Climbing Mountains

 

Have you ever heard of a kid climb the biggest mountains in the world? Even adults can’t do that

but there is one daredevil who can and she is Japanese. A 13-year-old girl may have made climbing

history by ascending what could be the most difficult route ever completed by a female. Ashima

Shiraishi ascended the famously tough Open Your Mind Direct route in Santa Linya, Spain, last week.

reports. She traveled there over spring break with her father and a photographer family friend. She says

she was surprised by how quickly she scaled the route after days of practice and planning. It is very

tough and needs a lot of training, on top of that, you get hurt on your hands but she says it’s fulfilling.

Still, there’s some ambiguity about the difficulty of the climb Ashima scaled. American climbers rate

routes according to the Free Climbing Yosemite Decimal System, which ranks climbs from 5.0 to 5.15.

The 5.15 category contains even more subcategories, marked by letters. The climbers who tackle

these insanely difficult routes reach a consensus on whether a route is a 5.15a, b or c. Climbing blogs

and websites note the Open Your Mind Direct route that Ashima scaled has become harder since a key

hold broke off. It hadn’t been climbed since then, so the climbing community hasn’t reached a

consensus on the rating of 5.15a. Either way, it’s an amazing achievement. After all, Ashima is the

youngest person ever to climb the route and perhaps the first female to complete a 5.15a climb.

Ashima, who can be found on instagram posted pictures of this huge accomplishment. Her sponsors

were very proud and impressed at her achievement. Ashima’s focus and can-do approach, at such a

young age, is an inspiration to everyone. Ashima grew up in New York City and trains at the Brooklyn

Boulders indoor climbing gym. The daughter of Japanese immigrants, she first began climbing at age 6,

clambering up boulders in Central Park. She says that she think that now it’s not always the guys that are

pushing the limits; it’s also girls who are strong and focused and inspired to climb,” she said with a shy

smile. This girl or should I say woman is so mature for her age and so inspirational honestly. The

Japanese people are so beautiful.

Biking in Japan

Kendo: Japanese Fencing

Have any of you ever heard of Kendo? It has a very catchy name and you would be surprised what it is when I tell you. It is what they call fencing in Japan. They call it this because when translate this Japanese word into English, it mean the way of the sword. I would not have found a more perfect name. Kendo is not as famous as other sports in japan but it sure as hell still has a lot of fans and the chivalry of the sword is not yet gone. If you have always dreamed in engaging in sword fight but obviously did not want to die, then there is no better sport for you out there than this. When you are a beginner, you will start of with a bamboo type weapon, which in japan is called a shinai. You will practice the techniques and try to master fencing with a bamboo until you are ready to use a real sword. This sword for fencing is called a katana blade. Sounds pretty intimidating, but if you know all the techniques and you have a swift hand, you would not have a problem at all. In fencing, it is not all about trying to hit the person with the sword it is also about how to keep your guard so you would not get stung. In this game, every opponent is just looking for the right opportunity. You should always be careful because every kendo player always has something up his or her sleeves. They might try to imitate and take you for a ride then just suddenly sting you and get point. You have to be smart in this game aside from being fast. You should see how your opponent moves and always have the right timing. One wrong move and you are done. This game is for everyone and practice can help you be as good as everyone else. Have you ever tried this? I would recommend you do when you go to japan, even just the bamboo one because you might be surprised to find it very enjoyable, especially if you are against someone you know.

 

Art of Aikido

What is Aikido really? Is this karate? Well it is definitely not that Mr. Miyagi karate we saw on the television when we were kids. They say that aikido is the way of the harmonious spirit so in a way it is like karate but then a chiller kind of karate where you try to understand the opponent and move gracefully knowing what the next move he is going to do next. It actually is a mix of not only karate but also judo and kendo. It is a non-body contact self-defense kind of sport, which would be really nice to learn because the Japanese people really enjoy this and respect this. Imagine if there was a European who could also do this sport very well, this would be really amazing and touch the hearts of the Japanese. Their outfit while doing this sport is very respectable. Some people think it looks like a long skirt for women but I think it is very nice and I honestly would love to learn the sport and wear that outfit. Watching this sport is so amusing because they make it look so easy and graceful. Imagine if you were to get into a fight and suddenly they do not know you do aikido and you just gracefully kick the asses out of them in front of people but do not even look like you are putting that much effort. This may not be one of the really old type of martial arts, its actually fairly new compared to the rest, but it has got my vote. I would like to learn this martial art first before the rest because it already is a mix of everything so after learning this it would be so easy to learn judo or karate if you want to get into those as well. Aikido is cool because they do not use weapons. Their only weapons are there hands and their minds. How fast their hands are, make it so good to watch. Being good in this sport takes a lot of practice and determination so if you want to get good I advise you start practicing and learning it.

Baseball, a Popular Sport in Japan

You would think that baseball would be only popular in America and why would it appeal to the Asian people, but then apparently, the Japanese love this sport and they are very good at it. Japanese baseball players are one of the best players there are and ever recorded out there. This is probably because the Japanese are very disciplined, respectful, and know what they want once they put their minds to it. Japanese have always been really good in sports and many originated from there. We have always seen the Japanese people be unbelievably fast in the different sports. These Japanese people are even getting better than the Americans at times, so they better watch their backs. I’ve seen a Japanese pitch a fast ball once I barely saw it because of how fast it was going. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, but then it happened again and again. I could just imagine how hard that would hurt if that fast ball hit me and how could it even be possible for someone to pitch that fast.

In Japan, they have two professional leagues, the Pacific and the Central which are both composed of six teams each. Tickets are usually bought at the ballpark for a very affordable price and don’t usually run out as fast considering the popularity of the sport over there. If there are major leagues then there are minor leagues as well. Japanese also train very young to get as good as they are when they grow older. This sport is played in Japanese schools and there are lots of scouts out there always looking for new players even in Japan. There are times where they are drafted and have to go away from home to train. Though it is hard, these Japanese drafted players find it more than worth it and would gladly do it because not only are they enjoying what they are doing, but they are also making their families and country very proud. Honor is a very big matter to the Japanese and more so, respect; which they show to everyone they are around.

Cycling the interesting streets of Japan

People say that Tokyo may be a place that would be amazing to see using a bicycle and it is a very bicycle friendly place because there are numerous amounts of people who use bikes for transportation. Most of the time it would be a flat surface you would be biking on but then there are occasional ups and downs. The air in Japan is relatively cleaner than other Asian countries because it is not too populated and the citizens take care of their environment and care for it. There are cycling lanes to guide you and the people are very friendly. It is nice to bike around parks and see the different building while biking. The Japanese culture is a very interesting one and the architecture of their building and homes are unusually nice. No matter where you will stop, you’ll meet the most respectable people because that is very important in their culture. Another fun thing about Japan is that for example in Tokyo, there are bike rentals that are very affordable. You can do this with a girlfriend or boyfriend or even one as a family.

I myself know a family that went cycling in the towns of japan and they had an unforgettable time, not to mention, a very good family experience which was one for the books. Not only do you get to see beautiful places, bond together as couple or family but at the same time, you don’t realize that you are also exercising. It does not stop there because you end up saving money for gas or a cab which you could have used for many other things like clothes or food. I already feel like just going to japan and renting a bike already. This is definitely something I would put in my planner of future activities. Biking also relaxes your mind because you are just enjoying the whole time but at the same time stimulates you when you need to be alert of your surroundings. People of all ages enjoy cycling and if you don’t know how to ride a bike, its time you learned.

Keirin

In Japan, Keirin is a track cycling event where professional cyclists battle it out biking as fast as they can. This is part of the Olympics since 2000. Cycling is a sport enjoyed by many. Everyone remembers the first time they rode their bike and pimped it out to make it run super well when we all did not have cars yet. Some bicycles are really expensive though and can reach as high as a second hand car. Some frames are made of titanium or even carbon fiber so they are very light and easy to use. These expensive ones are what we see in this sport in Japan. Many people come out to see these fit cyclists battle it out. In cycling, you need a lot of leg muscle and endurance. Training everyday makes you reach these and little by little you will see that you are getting better and better where cycling up to certain places becomes very easy and walking becomes very light.

Cycling in Japan started in 1948 in the city of Kokura. It has become very popular that people are legally betting on this sport. Japanese make this a source of livelihood from betting. The different racers are in different colors so they can easily be differentiated. There is such a good feeling from being the cyclist. I myself like to cycle as a hobby because you get to places faster than jogging and at the same time you see such a beautiful view of the city and the people. No wonder people love this sport so much and support all the cyclists all out.

A bike has a lot of parts and it is like a car where you shift gears when you are going up and when you are going on a straight line. It is not also surprising why a lot of good manufacturers of bike parts come from Japan. Cycling can also be very relaxing and something you can do as bonding with friends, siblings, and a spouse. We are all looking for the right sport always to play and the perfect ones for us and this fits many people.

 

Vega

Golf is, interestingly enough, one of the most flexible sports that has become popular in the past few centuries. Rules change from club to club, there are a variety of different scoring systems to play the game under and many different professional leagues and tournaments are held regularly across the world with excessively high price pools – an extremely competitive sport that is not to be taken lightly. One aspect that golf has over many other competitive sports is the variety in gear used and required. This makes golf far from being a cheap sport, as equipping oneself with good clubs, clothes and accessories needed doesn’t happen cheaply. It just so happens that Japan is one of the nations well known for manufacturing some truly high-end gear – and the Japanese manufacturer Vega is one of the names only those with good knowledge of the industry might recognize.

The company’s origin lies in Kobe, a place in Japan with much background in metal work, generally focused on the production and forging of weaponry used by the Samurais – a very intricate craft. And while those skills may not be relevant anymore nowadays as the demand for swords is rather low, the skill to produce such an epic weapon is far from wasted and, today, applied to the creation of golf clubs.

Vega states to be in pursuit of crafting the perfect golf club. Their product line is focused on the clubs made of iron and steel, which in golf terms normally relate to irons, wedges and putters. To them, every single golf club they manufacture is a piece of art, not meant to be displayed in a case of glass, but used to perfection in the hands of a capable artist, on the wide, green, competitive fields of golf. Japan is a country known for both culture, craftsmanship and technological dominance. Vega strives to embody all of these aspects – “a fusion of old and new” as they claim themselves. Like some other Japanese golf club manufacturers, Vega Golf handcrafts each and every one of their clubs, meaning there is no mass production by the means of factories. Thus their clubs are of highest quality – and this is, of course, reflected in their prices. A single Vega club will set you back a pretty penny – well into the thousands of US Dollars, which is more than what the average beginner pays for an entire set of new clubs.

First image by wizgolf.com.sg

Second image by fourcountriesgolf.co.uk

Miura Golf

When it comes to golf, Japan is one of the leading nations in the Asia region as reflected in the country’s local adoration for the sport, trailing behind only two other western sports in terms of overall popularity across the nation. Given that Golf is a somewhat more exclusive-feeling sport and not all that cheap to get into, this is not a real surprise – what is, however, surprising, is the amount of Golfers throughout Japan, populating the nation’s thousands of courses, given that it is a time consuming sport played by those that normally don’t have all that much time.

When one lives in Japan and wants to engage in the outdoor activity of hitting the greens and teeing off on the regular, one needs equipment. Golf equipment, ranging from balls to clubs to bags to clothes comes in a huge variety of selections, most of which is carefully manufactured by the industry leaders across the world. Japan has a reputation of being some of the best the world has to offer in the fields of engineering and construction, and this is also seen by their care in manufacturing golf equipment – in particular, golf clubs, the most essential part of a golfer’s arsenal.

Katsuhiro Miura - Master Craftsman

Miura Golf is one of the leading Japanese manufacturers of clubs. They are significantly less known than, say, Nike or Nixon, but produced some of the highest quality products a golfer living in Japan can get their hands on. The company is lead by the Miura family – Katsuhiro Miura and his sons, Yoshitaka and Shinei, both of whom he trained from an early age.

They manufacture a specific subset of clubs, namely fairway irons, wedges and putters, all of which have the same base component of steel – also the reason why the company does not manufacture drivers which are generally made from a mix of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials. Every single club the Miura family sells are forged in their one factory and forge, located in the city of Himeji, which also has a historical reputation of being the home of the best sword crafters in the world, giving the city a significant background in steel working.

The manufacturing process is a team effort as Katsuhiro Miura grinds newly ordered clubs by hand in his factory each and every day, a true statement of his passion given that he has done so since 1957. Every single club is hand-crafted and will never be mass-produced, making them a speciality product that is rather high in demand among those who have been lucky enough to try them out at some point – however, the only reliable way of getting them is to make one’s way to Japan and order them in person.

Images from miuragolf.com