Mixed feelings at the start of Reiwa, UNCC, and friends

Today is the first day of the new era. Heisei ended yesterday, and Reiwa began at the stroke of midnight.

There are many moving scenes of the former emperor abdicating. He was a man of grace, and the imperial couple are much loved. I particularly liked that I could actually understand him when he spoke. I heard him speak for the first time after the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Fukushima. I was struck by how clear and easy-to-understand his Japanese was.

While there is a mood of celebration at the coming of the new era, I find myself feeling mixed feelings today. After all, today was also the shootings and killings at my undergraduate school, UNCC, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I watched in shock and sadness, seeing scenes of the campus I graduated from 40 years ago this month. And the Kennedy Building! That’s where the physics department was, where I had all my classes, and spent most of my time hanging out – in labs, on the computer. How could something like that happen at UNCC?

I tried to take a walk in the late afternoon, before the rains started again. I needed to shake off feelings of depression and lethargy. I still have some jet-lag and fell asleep before midnight last night. Then I got up early to work on a site which was having some problems, and also take care of invoicing since it’s the first of the month. But the UNCC news was present in my mind. People always say, “I can’t believe it happened here.” I feel that way about UNCC.

Also today I heard that Peggy Oberhofer, the wife of Dr. Ed Oberhofer, the physics chair at UNCC when I was there, passed away last month. She was a wonderful person. I love that family. I haven’t heard from Dr. Oberhofer in some years though. I wonder if he still uses email.

All this UNCC news all of a sudden. I felt like I was going back and forth in time, 40 years ago, and then today, the first day of Reiwa. I had thought of visiting Charlotte during this last U.S. trip, but there wasn’t time.

And there was also the news I heard before boarding my plane back to Japan that a good friend and former student at Nippon Electronics College, Tanabe-san, had suffered a stroke in Thailand, where he is living. At first we thought he was missing. Then news started coming in that he was found, but because of his stroke he can’t use the right side of his body or speak. His Thai friends and Japanese friends are trying to sort things out. He needs rehab. Does he want to stay there? Does he want to come back to Japan? Does he have medical insurance in Thailand? It’s a difficult situation.

I did take a slow walk around the neighborhood, and the rains did come again. I tried to lay down and listen to some music, but couldn’t relax.

There are still five days left to the unusually long Golden Week holidays this year. I somehow feel like I missed the start of Reiwa I was so looking forward to. I don’t exactly feel celebratory. The rains are now getting stronger, and the day is just unreal and disturbing.

I would like to try to find some mental peace of mind in the remaining days of Golden Week.

A morning Monta nap

Just a sleeping ball of feathers.

By the by, did you get my last post on the Golden Week special holiday this year, and the change of era on May 1st? If not, click here to read it.

A special Golden Week this year in Japan

The 10 day holiday for this year’s Golden Week has begun. Exciting times in Japan.

First the weekend.

Monday is Showa Day.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are special Coronation Day holidays. The Emperor abdicates on Tuesday bringing an end to the 31 year Heisei Era. The new Emperor is coronated on Wednesday, marking the start of Reiwa 1.

Friday is Constitution Day.

Saturday is Greenery Day.

Sunday is Children’s Day.

Monday is Children’s Day, observed.

Happy Holidays. For those of us in Japan. 🙂


Diet update after my U.S. trip – all is well!

I’m back in Japan after 24 days in the U.S. I’d like to give a brief report on how I did during this trip.

First the good news (for me). My weight this morning, on the scale I’ve been using for years, is exactly the same as it was on April 1 when I left for Boston and St. Louis!

Super yay!

What I did right:

Except for my two long-haul flights, where I ate the vegan meals (i.e. they probably included oils), everything I ate was compliant with WFPB eating, as per the recommendations of people like Ornish and Esselstyn and Greger. It was because of Greger’s “How Not To Die” that I recommitted to this way of eating in September. And because of this, my HbA1c is down to normal range, my blood pressure is great, my LDL is amazing, and I’ve lost a lot of weight.

What I didn’t do that I usually do (but planned this in advance):

I am also trying to lose weight, so normally I also follow Chef AJ’s advice and stick to foods lower in calorie density and log my calories and exercise in MyFitnessPal and stick to a net of 1800 calories a day or less.

In particular, except for this trip, I haven’t been eating breads or pastas and I’ve been avoiding avocados and things obviously high in calories, like nuts.

But this time I figured for my trip I’d concentrate on healthy WFPB eating and not on weight loss and see what happens.

So I splurged on things like WFPB compliant delicious breads I found in the U.S. – eating lots every day. And also lots of guacamole and other things I normally don’t eat.

Depending on the scale I used, I could see weight fluctuations of just a few pounds, so I knew things were “basically under control” so I was really pleased to check this morning, at the usual time, and see that I didn’t gain any weight at all!

I also got in less of the “Daily Dozen” than I usually do during this trip, and walked less than I usually do.

Going forward:

So now I’m back in Japan. I’m following the Daily Dozen again, and will get back to daily walking more, and am back on lower calorie density foods so I can continue my weight loss journey. In other words, just go on as usual.

Since I had such great success without counting calories the last few weeks, I may try an experiment with that – but just sticking to the lower calorie density foods – and see how that goes.

All is good.

Stay the course!