9/30/10

Tokyo flight cellist


i arrived in Tokyo without too many complications, other than the flight was delayed. when i asked when we were leaving for Tokyo, i think the airport staff answered with what time we were expected to arrive there, a difference of 4 hours. as i dawdled around the airport i heard a last call for boarding for my flight and ran to the gate in time, being the last one to board. i can read signs in Japanese, since the characters are similar to Chinese. But I can't understand Japanese. the vowel pronounciations are as those in western languages, something i expected, but it doesn't help in comprehension yet. the hotel room is adequate and tiny. i like that the toilet functions as a bidet as well. everything is preciously scaled. it reminds me of a story of a cellist friend, Gayane, who when she traveled through Japan with her violinist husband, she could not open the cello case in her room without hitting the walls. i experience the same in my room just moving around it. it feels nice to get into blogger and the internet without restrictions and a fast internet speed.
(Edit) view outside the window in the morning. haha, i 'm in the middle of the city. i can appreciate good mechanical systems.

but there is hope - a green rooftop garden!


i'm in a funny mood. now i will plan what to see in my neighborhood today in Shinjuku and will have a lot of exciting things to photograph.

9/28/10

cats busted apartment

there where only a few of us cats in the yoga den today. everyone has probably already begun the week to ten days holiday. Teacher had the time to say that my gomukasana warmup is hurting my knees and that Guruji said that, "doing warmup poses takes away the energy from the practice. the energy should be put into the practice." busted. :) haha. i so much like my Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana daily warmup, and the "pretend i'm doing the first two poses of Third Series" warmup poses. they open the hips for me. so when i'm i going to do these warm up poses? i'm already time pinched as it is. maybe i'll have to do them before going to sleep. i certainly won't have time to do them before practice in my apartment.

9/27/10

hardly sympathetic spookiness

my left leg is hardly hurting any more. maybe the muscles are on the mend. i still have to not do binding poses with that leg. i need to wake up 15 minutes earlier if i'm going to get more poses in my practice. speaking of waking up, in the middle of the night i was dreaming that a former colleague had died and was buried with rocks placed over his gravesite. being sympathetic, i spoke to him in his grave, telling him i wished he was happy in heaven. the rocks on the earth covering his grave started shaking as i heard my friend speak from below. i think he said, "i'm still speaking..." this spooked me out of the dream. awakening i realized the temperature had dropped significantly, my body was cold and i could not breathe out of one nostril. i put an extra blanket on the bed and returned to sleep. the spookiness has lasted all morning, though.

9/26/10

today other wall

today we practiced in the new space, what seems to have been a previous Iyengar shala in an art deco building close to my office. I say Iyngar because there where the ropes on the walls. i only did half of Primary. the wall was behind each of us; we faced each other. that meant i could do drop back practice at the wall. I started to wonder if I renamed Purple Skiboat from Talkingpink Lily. Mrs. Swan is still Mrs. Swan, as is La Americana and Flora. I haven't named the others around me but Pink Dandelion comes to mind.

Biking from Chengdu to Llasa


My friends the Olympian and his wife, both architects, took a few months off to bicycle across China from Chengu, Sichuan, to Llasa, Tibet, with a stop in Nepal following. They learned about how to do this by reading a site where people post similar trips and give tips. The site is biketo.com and the thread that he followed for this trip is this one. It's in Chinese, but you can read it in English with translating software. They sent the picture posted here showing one of the roads they climbed.

The translation of the trip description starts with, "Along the 318 from Chengdu to Lhasa full 2154 km, total altitude over 5000 meters above the mountains 2, 4000 meters above the mountains, ride the whole 10 to 25 days, on average 2 days is going to turn a mountain and, therefore, regardless of their physical strength or willpower is a challenge." I would agree that is it a challenge. Look at one of the diagrams of the altitudes climbed, the peaks represent the heights of the villages visited:

In another website, there is a day by day account of the milestones for this journey, with kilometers distances and pictures. It is located here. The translation from the site results in the following. Some meanings is lost in translation but sometimes the message gets across.

"Kangding, in order to meet the prescribed, acquired over the mountains, it is recommended to rest one day. "
"New bridge, it is recommended to rest one day, photography, washing smelly socks, trance ..."
"Litang, recommend the rest day, stroll around the Evergreen Chunkeer Temple ."
"Today is full of dirt, if outgrown, such as the United States stop 1 night"
"Ranwu, recommended journey one day, take a look at the beautiful Lake ranwu. "

Here are pictures from that website




I have a lot of amazement for my friends. The Olympian was used to bicycling daily about 80 miles to and from work. His wife wasn't used to that but is a good sport.

9/25/10

official yin space

today is an official day of work, despite being Sunday. the shala could not adjust the schedule to be open earlier as on a normal day; it is following the Sunday schedule. so i'm practicing at home.

Kai has on her side bar a quote from Guruji that a sick man, an old man, a tired man can practice; only a lazy man cannot practice. i want to avoid falling in the lazy man category. i don't have a problem with practicing at home. however, in my new apartment, when i do so, i tend to do yin yoga so that i don't generate a sweat. it's because my current living arrangement is a shared flat and there is one bathroom. my bathroom time is early, since i wake up early. if i do a sweaty yoga, i won't have the use of the bathroom, which will be in use by one of the flatmates by the time i need to get ready to work. i would have to clean myself with a wet towel. that is my current situation.

the shala is moving tomorrow to a new space. i'm not sure about the reason; probably Bamboo Knight wants to have his own space. he was renting space in an existing shala. maybe the location was not convenient to most students. the only odd thing we experienced in the space was that a few times a week we would arrive to seeing mats left in place on the floor after the previous night's class. the teacher of the last class could have instructed the students to put the mats away but did not. we would pile them for them. (Edit: the location is around the corner from my office!)

9/24/10

Silver Dragon Village, Zhejiang Province

For the three day holiday of Mid Autumn Festival, I joined a group that went to a mountain village in Zhejiang Province near the border with Anhui Province, called Silver Dragon Village, located about a 4 hour drive from Shanghai. It was sponsored by XcapeShanghai. My theory is that the name of the village is derived from the river that creates the valley in the mountains in which it is located. I heard about the trip from my colleague M. He and his girfriend accompanied us. Among the nationalities represented in our little group where French, American, South African, Korean, Singaporan, German and British. R. was South African-German and spent 15 years in Italy. By coincidence there was a group of three architects whose company had collaborated with mine on a project. One of our companions brought his dog, a miniature German Pincher named "Dog" who made friends with other dogs at an Inn where we had dinner on our way to our guesthouse.

The guesthouse was recently completed. The accommodations where simple, comfortable and clean. The floor was spanking clean, good for yoga. but the weather turned cold, so i only managed to do a few poses yesterday morning. It was a time to sleep a lot. I always take pictures of rooms I stay in, an old habit.


it was raining a lot the first morning, yet we managed to go hiking. i had extra rain gear, which i loaned to S., a new friend. It rained too much to take out the big camera, so all of these pictures where taken with my small Canon. The rain limited how much we could see on our walk.


We set out to walk up a mountain by walking through an old village


At a rest area people put their ponchos to dry


A cow protected her calf from the rain


The scenery actually looked that misty under the rain


After returning from the hike, we enjoyed a simple Chinese local meal with rice and many vegetables grown locally - aubergines, string beans, celery, eggs and tomatoes, etc. In the evening we gathered around two barbecue stands warming ourselves; the temperature had dipped 10 degrees. although there were many expats among us, many where fluent in Mandarin. One of our companions had spent 15 year Shanghai. Since the organizers realized i didn't eat hamburgers, they asked the owner of the guesthouse to prepare some veggies for me. I enjoyed that with some wine.


This morning the weather cleared. The rice farmers were busy in front of the guest house. The schedule became a bit confusing. A guide was to take the group on a walk through the fields around the guest house. I waited in my room until about the time we departed for our hike yesterday. Apparently a group had left forty five minutes earlier.

So the organizer, Amjad told me to follow a path to a river, find a bridge and a cascade, walk up the path where the cascade was located then loop back to the house.

The program said we had some time for relaxing by our own, but I was not sure at what time we would depart. I walked up the river and then sat half an hour on a rock next to it, refreshed by its sound.

the ancient bridge

the village as viewed from a rice terrace

view of the surrounding hills

I started heading back, walking through these farmers terraces where rice and many vegetables are grown. At that point, the owner of the guesthouse found me and called out to me. The group was leaving and part of it had already headed down the mountain on foot and by bicycle. He asked me why I did not respond to my cell phone call. I said my cell phone was out of battery. It was really out of service because i have to recharge my card, but the best i could say in mandarin was that it lacked battery. He kept asking me to walk faster and chided me for stopping to take this picture of the typical farmer's pick. I may have delayed the group 45 minutes, but I enjoyed my half hour by the river and was following the program schedule, which became flexible.

On the way back we stopped at the inn where we ate the first night. They prepared a delicious lunch which had many fresh vegetables grown locally.

This was our comfortable bus. We had a relaxing time.

9/20/10

lecture around holiday

this morning was another one of going back to sleep. last night i went to a lecture by American architects Dillier and Scoffidio who were visiting from the US. last week i had tickets to attend a lecture by the Japanese architects SANAA but i did not plan my time correctly and ended up not going. i did not want to repeat that again yesterday. so despite pressures from two deadlines, a colleague and I went.
it was difficult to get to the lecture because i had forgotten that around 5:00pm there aren't enough taxis to satisfy demand. my colleague and i took a bus to get away from our office area in the hope of getting to an area of less taxi-demand. in the new area waited 45 minutes to find an available one. we made it in time and managed to be able to sit in the back. it was very interesting to hear them speak. i enjoyed visiting their museum in the Boston harbor in 2008. i think i posted pictures in my blog back then. the picture here is from designcrack.com. it was nice to hear about their other projects last night.

tomorrow is the beginning of a three day holiday. i will be traveling to a remote mountain village. i will hopefully go to the shala because our bus does not leave until noon.

9/19/10

half pondering singing

saturday i worked half a day and sunday a full day with overtime. not surprisingly when i woke up for yoga today, after i had breakfast i was really tired. i went back to sleep two hours.

i'm pondering returning to home practice and only going to the shala on Sundays. my left leg now hurts practically every day. i did not experience this when i did self practice. cybershalamates will remember my description of my practice then. i did standing sequence and closing sequence with a running series of poses from Primary, Intermediate and Third Series. wherever i stopped with the running sequence one day, i would pick up the next day. it's not ashtanga proper, it's using the poses from it to create a practice. i was not hurting myself, which repeating the same poses day in and day out could lead to. my Teacher knows i have problems and has modified my practice. i still need to evaluate the option that if i continue with pain on my leg i should practice at home. maybe i need to tell him i want to practice one month at home to see if the leg improves.

another stressor i have is that when i have too many demands on my schedule, it leads to stress. stress manifests itself in me in that i become forgetful in the strangest ways, such as not putting the coffee cup under the right spigot in the machine, leading to spills, leaving the bike helmet overnight outside the apartment on the bike seat, running into bedroom furniture; things like that. however, i am probably the cause of my problems. singing, "yo soy el causante, de las penas mias..."

Details of farmhouses in Guoliang

during our stay in Guoliang we ate one meal at this inn and several at the inn behind it. on our first day, the power was turned off in our inn during the day, we were told, because of the fire that occured in the mountain. the next day, the power was off again during the daytime and i realized that the explanation was an excuse. to conserve energy, the power was turned off every day during the daytime and turned on around 7:00pm. that is a good economic strategy; we were charged very little for our rooms.

on the last day we went to photograph the details of the ancient farmhouses - entries, stairs, doorways, roofs - in the early morning light

this is a stone mill. the corn gathered by the farmers was placed here and with the help of farm animals, the wheels would be turned to create flour.

on this last walk through the village, i seemed to be the only laowei. suddenly i was in demand to be in people's pictures. the most unusual was a group that stood angled so that i would be part of their background. many just approached me and just asked me to take a picture with them. with this lady we actually posed several times. my friend was laughing a lot at my sudden popularity.

in musing over our visit, my colleague and i thought that the area was still quite primitive. it needs a big visitor center with big, clean bathrooms. some of the public bathrooms i found where squat type with partitions of very little height. i can use a squat toilet if necessary, but not having privacy from the next person is difficult if not impossible to work with. in any case, the nearby village of Nanping was seeing a lot of Asian tourists from nearby countries, not just Chinese tourists. that village could accommodate large tour buses.

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