way that my middle son is especially sensitive to the wheat. I did not make it sound like it was a problem specific to him. It might have been easier if I had said more like he is really sensitive and that is why we all avoid certain foods. But it's just simply not true.
Again I need to revise my strategies...
The cool part of this story is that my oldest actually made connection between the pancake and his brother's unusual mood. I mean, how many 13 year olds would every say that?

All this happened while I was busy training and meeting my dad. I went to CrossFit Chikara. I got to do some snatch, and back squat, so I was very pleased. I was very confused with the weight in metric, and felt kinda sad because all the numbers get smaller. LOL. I just used the 15 kg bar for snatch. After the session, Coach Shingo said, "Shoko-san, you are strong!!" It made my day. Coach Otoya, although I was not aware that he was watching the training, said that my hip joint is tight and my knees get pushed past my toes. I'll keep that in mind and work on my hip mobility.

I went back to my home station, had some green curry for late lunch, and then headed to the hospital.

My dad seemed like he was in a better mood today. He said he was on a wheel chair for a while. When I asked him if he went around the hallway, he said no, because he didn't feel like it. He didn't want to sit up with me either. He needed to be motivated.
I told him that I believe his body still has the ability to get better, and for his body to get better, he must give his body what it needs. But unless he wants to get better, unless he decides to change, no one can make him better. It's his own body that is going to heal itself.
At first, he rejected. He said there's not much he can do about it. But I said the same thing one more time, he raised his feet and moved them by himself.
Unlike his statement, I see so many things that need to be done. At this moment, any movement is a plus for him, but if he wants to see any results, he needs to have a program, a strategy, a good coach, family to support and encourage him, consistent work and time. It's not going to be easy, though he doesn't seem to think so. Haha.

Still a lot to be figured out here. I really need to make time to talk with my family.

Tomorrow I will take my boys out to the Oedo Onsen hot spring. Should be fun.