Ankle Pain

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

This is a repeat of what I wrote in my Japanese blog.

Since about 7 years ago, I would get this reoccuring pain in my right ankle. When it first occured, it hurt so badly that I could not even walk, so I had to skip work and go to the hospital to get it examined. The hospital X-rayed by ankle and found nothing wrong. But since I still couldn’t walk, I rented some crutches to use for the 2 days that I couldn’t walk.

This pain reoccures about once or twice a year now. Sometimes, its not too bad, other times, I would not be able to stand on my foot at all. Last April, when I went to the States on business, it started acting up on the last day I was in San Francisco. When I boarded the plane at the aiport in the States, it wasn’t so bad. I could walk on it with little discomfort.

But by the time I reached Tokyo, it had gotten worse…a lot worse. As I was heading to customs I could feel that it was only a matter of time that I would completely lose my ability to use use my right leg, so I tried to get through customs as quickly as I could and board the bus to Yokohama.

On the bus, the pain had gotten so bad that it felt as if it had spread to the whole right side of my body. I seriously felt as if I was going to die, and the 2 hour trip from the airport to Yokohama seemigly took forever.

When we eventually arrived, I was in so much pain, it was impossible for me to stand let along get off the bus. But I mustered up every last bit of stregnth I had an managed to get off of the bus on my own.

Next I had to lug my very heavy suitcase and my inoperative right leg to get to the nearest drug store to get some pain killers. I managed to get to a nearby drug store and buy some pain killers, which I took right away. But since the medication didn’t take effect immediately, I still had to endure the pain. I took a taxi home and by the time I arrived at my house, the paid a subsided a bit, at least enough to be able to walk a bit more normally.

The night before last, the same pain started reoccuring. I knew that if I didn’t do anything about it, that it would worsen and I would not be able to walk again. I took some bandages and firmly wrapped my ankle so that it didn’t move. It was painful, but it made it a bit easier to walk. By the next morning the pain had subsided substantually. I was able to go to work as usual and walk normally.

Although the pain occurs infrequently, I do wish I knew what was causing it.

Chocolate Diet?

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

I was watching TV last night, and came across this show that was talking about this not so new “chocolate diet”.  Now the notion of being able to lose weight by simply eating chocolate is absolutely ridiculous and incredible. But the lack of having anything else interesting to watch, forced me to continue watching this BS.


According the the TV show Cacao, the main incredient in “real” chocolate, not the artificially flavored stuff that some candy manufacturers use, is a very nutritious food that has very good dietary properties.  People have claimed to have lost weight in a gradual and safe way from eating chocolate as a part of their daily diet.


Here’s the catch, you can’t just go out and load up on Hershey bars and expect drop some weight.  It has to be a certain kind of chocolate, eaten in small doses, and taken like a supplement. 


According to the show, the chocolate has to contain 70% cacao. Most chocolate sold on the market doesn’t even come close.  At least in Japan, unless it says 70%+ cacao right on the package, it doesn’t have it.  The average chocolate bar only has 15%-25% cacao. Bitter chocolate and some of the unsweetened chocolate used for baking can have something like 30%-50% cacao.  In Japan, they have brands that are 70%-99% cacao.


 


Okay before yo go run out and stock up on chocolate bars with a high content of cacao, here’s the other catch. 70% to 99% cacao chocolate no longer tastes like chocolate, at least not the stuff we are all use to eating.  I tastes more like a slab of rubber, in that its extremely bitter.  And for it to be really effective, of course you gotta get the unsweetend stuff, otherwise the sugar will totally defeat its dietary advantages.


     


Here’s the last catch, just because it may tast like rubber or medicine, its still chocolate. That means its very high in calories.  So in order for it to be effective in a positive way, you should only limit youself to 50 grams of chocolate eaten before each meal daily otherwise it will come back and bite you.  And remember, the weight loss is gradual, so don’t expect huge dramatic changes anytime soon.

Halvsie Supremecy?

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Rants and Raves

Lately, I have been really active on Mixi. It has allowed be to keep in touch with my friends in Japan and also learn about what’s going on locally as well.
However there are some really strange groups on there which got me quite puzzled.  There is on in particular called “Half gao ga suki”.  I honestly didn’t know what this group was about when I first joined it.  And since there were so many other groups on mixi that were for people of mixed origins, I figured this was just another one of those.
I had joined this group several months ago and have never really participated until recently.  As I read through some of threads, I quickly realized that this group was not for mixed people at all.  It was simply a group for people who like people who looked half.
At first, I was like ok whatever floats your boat, but as I went through some of the threads, I noticed that there was really ridiculously stupid and ignorant remarks which frankly got me quite irritated.  For example: there were comments like:

  • I wish I was born half
  • I want a half friend
  • I want a half boyfriend or girlfriend
  • I’ve always wanted half child so I married interacially

I know that most of these people  didn’t mean any real harm, or didn’t really think thoroughly before saying what they said, but it still prompted me to start my own thread and ask “why”. 
The woman who commented that she married interacially for the sole fact that she wanted a mixed child brought chills to my bones.  She initially said something to the effect of  I always wished I was half or of mixed origin, but since I realized that this could never happen, I decided at a very young age that I would marry a caucasian man so that my child would be mixed, and now I have a beautiful half son (shows picture of son) This just shows to what extent these people would go throught to fuel their superficial thoughts and incorrect notions.
I tried my best to address all of these comments. and ask these people why would you say these things.  The answers varied but had a single commonality: Japanese mass media view of what a half person “should” look like and just plain ignorance of the facts.  I fot answers like: (my comments are italicized )

  • Because half people are good looking and look like models -fact is just like any other race, half people come in many brands and flavors, and to say that they all look like models is a huge stereotype and a complete fallacy.
  • Because I want to live in another country someday -I personally didn’t understand this comment at all.  Since when has it become a requirement that you had to be half to live in another country?  This is another ignorant misconception that all half people carry dual citizenships.
  • I want beautiful white skin while still looking Japanese another misconseption that all half’s are half-white. This comment was just plain dumb, Its like the Michael Jackson syndrome all over again.  If you want to look white, then go out and buy some white clown makeup for 100 yen and get over this stupid caucasion fetish!
  • Because half people can get girls/guys a lot easier than pure Japanese people -if this is true, it only because of the stupid misconceptions that Japanese people carry about us.  If they knew the real facts and realized that we are all the same, and share the same day to day problems and that we are not any better than any one else, I am sure that they’d think differently.

Needless to say many people in this group did not understand my comments, and felt that it was okay to have an “admiration” for other races of people.  I thnk this is a big issue in Japan, and unfortunately the Japanese media tends to fuel this type of white supremacy notions by portraying caucasions as pure and beautiful.  A person within the group made a single one line comment that kind of summed it all up: Caucasions and half’s>Japanese>Asian. And unfortuately this is what a lot of Japanese think and believe.
I hope that someday thatt hese people realize someday that there are no races of people better than another.  But the way things are portrayed and presented especailly in Japan, I think this will be a long wait.  Its quite unfortunate, because I find Japanese people to be very beautiful in their own right, and to have their self esteem and their vision of themselves downgraded daily by the media and superficial thoughts is really quite sad.

Old School Meeting

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Life in general, Work Related

An odd thing happened to me today.  I had a meeting this morning with some potential business partners.  As the three guys enter the office, I noticed one of them looked vaguely familar.  It wasn’t the kind of “I KNOW THIS PERSON” kind of familar, but rather more of a I might have passed him on the streets kind of familar.
I didn’t think about it too much until I entered the conference room and presented my business card.  He looked back at me and said “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”  It was really weird because he did look familar but I knew that I have never met him. “I don’t think so..” I said.
He looked and was half Japanese, so I thought that perhaps I might have seen him online or at a party somewhere.
At the end of the meeting, he approached me again and said, “I know that I know you, but I can’t remember where I have seen you.”  I laughed, but was certain that I had never met him before.  His name on his business card didn’t look familar and I am usually pretty good with names if not faces.
He then said, “did you ever live in San Francisco?”.  Whoa…this is getting weird! I thought.  How could he have known that?  My California accent can”t be that noticeable.
“Yeah, I lived there for five years,” I reluctantly said, trying to not to reveal too much about my shady past .
“Did you go to State?” he asked…okay what are you? A mind reader??   Who the hell is this character??  He doesn’t look like anyone whom I’ve met, and I pretty much know and remember ever half-Japanese person whom I went college with, I thought.
“Yes I did,” I said calmly but very reluctantly.
“So did I,” he said, “Now I know who you are.”  Good for you, I thought, mind filling me in on your little secret??
“Do you know Arisa?” he asked
I thought back and do remember a half-Japanese girl named Arisa.  I rarely hung out with her, but I do remember that my enterouge of friends and Arisa’s entourage of friends did overlap.  Saori and Trisha being the two people who I often hung out with.  Arisa also worked at the Nikko Hotel in San Francisco, where I often took Japanese tourists when I worked as a tour guide there. Perhaps this guy was a part of Arisa”s posse?
” Ahhh, yes I do”, I said as if she were my best friend.
“Ok…that’s how I know you.  Arisa and I were pretty good friends.  maybe I met you through her,” he said.  I also figured that could be the only explanation as to how this guy knows so much about me and why he looked somewhat familar.  So I accepted that as being the logincal answer for all this strangeness.
“Excellent,” I said with the most fakest smile I could present, “how is she doing these days?”
He also flashed a fake smile and responded, “Don’t know; haven’t seen her since graduation.”
I had to get ready for my next meeting so I dismissed myself and semi-sincerely said “Well, keep in touch then, nice to see someone from home.”

A trip to the Nissan Plant in Tochigi

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Cars and Racing, Travel Blog, Work Related

Shortly after my return from San Francisco, I learned that I had been slated to take another trip.  This time it would be at the Nissan manufacturing plant up in Tochigi prefecture in Japan. And for the last two weeks I have been here with my manager and my colleague, whom I’ve been working closely with on this Nissan project.
Today is the last day at this plant, and so I finally get to go home this afternoon (I hope).  And hopefully, I don’t have to take another trip anytime soon, or at least for another month or so, because being on the road and spending my nights in a tiny little hotel rooms can be a real drag. 
Last week was pretty rough.  Nothing went right and we encountered problem after problem, which frustrated all of us.  We were suppose to be done with the project by Thursday, but we quickly learned that we would be spending at least another few days in Tochigi.  And to add insult to injury, our hotel rooms which was recommended to us by someone at Nissan, was literally so small, that there was no place to store our luggage (not even on the floor).  I had to sleep with my bag and my laptop bag on my bed, because there was no place else to put them.  On top of that, the room smelled awful, like years of sweat from old tired business men, and it also reeked of cigarettes.  I just hoped that I didn’t take that smell home with me.

My room at the first hotel…tiny and dirty!!!!


The room at the second hotel…aaaaahhhhh MUCH better!
Since no one was happy with the choice of hotel that Nissan recommended to us,  I asked my manager if I could reserve the hotel for this week.  His response was that it had be better than the one we were at.  Luckily, I found a nice hotel with three double-sized rooms, with plenty of space to place our stuff and it was also very close to the train station.  Having just spent time in San Francisco the previous weeks, I still felt that the room was a bitsmall, but it was MUCH bigger than the ridiculously micro sized rooms we had.  Everyone seemed to be pretty satisfied with my choice.
The Tochigi Nissan Plant is humongous!  Its surrounded by a very big test track where they test the performance of their cars.  There are tons of office buidings and countless numbers of factories.  Nissan has their own iron casting plant which I thought was amazing, because that meant that they manufactured every single part on the car down to the last bolts and screws.

The front security gate at the Nissan plant in Tochigi, Japan

One of the many many manufacturing facilities on the Nissan grounds.  This one made transmission gears.

They have a building to make just transmissions, a building to make just engine parts, a building to make just the frame members, and it went on forever.  What was even more amazing, was for the size facility they was (which was just sheer mind boggling huge), you’d think that they built every model on their line-up, but they only produced two car models, the Skyline and the Fairlady Z (350Z).  They have other plants all around Japan that produces other models of Nissan cars.
But, as much as I liked the experience of being able to be in a car manufacturing plant (especially for car enthusiast like me), I am sure glad we can finally flee this place today.