Recently my daughter became very interested in learning how to jump rope. Just a few weeks ago she couldn’t do it at all so I began to practice with her to help her learn. After some time practicing with me, more time with her cousins, and even more time with her friends at school and on her own, too, she is starting to get really good at it and I am very proud of her! Even though she is only five years old, she has learned how to jump in place with a current personal best of 65 jumps before she trips, run while jumping, with a record of 35 skips, and she is now learning how to jump by swinging the rope backwards, with a personal best of 6 jumps.
Watching and practicing with her has inspired me to try to improve my own jump roping skills, too. I was never a really good at jump rope, even when I was a boy, but I certainly used to be much better than I currently am. Since I am trying to lose weight anyway, maybe this will be a good way to help! Currently, I can only do sixty five jumps in a minute, but once I can get up to a solid 100 jumps a minute, then I am going to try to learn how to do the cross arms jump, (which I could NEVER do, even as a kid), relearn how to do the backwards swing, (which I used to be pretty good at), and I really want to learn how to do the double swing jump where you spin the rope around yourself twice while jumping in the air just one time, which is something else I could never do even as a boy. And from there…well…who knows?!? Maybe I can even learn how to double dutch!
A few weekends ago I went to Tarui and saw both Nangu Taisha and climbed the mountain next to the shrine. It was a great day to go hiking as it wasn’t too hot, nor too cold. I also went earlier in the day, before afternoon, so I ran into maybe 5 or 6 other hikers on the mountain.
To get to Tarui, I decided to use the train. I went to Ogaki station, checked out the departures board, and boarded the train that I had thought was bound for Maibara. I was wrong. Instead of taking a train on the Tokaido Main Line, I had boarded a local train bound for Mino-Akasaka. I should’ve known something wasn’t right because the train had only two cars, but I thought it was just a different way to get to Tarui. Luckily, Mino-Akasaka is the second and final stop on that local line from Ogaki, so I was able to get back to Ogaki and on the correct train rather quickly.
One thing that caught my eye riding the correct train to Tarui was how the train conductors drive. This prompted me to Google “Why do train drivers in Japan point at everything?” A bit of an overstatement, but I was curious as to what they were doing. Apparently it’s a method to keep concentration and awareness of their surroundings by pointing and calling out what they see, known in Japanese as “指差喚呼,” and this was the first time I had become aware of the phenomenon.
It’s very interesting to watch. Now, because of this, I try to ride in the front train to watch the conductors drive.
The view from my hike in Tarui.
I think most of my blog posts are either food or art related, but I love both so it only makes sense, right? A few weeks ago Matt and his wife, Ayumi, were kind enough to host a Thanksgiving dinner at their house. Ayumi’s birthday was two days after the event, so Matt asked me to bake a birthday cake for her. I happily accepted because I enjoy making desserts, and I have made cakes in the past. American cakes are very different than Japanese cakes. Usually American cakes are sweeter and more rich in flavor/texture.This cake wasn’t the prettiest cake I have made, but it was pretty delicious! It made me happy to see everyone eating it and enjoying it, especially Ayumi.
It was a chocolate cake with a cream cheese peanut butter frosting and topped with chocolate ganache!