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where did wednesday go?

October 6, 2010

Today was definitely not the best day ever. I started it off by oversleeping. On my schedule oversleeping usually means having to rush through breakfast, or skipping the gym for the day, but today I managed to wake up right as I was supposed to be arriving at work.

I felt awful, and immediately contacted my office to let them know what happened. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been flat-out unconscious long enough to actually have it affect my job before, and since there was nothing pressing that I needed to get done in the office today, I decided it would be best to just take a sick day and let myself get the rest it was so obviously craving.

I let myself rest for an hour or so longer before dragging myself out of bed to get my day started. Breakfast consisted of half an english muffin with cottage cheese & jam, half a giant pink grapefruit, and scrambled eggs (from the farm!) with red bell pepper, pepper jack, and farm onions.

After breakfast I spent a couple of hours doing a few things for work at home and then made myself a kefir smoothie with frozen banana, fresh mango, strawberries and cottage cheese for protein (topped, as usual, with coconut butter and cacao nibs), before heading off to yoga.

I have come to realize through reading other blogs that yoga in Tokyo is expensive. Most of the studios I’ve found charge around ¥2500 – 3000 per class (about $25-30 US) for single classes, with prices coming in marginally less for multi-class passes. Some studios also offer unlimited monthly passes, but they usually come in upwards of ¥25,000/month (yes, that would be $250). Since I already pay for a monthly membership to a pretty nice gym, I can’t really afford to spend much extra on yoga.

Last December I found a bit of a solution. There is a studio called Under the Light yoga conveniently located between Yoyogi and Shinjuku stations that offers what they call “Charity Yoga” classes in addition to their regular schedule. Charity classes are taught by students undergoing the school’s teacher training program and are open for participation by donation, with the recommended donation being about ¥1000. I thought this would be the perfect way for me to really start getting into yoga without breaking the bank.

There are two classes during the week that I could make it to: the Sunday class, and the Wednesday evening class. The Wednesday evening class is not a very popular one, usually with just 2-5 participants; while Sunday is much more crowded with up to about 20 participants.

On a perfect week I try to make both of these, but it’s not always possible. Once or twice a month the studio is closed for building maintenance, and the charity schedule is sometimes moved around to accommodate workshops. This, combined with actually having plans on some Sundays, adds up to very sporadic yoga practice.

Today marked the second week in a row I’ve actually been able to make it in to yoga after a long and busy summer. As luck would have it, it was also the second time I’ve arrived to the studio only to find that I was the only person there. As with the last time, I was a bit self-conscious at having the full attention of the instructor, and being a foreigner on top of it, but I pushed that aside and tried to concentrate on my poses instead.

It was hard. Between the long summer break and increased running from my 10k training, I think I’ve actually LOST a lot of flexibility over the last several months. I had a very hard time even with some of the most basic poses, and definitely felt it in my poor hamstrings. I’m looking forward to doing more yoga and getting some of that flexibility back as we head into the winter months.

After yoga I met with Eric (fresh out of his first Group Power class at the gym) and we went to dinner at a Turkish place we like in Shinjuku. The pictures I took on my iPhone are pretty horrible, so instead I think I’ll show you the boring but tasty way that my tokachi kogane potatoes met their end last night:

(Yes this is also a bad iPhone photo**)

I pan-roasted the potatoes in some avocado oil along with one of the onions, lemon juice, garlic, and plenty of black pepper and had it with some asparagus simmered in soy sauce, cottage cheese, and leftover pesto chicken mini-meatballs from my freezer. Simple, but effective.

Dessert last night was somewhat special as well. I will probably be posting an entry at a later date about Japan’s love affair with the changing of the seasons and vast array of seasonal specialty items, but for now all you need to know is that we get a lot of these limited seasonal items. One of the brands I make a point to sample each new flavor of is Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Two of their latest seasonal temptations hit the shelves last week, and of course, I was there to buy them soon after.

(click for bigger if you want to read the fancy Japanese labels)

Last night I had the pumpkin ice cream, which I thought was good, but a little heavy on the cream and light on the pumpkin. Call me crazy, but when I eat pumpkin ice cream I want to be overwhelmed by the flavor of pumpkin. Eric had the special Fondant Chocolat for his dessert. This particular ice cream is in a line called Häagen-Dazs Dolce which I believe is exclusive to Japan. It features premium ice creams modeled after high-end, usually layered, desserts that sometimes seem to be a little closer to a miniature parfait than a traditional single serve ice cream.

In this case a it was a deep, cocoa-y chocolate ice cream with a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar on top, gooey chocolate sauce in the center,  and a lighter chocolate ice cream layer with some cake-ish bits mixed in on the bottom. Other seasonal flavors have included sweet potato pie (vanilla ice cream, flaky cookie crust & sweet potato cream), creme bruleé (custard ice cream with a caramel top layer), and millefeuille aux framboises (custard ice cream with raspberry sauce and flaky pie crust topping) among others. Eric gave me a taste and I absolutely loved the deep, dark, chocolate flavor. I’m looking forward having one for myself later in the week!

**I should take this opportunity to note that while I absolutely adore photography and have taken thousands upon thousands of photos of my meals going back years before I had this blog, I do not always have the time or energy to pull out my fancy camera, and this blog will reflect that. Sometimes there will be high quality photos with thought put into depth of field and composition, other times you might get a slew of bad iPhone shots. Guess what kind of day today is..

Anyone else felt like their Wednesday just disappeared into a black hole?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2010 11:25 am

    Props for getting to yoga. I really have wanted to find some kind of yoga routine, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I did one class at the Yoga Garden, and while I enjoyed it, I think it was above my level, since I am such a n00b. I’ve wanted to do the beginning class at the Y, but I’m never able to get there for a 6:30pm class.

    Luckily, I found a studio while surfing today that does a beginning class every weekday morning…which is EXACTLY when I would want to to go to one. I found it after class time today, but I think I may try it out next week. I have no flexibility; I can’t even touch my toes. :(

    OMG! Kit Kat post, Kit Kat post!

    • October 7, 2010 2:43 pm

      I wish I was doing it more often. My goal for this year was 3 times week minimum between charity yoga, gym classes, and home practice. But I’ve been lucky to get in 1-2 times most weeks. I’m determined to fix that soon. I think I will try to give the gym yoga another try, since I haven’t been doing much other than Group Kick, Group Power, and some strength training there recently, thanks to 10k training.

      Good luck with your classes! I can touch my toes, but I have extremely tight calf and leg muscles and postural problems that make a lot of poses very difficult for me. My hamstrings refuse to loosen up more than a little despite over three years of actively trying to increase my flexibility, and snap back the second I go lax on stretching.

      Hah hah.. I’m sure I’ll cover Kit Kats at some point. Not that many around lately, though, so it’ll have to wait!

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