Miso Soup

Months ago, Yuka was having a terrible day. I offered to cook to give her a chance to unwind, and prepared miso soup along with the meal. She cried when she tasted it, as though a rush of lost memories had returned. The moment inspired a poem, Miso Soup, which I shared on Ello. My first blog, in 2008 or so, was for poetry, and it seems like Ello would be a good place to restart the practice. Incidentally, I deleted the posts on my first poetry blog and regret it. Why not hide unpublish them or hide the entire site?!?

Weight: 98.7kg/218lbs

Mindfulness: 3days, 5min avg

Avg daily sleep: 5h 3min

Heart rate min/max: 66/79bpm

Avg daily exercise: 2days, 9min avg

Avg daily steps: 8242

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Snickerdoodles, the key to weight loss

First #snickerdoodles of the season! via Instagram
It’s officially December and the annual eleven month moratorium on all things Christmas has been lifted. Commence merriment.

Weight: 97.5kg/215lbs Obviously measured before the cookies.

Mindfulness: 1 day, 1 min Better than nothing, all too literally.

Avg daily sleep: 5h 30min

Heart rate min/max: 61/119bpm

Exercise: 3 days, 11 min avg

Avg daily steps: 8533

UX Design, door stops, and other Japanese wonders

For the past few years, I’ve taken an interest in Design Thinking and user-experience design. It turns out that Japan abounds in carefully considered designs everywhere from toilets to shoe horns, instant noodles to vending machines.

The spirit of omotenashi thrives everywhere. Take, for example, grocery deliveries. Like any modern Japanese home, ours has a massive steel door with a hydraulic arm that pulls it closed. Secure and convenient, except when receiving a delivery. How many times have I stood, awkwardly struggling to simultaneously hold open the heavy door, receive a package or pizza, and sign or pay for it?

Imagine my delight when the gentleman delivering our order of groceries brought his own doorstop. The echoes of my palm smacking my forehead must have been heard for blocks.

People here generally enjoy deep satisfaction from simple solutions to problems, annoyances, and minor inconveniences.

Didn’t you know that the flag of Japan is a pickled plum on a bed of rice? via Instagram
I came down with a head cold this week. Japan hasn’t alleviated that discomfort, although they come pretty close by way of an affordable and efficient hybrid socialized health care system, and superfoods like umeboshi.
As detailed in the article, “Umeboshi”: The Health Secrets of Japan’s Sourest Fruity Treat, shared in my Flipboard magazine, Life in Japan, pickled plums, like green tea, can boost the immune system, although it seems that I didn’t eat enough before this week.

Weight: 98.2kg/216.5lbs

Mindfulness: 1 day, 10min avg

Avg daily sleep: 5h 41min

Heart rate min/max: 69/100bpm

Exercise: 2 days, 10min avg

Avg daily steps: 8194

Perfect Sunday

Yesterday was a perfect Sunday. Started with a hot home brewed French press of coffee and French toast for breakfast. A family stroll in the newly chilly air followed by steaming bowls of hot soba soup and then me and my sons on the bath.

Other than that, the week was tedious and busy and I won’t even bother to share stats, because there’s nothing good in there!

Time warp

The past week was a boulder dropped on me at about 8:30 on Monday morning. Obviously too much to do, to which was added annoying little clerical tasks that rank highly in importance, urgency, distractiveness, and apparent pointlessness.

Weight: 99.3kg/219lbs

Avg daily mindfulness: 12min over 1 day

Avg daily sleep: 5h 39min

On the topic of building habits, my problem seems to be temporal.

Am I using reminders as a high tech form of procrastination? Could be. Always has been one of my strengths. Part of this habit building project is trying to decide whether to purchase a subscription for Productive. Using the free version, I currently have three goals:

1 Publish this blog once per week.

2 Write for business once per day.

3 Write for pleasure once per day.

Will see how it goes.

There are three more stats I’ll start including as well:

Heart rate min/max: 58/112bpm

Avg daily exercise: 15min over three days

Avg daily steps: 7328

Building habits

The end of the year is coming soon, and this blog is still stagnant.

Today is the first day back to work after the autumn break, which concluded a heartwarming two week visit by my mom and three days in Tokyo Disneyland with my two young children.

Plenty of butter via Instagram

All week, as I indulged in poor habits like staying up too late playing SimCity BuildIt, eating spontaneous hot dogs, and admiring Chip’s and Dale’s butter collection, I’ve been reflecting on the importance of habits. Lurking somewhere behind those reflections are my goals. Grand ideas with nebulous plans supported by little more than digital reminders in the cloud. I believe that the bridge between now and the future I want to create is made of habits.

Although they have been rather neglected recently, I do have some good personal habits on which to build.

Taking a page out of Bridget Jones’ Diary, I will use this blog to hold myself accountable to various habits which I want to cultivate by sharing basic statistics that I regularly track using the iOS Health App.

Weight: 99.8kg/220lbs

Avg daily mindfulness: 5min

Avg daily sleep: 5h 12min

As I get in the weekly habit, I’ll add more details and deeper reflection, but as I’m already a day behind, that’ll be all for this week.

Why blog, anyway?


#2016bestnine via Instagram
This blog is neglected. I started it two years ago as a way to gather creative ideas and reflect on personal experiences in opposition to my professional teaching blog, Symphony of Ideas. That hasn’t happened. At least not in as substantive a manner as I had hoped.
And I know what the problem is: Discipline. At the beginning of 2017, one of my resolutions for the new year was to publish a post here weekly. Didn’t happen. Then, Harvard Business Review was kind enough try to motivate me with Jennifer Porter’s article, Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It). Still didn’t happen.
Now, the summer vacation offers precious time. If I don’t start making a habit of writing now, it would take a miracle to build the habit after the next school year begins.
The ace up my sleeve is Connected Learning MOOC. They’re the ones who got me hooked on digital publishing and online sharing in the summer of 2013, and without any major life events scheduled, I plan to participate this summer less peripherally than in the past. You should too! Sign up for CLMOOC here.
Why blog? Who knows? Just write, share, and see where it leads.