Japan isn’t known for its parks.
I mean, I have been to areas of Chikushino city where there is a corner of a city block holding no more than a small slide, a bush and a tiny sandbox proudly displaying a park sign. Where I used to live in Chikushino, I live in a different part of the city now, the nearest “park” was large enough to park two full sized cars inside of it.
Finally, after a couple of years of living here, I found, with Yoko’s help of course, a respectable sized park which we both plan on visiting as much as possible in the future.
The park itself has a pond, an outdoor stage, a partially enclosed eating area with a dozen or so tables, a statue of a samurai that we couldn’t figure who it was, a large grassy area fit for ultimate frisbee, and several different sections with roof-covered tables. It took us fifteen minutes to navigate and walk around the park and we still didn’t explore every inch of it.
While Yoko enjoyed the shaded pathways and trails that made for easy hiking, what I thought was the best attribute of the park was the ridiculously huge jungle gym. It begged to be climbed and jumped on and run around. And did I mention that it was huge?
Next to the juggernaut jungle gym was a rope slide. Now, if you’re serious about having fun and being active, the first thing that pops into your head when you see rope should always be “can I climb it?” If that happens, then you’re doing something right.
I must have run up and down that bad boy more than a dozen times with a crazy grin on my face, switching my grips and arm positions each time, non-stop with no breaks. Today it was cool enough not to break into a sweat, probably why I had repeats of riding the rope slides. Yoko wanted to try it out, but opted to be camera woman. The best part? Most funnest way to train grips. Evah!
I’m a firm believer in keeping active. For me jiu-jitsu and the martial arts is a large part of that. Another part is going outside and actually doing stuff. Now while being able to express my physically in a martial art does not transfer over into me being a great basketball player, having an active lifestyle does.
Playing sports (even if I suck at it), hiking, swimming, riding a bike, enjoying a walk in the park or even shrimping out of side-control. No matter what I’m doing if it makes me feel good, and I’m staying healthy and having tons of fun, then there’s no stopping me.
It should be the same for everything else we approach and pursue in life.
Even if it means ending up with a silly picture of yourself, so be it.