An alternative look at life in the Land of the Rising Sun, coming from its southernmost prefecture, the island of Okinawa.
Posted By Dave on July 8th, 2014


Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying.  It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though!  But after a couple of months of being back in England […]


Archive for June, 2011

P90X – I’ll Either Get In Shape or Get Dead!

Posted By Dave on June 28th, 2011


For those of you that know me, this may appear something of a jaw-dropping event, but I have decided to try and get into shape.  I rarely write about personal things on here but this is something I want documenting so I can’t go back on it when it feels like I can’t be bothered doing it any more.  But I have decided that I no longer want to look like a malnourished African baby with growing belly and skinny arms!

So to counter this general lack of fitness I’ve started the P90X workout, started by a guy called Tony Horton.  It’s a 90-day programme of fitness and nutrition to either get you in shape or kill you (and therefore render you unable to file a complaint!).  Going by the reviews this thing has got it works and works well if you stick to it throughout the programme.  It uses a mixture of cardiovascular work, strength training, yoga and plenty of other stuff I’ve not even reached yet.

The equipment you need for it is limited; barbells and a push-up bar, or you can almost do as good a job with exercise bands.  I’ve gone for the bands and have had to compensate a little as I don’t have any sort of hanging/mounting point for the bands to simulate pull-ups, but am trying to stick as close as I can to the exercises.  As for the nutrition thing, well that’s always been my achilles heel with my complete inability to cook anything more complex than toast.  but I’m doing what I can in cutting down on bad food and only drinking water (at least 2l a day) and the odd recovery drink now.  Am trying to get really into it from the start and spend a bit of money on things for it so it will give me more of an incentive to keep at it.  And I’m keeping up with it so far, and am now on day 9 of 90.  I’d be lying if I said I have an Adonis-like physique now but with the amount of exercise I’m doing (probably more than I’ve ever done!) it’s got to be doing something good for me.

So 9 days gone and 81 grueling more to go (including shoulder, arms and abs tonight), this is going to put me in shape or in the coffin.  At this point I’m undecided which one it will be but time will tell.  Wish me luck!

Getting a Shaken For The Evo

Posted By Dave on June 19th, 2011

The Evo was running when I last spoke, and it surprises me to say that it’s still running now (or at least did last night; who knows the next time I turn the key!).  After getting the coolant leaks sorted out it was time to start getting it ready for it’s inspection: the shaken.

I’ve talked about the Shaken before (aka JCI for those of you SOFA status folks who speak Americanish), and how I despise it in general.  It’s the 2-yearly inspection that is pretty much done to make someone a lot of money.  Not too sure at this point but a lot of my money’s definitely going somewhere.  It can cost a huge amount to do, especially if your car has any… ahem… modifications that need to be reverted back to stock in order to pass.

First step in my preparations was actually getting the car to move under its own steam, which it hadn’t done in around a year.  Got in, started the engine and let everything warm up.  Couldn’t go on any extended drives as the car was out of inspection, not taxed/registered and most definitely not insured, but a little evening jaunt about 100m down the road and back wouldn’t hurt it.  Despite it making all sorts of creaking and grinding noises from brakes breaking free and suspension moving around for the first time in a year, it made it down the street, turned round, came back and stopped.  Result!

The car didn’t need to much to be honest for it to be ready for inspection.  The catalytic converter had to be put back on, as well as the car being lifted (the lowest point has to be above about 10cm and it wasn’t at the time).  But all the lights worked and it had markings near the gearstick to show which gear is where.  Seriously, if you need a diagram to explain where you should be looking to find the next gear then you shouldn’t be driving at all.  But I digress.

The only worrying thing was the ABS warning light being on.  Not a whole lot is known about some parts of this car, and it’s tough to get a concrete answer as to what could be causing it.  I spend a few weekends pulling pads off, cleaning ABS sensors, completely flushing the brake fluid and replacing it with new stuff.  In the end I called the garage and told them my worry.  Was reassuringly told that an ABS warning light will not cause it to fail inspection, but that my seatbelt light had to be working perfectly.  The logic train once again missed Okinawa, but I wasn’t complaining.

And so off it went for its shaken and initial registration one morning.  I waited through the day for a call on the progress and on any problems that might have come up, but no call came.  Then at 5pm the phone rang and my mechanic was on the other end.  The Evo had passed inspection, was registered and ready for driving on public roads!  I have to tell you I was pretty pleased all in all.  It had taken me about 4 months which was a lot longer than I’d thought and came with a fair few unexpected hurdles, but it was running and road legal.  The only thing that had to be done to it for the inspection was to be raised about 1″ to pass the ground clearance regulations.  Everything else was a-ok.

So the car is on the road, now it’s time for modifications!

Posted in Cars

Japan Earthquake Donations Still Held Up… Govenment Moves Onto Other Things

Posted By Dave on June 9th, 2011

On Saturday it will be 3 months since the Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck Japan and caused the ongoing nuclear crisis in the country.  A huge amount of donations were received from all over the world to help with relief efforts so I thought you might like to see how some of your hard-earned and well-intentioned money has been spent.  The Japan Today website posted up this picture of the results of all of our donations and how they have helped one particular family.

It’s the situation that quite a few people (including your eternally cynical narrator) kid of expected.  Yup, they still living in a cardboard box inside an “evacuation centre” (see school gym or similar).  251 billion Yen was received (around USD$3bn) and under a third of that has been spent so far.  The rest is being withheld until discussions have been made about how best to spend the rest.

Seems that the government has more pressing things on their mind though, as it’s time for the annual ousting of the Prime Minister and a new, old face being brought in.  Kan became PM in june of 2010 and so it’s natural and par for the course that he’d lose his job on or around the 12-month mark.  So a no-confidence vote was held earlier this week.  He survived the vote but has said he will step down.  He wants to remain in power for a little longer though (reports have said until the end of June or the end of August) and then he will hand over the poisoned chalice.  It looks like the frontrunner for your Japanese PM for summer 2011-2012  will be Yoshihiko Noda (pictured right), the current finance minister.

So obviously there is no time to discuss victims of one of the worst natural disasters to have struck the country when there’s a chance for someone in the old boys club to become PM for a year.  This might be too maverick for some (did I really just use that term?  My English is getting worse every day, I swear), but how about stopping the discussions about when the current face of the party is going to change for another 50-something face who’ll just follow the party lines, and start helping people who’ve lost everything because of this?  Won’t hold my breath waiting for an answer on that one.

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