I'm currently in the Peak district doing some hiking (or as the
British call it walking - even if it's straight up a mountain).
I had forgotten that I had pre-scheduled a post to up yesterday but
realized I was getting comments on www.
SmoothieGirlEatsToo.wordpress.com. Yes, that's right I'm making the
jump to Wordpress! Or possibly Self-hosted.
Travis (hubby to Lindsay of Lindsayslist.co) Wright is helping me make
the switch but nothing will be finalized until I'm home again with
some time to work on things like design/recipe tabs/workout tabs/cat
photo tabs etc.
Meanwhile you might see double posts on Blogger and Wordpress. I will
find out how to subscribe or receive my posts right into your email
in-box should anyone want to do this.
Meanwhile it's blisteringly hot here and we are slathered in sunscreen
about to do our last hike followed by a pub lunch. Steak & kidney pie
anyone? No, me neither.
Not only is it exciting to exercise in Japan, but it's ridiculously fun to eat there. Some of the food might not be on the food 'bucket list' of most Westerners: sashimi of horse, rooster comb or chicken; restaurants with every dish devoted to a different preparation of cow tongue, etc. So eating there can be an adventure, but it can also be a healthy and delicious one. Make no mistake, it is definitely possible to find tons of fried and calorie-dense food bombs, but it's also one of the easiest places to eat lean and love it.
I found the highly-rated and FREE(!) app "i-Translate" to be invaluable! Derek splashed out and got the voice-recognition version for .99 cents but we never used it. In theory, it seemed very handy, but in reality it felt a bit awkward...
"I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand you...could you please speak slowly and clearly into my phone? Oh wait, you don't speak a word of English. Never mind." We could have used the voice-recognition to translate English to Japanese, but we were always in noisy places. I used my free, non-voice recognition version to request annoying things like "no oil," "dressing on the side" and "no horse sashimi." But that's just me.
iTranslate...Best app ever! Dozens of languages and so easy to use!
----------------------------------------- By the way, this post is abridged (a
blessing in disguise perhaps?) because - as you can tell at the bottom - Blogger
(the site that hosts my blog) is, as always, making this post appear like a 4-year
old formatted it. When I decide to let Blogger back into my life and waste
more of my time fixing its formatting problems, I'll come back and share some
of Japan's healthiest grab-n-go food (bento heaven!), some very interesting packaged
snacks (think: squid!) plus some very cool sweets (green tea Kit Kats,
anyone?) FYI-This is why I blog once in a Supermoon. ---------------------------------------------------- Q: (I have to ask it up here because I can't type at
the bottom of the page do to the Blogger formatting "Issues")...Do you
like Japanese food? Sashimi (raw fish/other)? Have you been to Japan and have
an interesting food story? Or other Asian countries?
I figured that I could successfully make an exception to my "No-Breakfast" rule and indulge in the über-healthy Japanese version. I figured wrong. I paid the price in the form of inexplicable, constant, all-day-hunger. So I stopped the breakfasting after two days. The breakfasts, however, are nothing short of amazing. And more reminiscent of what Westerners consider dinner.
It looks like a lot of food (and it is), but the portions of each item are tiny
Most restaurants provide bins for your bags (keeping them off the floor)
A smattering of deliciousness: tofu, fish, egg, rice, picked vegetables (remember, this is a Japanese breakfast)
Love the small attentions to detail like this fishcake 'flower' atop the tofu.
Then there's lunch or dinner:
This place is actually NOT a sit-down establishment at all- there are no seats.
My dining companion and I (and anyone else) stand at the countertop and slurp our soup
I asked for an egg in my soup and the proprietor gave it to me: raw. I put on my big-girl/body-builder pants and sucked it down and I'm not gonna lie: I loved the raw yolk.
A bit rough on the outside, but don't let that fool you...the food in this bustling place was amazing
...we love locals-only places
Businessmen on a very quick but delicious lunch-break (tea was the beverage of choice at lunch but make no mistake, the booze is flowing - along with much laughter - with these guys at dinner time)
We often opted for sashimi - prices for this in Japan right now aren't out-of-control. I'd say they are cheaper than what you'd find in New York or San Francisco
Another joint that was unassuming from the outside, but the food was great.
What's not to love about this bowl of soupy-noodly-proteiny goodness?
Most of the (good) places have menus that are not written in English, so you just do what you must...
Time to take chances
And see what comes (yes, that's a fish head)
It's very common to see a 'sampling' of foods outside the restaurants
This food can't spoil: it's plastic- if you can't read the menu, you just go out and point to your dish of choice
I often feel that I actually make more of an effort to train while I'm out of town than when I'm settled at home. Part of the lure is that I'm curious to see how foreign gyms compare to those in the USA.
On a recent trip to Japan, I was lucky enough to find not one but two Gold's gyms in which to train. This was ridiculously fabulous because even though our hotel's website said that it had a gym on site, it failed to mention that it's a private gym and hotel guests are sadly not eligible to work out, even for a fee! My Gold's travel pass allowed me FREE training for the entire trip! (Just ask your Gold's gym to give you a travel card: it is good for 12 separate visits at any one club in a year, and most Gold's do not keep track. SCORE!)
The rest of the story can be told by photos:
In order for the front desk person to find my gym in Google Maps, I had to change the language to Japanese in my phone settings
Thank goodness for Google Maps.
Not glam, but this Gold's Gym was open 24 hours!
Believe it or not, this is the Japanese equivalent of our legendary Venice Beach location: the mecca of body-building.
South Tokyo Gold's
Someone nearly tackled me when I attempted to walk into the tatami-mat locker room with my street shoes. I should have known better!
In all Japanese homes and some small mom&pop restaurants, you take off your shoes at the door. They provide the slippers. LOVE this.
Wall of fame
Even Monica goes there!
There are many trainers and instructors
"Body Making Artist" ... I love it.
"Let's be me" ... Fabulous!
Most of these are pretty standard
So much for super-setting
Live-Fit enthusiasts might have a problem.
Wait, what?? Boo!
There are the usual machines and people
I did a lot of trial-and-error in getting my machine to work
More of the usual stuff: balls, balance boards, mushy cushion thingies...
Kettle bells, and ...
They look like milk bottles. I'd never seen them before.
22 pound milk bottles.
So naturally I asked a trainer for a demo
Please don't laugh at my shoe/sock combo...
They wouldn't let me wear my sneakers as they were quasi-hikers
He was working hard! Not easy at all.
They had some great hard-to-find machines: The Viper
The Viper: You sit and 'climb' the rope- great for cardio bursts between sets.
Rather than bringing your own towel, they have a tiny one attached to every machine (I still used my towel as a 'barrier' because I'm anal like that)
Little towels for wiping off machine after use.
They offer free sweat bands too!
And you can borrow weight straps- I really needed them too as I forgot to bring them from home.
Sign- up sheet for the weight straps
Signing my life away
The weight area with the usual suspects...
A good dose of muscle heads
Some cardio queens who just wouldn't stop
These guys could easily be in Venice
But here, dudes were not afraid to show some leg
...and some more...
And still more...
I can't believe I got this photo. I'm not even sure how it happened.
Even the girls were rockin' the short shorts.
Need to refuel? Gold's sells protein powder (and there was a smoothie bar too)
Yum! Yogurt flavor.
Or the "Super Delicious Type"
This was one of the few bars written in English
If you are desperate to get your calories, this small block of 'food' has 200 calories
Or you can refuel down the road from this shop, called "Bread & Food"
Because bread obviously is not food.
We preferred to replenish glycogen at a local joint where the menu was in Japanese only. We were kindly offered help from neighboring diners.
Better than a block of calories in my opinion.
And of course, dessert (yes, McDonalds that day because it was the only ice cream available, and it is delicious)
Q: Have you been to gyms in foreign countries (or even other cities or states?) How did they differ from the gyms you frequent?
Maintaining a 90+ pound weight loss after a lifetime of weight cycling, I'm blogging to share my journey to find balance with food and exercise in this thin-crazed world. And to make you look at photos of my cats. I hope you'll pick up a tip or two; or just have a laugh. You can email me at LASmoothieGirl at gmail dot com. Thank you for reading! To read my current blog, go to www.smoothiegirleatstoo.wordpress.com
Please note that I am not a Registered Dietitian, Medical Doctor or Personal Trainer. Everything on the blog is solely my opinion, and should be taken as such. For advice on medical issues, training and disordered eating, please contact an appropriate health care professional.