Monthly Archives: May 2013


My friends and I wanted to try another fairly local hike, so we chose one going over a mountain in Kobe. It was nice – not too steep, and just the right length (about 4 hours). Here’s a few pics 🙂

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Fitness update!

Well, I’m still losing, slowly. The cost of going to the local pool is just too prohibitive, so I have been doing what I can locally in the last couple of weeks. It seems to be working –  I am down 12kg now. More importantly I went for my annual blood test last week. A year ago I had high cholesterol, and everything else was at the upper end of normal. Now my cholesterol is perfect, and everything else is great as well. Honestly, this makes it all worth it!

I have been working on trying to build muscle. I really like the reebok channel exercise I linked to in this post, and have been trying a couple of the low impact fitness blender exercises. These really challenge me!

I have also been walking and hiking whenever my legs seem up to it. It seemed that the moment my left knee got better, I started having pain in my right ankle/ shin. I’m really, really hoping it’s not shin splints. If it doesn’t get better in a few days I’ll see my doctor about it. But it frustrates me, as I only have a couple of months left to take in Japan, and my favourite way to do that is to hike around.

I have been more on track with my food. I have finally managed to acquire coconut butter, so have been using it to cook with. A friend and I finally found it in the make your own soap section of a craft store (food grade, don’t worry!). I’ve also been spending more money than I should to get good fruits and vegetables, but that’s Japan for ya.

So that’s me + health and fitness at the moment. I’m getting there, and I am still enjoying it. I just wish silly injuries wouldn’t be so present. Gah!


This was from a hike a couple of weeks back. Japan, I will miss you.

Cheap Japanese Accomodation – The trusty internet cafe!

The other day I had some paperworky stuff to do, and my printer ran out of ink, so I headed to the trusty internet cafe (also known as a manga cafe). While I was there, I figured I’d grab a few photos, since internet cafes are pretty much the cheapest form of accommodation in Japan. They have been set up to cater for partying salarymen who miss the last train, or people who really, really need somewhere to crash in a pinch. Basically, you pay for your computer, which is in a little booth. You can choose between a mat booth, or a reclining chair booth.

It typically costs about 2000 yen a night ($20US or $25NZ ish). Most tend to have other facilities, such as shower rooms, drinks and food. Totally worth it for a quiet night sleep. There are lockers you can use for your valuables, if need be. I have found myself staying in internet cafes from time to time, and can attest that they are safe and comfortable. Occasionally they leave the lights on all night though, which makes it difficult to sleep.


This is the booth I used, with the reclinng chair (obviously). The chair was super comfortable – it was hard to actually do my work. (Forgive my mess!)


I grabbed a quick shot of an empty matt type booth. These are the ones I always choose to sleep in, and are comfortable. The only thing I would suggest is making sure you have something to use as a pillow.


There are showers. They are cheap to use. Note as well the wals of manga. There are thusands and thousands to choose from, if the internet is not your thing…


This one even had laundry facilities – I haven’t seen it in all of them. Food vending machines and free soft drinks are usually pretty standard.


A bug’s life

I saw these guys hanging from the bus stop the other day.

Fitness Update (Again)

Well, I’m still losing, slowly but surely. Just very slowly at the moment. Very slowly.

That may have to do with the fact I’ve been a bit lax in the food department recently – working to get back on the wagon, and actually be smart with my calories. That doesn’t mean none of the good stuff though – I’m excited to be trying Cold Stone ice cream for the first time on Monday 😀 – after we hike for four hours!

I’ve started to get back into running. My knee is almost better, but still not perfect. At my doctors insistance, I’m taking it slow. I’ve gone back to week four of Couch to 5K, as it provides me with rests in between my running bursts, but still enough running to feel like I’ve had a good workout. It’s incredibly frustrating doing all the work to get to 5k, to find my knee injured and that I have to go backwards, not forwards, but that’s life.

I’m still trying to keep strength and flexibility training in there. I have been doing a fair bit of yoga (I still like Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown the best) and have started using my wristweights to do some of the strength exercises Reebok puts on their channel. I’ve found these to be quite effective – still feeling the burn after 3 days in my waist! I’ve added one of the videos in the series so you know what I mean. I look nowhere near as glamorous!

I’ve also been trying to hike as much as I can. I love hiking. It’s free, fun and good exercise. I am especially excited to be hiking in my last few months in Japan – I love rural Japan, and think hikling is a really, really great way to see the country. I’m also looking at different hikes I can do when I visit home in New Zealand later this year and then go to the US. I love seeing how forest and mountains change from country to country.

Taiwan, Days 4 and 5: Highlights

After getting back from Taroko Gorge, we were extremely tired, and didn’t do a huge amount. We dropped our bags back at your hostel, and went for lunch at Modern Toilet. Modern Toilet is a theme restaurant, based around toilets. You eat out of toilets, you sit on toilets, you get your desserts in toilets, your drinks come in urinals – you get the idea. I had been previously and the food left a bit to be desired. I figured I’d give it another go though – unfortunately it was a tad worse!



We spent the rest of the day wandering around shops in Taipei, and trying foods and drinkks we came across. It was delicious! I had my first ever Cheesesteak – Amanda is from Philadelphia, and hadn’t had a cheesesteak in years! She assured me they tasted at quite authentic!

The next day we rode up the gondola on the outskirts of the city. We waited a while to get into a crystal cabin, where the floor was glass and see through. It was worth it!


Aren’t Amanda’s earrings pretty?


At the top, we wandered round and found a hiking trail. We decided to go for a wander, even though we were both completely inappropriately dressed for it. It was a nice walk through tea fields, flower gardens and rolling hills.


You know a trail will be good when the entrance is this cute!




We ended the day at the top of Taipei 101. Unfortunately my camera batteries were dead so I don’t have anny good photos!