Wow, another year has been wasted away

The pandemic definitely makes things go by so fast.

Training-wise, it doesn’t only feel like, “push the reset button,” but also just a reset button as in you are basically teaching an army of beginners.

and a MASS number of them.

On one hand, it’s good for the future of naginata, because the lack of exercise during the pandemic definitely motivated a lot of people to get moving again.

But there is also the problem of a lot of veteran members getting lazy and too adapted to the “pandemic lifestyle” and has a hard time getting back into the dojo; whether the reasons be the “fear” of not being able to handle the training anymore, the shame for taking such a long time off, or just simply that they are scared about COVID (which is totally understandable). Most of the time, the veteran members have a hard time coming back, so you barely get enough training in the advanced stuff as an advanced person, resulting in UBER rustiness once you’re back in the advanced drills.

However, perhaps this is a good thing to be doing kihon all the time with super beginners–it allows you to really slowly ease back in, in both skill and physical strength, so I guess it isn’t bad.

I’m just constantly telling myself that, “things happen for a reason, and always for the better,” as a way for me to cope with the pandemic lifestyle and its effects in my time. I’m just taking things as they go and rolling with it.

Karate is hard

But honestly, I think it’s VERY good for kids.

Wow, I thought that everyone was doing well online and following directions because they weren’t complaining as much and didn’t seem lost, but omg, when they came to the gym in person, holy shit, they were CLUELESS.

Some of the super young kids couldn’t tell the difference between left and right—couldn’t even COPY ME!!!! Like I thought that was the easiest thing to do as a kid. Nope. Although Motor Learning research says otherwise, I guess for some (special needs) kids, they need to have me literally and physically move their limbs over and over again for them to learn something. Very strange how they defy all odds.

BUT, they definitely do well and improve upon more practice of a particular technique–I was honestly very impressed to see how well they took simple number instruction and just went along with it. I also started to feel like my ‘old confident grounded self’ when teaching and doing all those gruesome deep knee bends again. I definitely enjoy getting paid teaching martial arts all day, rather than dumbass team sports lol.

Doing karate often makes me compare a lot of my years doing naginata to karate. Perhaps karate’s philosophy has actually called the future/made predictions way before naginata? Did I not get to that same level in naginata in the mental side/seeing the big picture because that kind of mature philosophy perhaps didn’t sink in on time? Or was the lack of the competitive exposure, which I lacked in karate, was what I needed to become a more well-rounded and balanced martial artist?

It makes me want to explore some of the older philosophies of karate–perhaps there are some clues there which I haven’t been exposed to yet in naginata. I think there were many things about karate that I didn’t understand as a kid, but maybe it’ll come to fruition now?…

I guess a part of me is like “bah, too bad I wasn’t into karate when I was during my peak athletic years xD hahahahaaha” nah, I think things happened in the right time in the right places. I definitely could learn from my past though, to make my future stronger.

Karate Unit

So I started off the year by teaching a karate unit. I honestly was such an idiot for not doing this before—I mean it only makes LOGICAL SENSE to teach something that I’ve done for 12 years, and although rusty, I am much more familiar with compared to the typical heteronormative white male-dominated realm of team sports. I didddd need a refresher from one of my old Sensei, which he thankfully was gracious enough to provide me with, and it’s strange, my whole body just moved on its own without me thinking. It’s like I just needed those standard cues and orders that were done at the dojo to be said to me again, in order for me to go do it.

But omg within one day, I REMEMBERED what I hated about it—I HATED deep knee bends with a flaming passion–omg my legs were so dead. Wtf, why do I even bother going to the gym and doing boring fitness exercises when I can get the same effects via. karate in the first place? xD

The kids seem to like it so far, I don’t know if it’s just the energy I give off, or if it’s just that they’ve always wanted to do it and they think it’s cool.

Also deep down, I’m secretly grinning at the success of this. I just really wish that my terrible cooperating teachers could’ve seen me do this so that they can get ‘educated’ in how valuable martial arts is, and how a team sports-dominated curriculum is not the best way to teach phys ed. I also just would love to say to their face, “Well you should research it! If you have the time to do other things, you can research it” xD Hah, such ignorant fucks. It may be easy for someone who’s familiar with the games due to being an athlete with thousands of hours in that particular team sport, but not for someone who doesn’t have that same level of experience, so it’s unfair for anyone to place those same expectations on people when they have disclosed beforehand that they don’t have the same experience as you.

I mean wtf, how much more insulting can you get? I thought you’re supposed to be a teacher, so you’re supposed to be teaching, not belittling your pupils. I just hope that you are going through the torture of the realization of the need for individual sports and why they are important.

My body also feels better and more nimble because of it. Would I go back to karate? Probably not, mainly due to the concern of the footwork fucking mine up in naginata. It took me forever to get better at naginata footwork, yet I’m still working on it.

However do I prefer karate as a form of exercise and fitness over yoga and gym fitness classes? Oh yeah, definitely.

Wow, and that was an entire year

Wow, time really does feel slow when you don’t have anything else going on in your life due to the pandemic. It was easy to waste time and find excuses to waste time, just because you cannot get into your usual routine. It gets harder and harder to fight it off as well.

I have never taken this much of a break from budo/exercise. Like I’ve said before, the pandemic and this forced break makes me live in the “idea” of naginata, rather than DOING naginata. I miss going outside to my cafes and being able run around in my athleisure attire while doing so.

I wasn’t able to do alot of my new year’s resolutions from last year, so a lot of those 2020 resolutions have now been passed on to the 2021 year. The 2020 year though, admittedly, made me start to explore new projects that I’m definitely going to include in my 2021 goals. Maybe next year I’ll live that “Instagrammy influencer lifestyle” and have it documented more like the old days.

I don’t think it’s healthy for majority of people to rely on 2021 to just magically be 1000% better. I honestly don’t see things getting better overnight, I think it’ll take a little while.

I’m also going to just organize more and sell plants and clothes that I’m a bit tired of and just grew out of.

The biggest resolution I have for next year is to reclaim my old fearless self that was taken away from me due to abuse and betrayal. I know I”m still there and I learned and grew from my traumatic experiences, but I definitely am looking forward for the clock to strike midnight so that I can just be on top of alot of my life again.

See you soon 2021! Life is still too short!

COVID Budgeting

Budgeting has been very different during COVID due to decreases and increases in my income in different ways. Not getting paid in the summer really also screws you over when it comes to savings and such as well. Bleh. I think I’m going to scrap the Finance Planner for this year and just start fresh in January, since my plant investments have already been splurged and messed up some of my monthly planning. Eh, oh well, I guess it’s not such a bad thing in the long-term if you do spontaneous investments—one bad thing about ‘having a routine’ or just doing a monthly budget is that you can fall victim to complacency and never make potential beneficial spontaneous changes.

In other news, I’m starting to conclude that Winter/Fall plant repotting is not a great time to do it because the plants need a lot of sunlight to adjust, and the reduction of sunlight going into the colder months makes the plant more delayed in acclimation and also increases the chances of yellowing leaves during the initial process. Last year, I didn’t repot any of my plants and just had them sit through the winter, and I think that the slow yet steady growth was beneficial for them in the long run (e.g. look at my PPP). I think I’m going to not touch my Strawberry Shake afterall because the growth has been slow due to the cold weather + winter. My White Princess has also not shown any more yellowing leaves, so I think it ended up adjusting ok and started to (finally) shoot out some new roots. My Variegated Adansonii has been having an accelerated amount of yellowing leaves I think due to the cold weather, lack of sunlight, and just having a bigger plant overall to need to support. I’m starting to wonder if the Variegated Adansonii needs to constantly be bonsai’d as a way to keep the specimen surviving. I am also thinking about experimenting with it by giving it flowering fertilizer to see if it’ll produce some inflorescence (I don’t think anyone has ever seen a Variegated Adansonii Inflorescence before because it’s a relatively new plant).

Having a desk has also been helpful in being able to do some daily things that is needed…I have been able to keep up with a lot of the naginata 仕事 and just the brainless email response stuff as well.

Wow, a year has literally felt like a waste

At least for me, if you’re not busy with something that keeps you going forward in your life (in my case, naginata), everything just feels like a bag of potato chips containing empty calories. You want to train, but cannot. You have all these home improvement projects that you had in mind during this corona time, but then never get to because of just lack of funds due to the shitty economy, or just that not having your mental state being the same due to the lack of consistent training makes you not push yourself as much as you usually would. I did, however, get some mega back burner projects done (which I feel great about), however, my “2020 Goals” page in my planner is pathetically not bubbled as much as I intended it to be for this year.

Not as many tutoring appointments as before, no coaching $ like in the previous years, so I definitely had to budget things a little bit differently this year, however, I did get into the world of investing and what it means to take huge risks in a large chunk of money at once, when to wait, when to buy, and calculating profit out of things. I decided to nest my egg of future cash investments, while not going so crazy on stocks and whatnot. I also took advantage of some of the deals on quality items due to the economy, since I would normally not buy them under normal (budget) circumstances. The money I would’ve normally used for yearly plane tickets to Japan has now been used on investments instead. I really hope that they pay off in the Spring and that the plant industry does not experience a Dutch Tulip Bulb Crash like 1637.

The city has been much quieter now since the pandemic. It’s honestly too bad that I wasn’t still doing my thesis during these quiet times at home xD I could’ve saved a lot of post-commute stress had the pandemic hit during my studies, oh well. Now that I’ve been working on my publication and working with real people, I guess that is making me try to procrastinate in other ways (a.k.a. actually writing on this blog lol).

Right now, Himawari has been teaching a dance unit during class, so I’ve been waking up less stressed out about things. It’s just that I have been feeling lazier and lazier—now I honestly feel as though there is nothing to watch on Youtube now (yeah…it’s THAT bad lol). I am not looking forward to instructing again anytime soon…naginata, yes, but not work work…

I also have been able to finally grow my nails out long since I’m not training at the moment xD I actually really find them to be an inconvenience and I honestly don’t understand how anyone (especially my younger self) would want long nails. Like yes, it looks pretty and elegant, but like…omg, it really sucks to type and everything lol. Thankfully, I decided to splurge on this (dysfunctional) Bluetooth wireless keyboard that is modeled after a typewriter, so it’s been a little easier to type with my nails, but still…bleh, I hate it lol.

I do have to admit, the pandemic has allowed me time to find creative ways to explore naginata. It makes me wonder though if naginata has changed in it’s priority in my life, or if it has totally enmeshed itself into me to the point where I’m not ‘obsessing’ over it in every single of my life. It takes more energy and effort to make things revolve around it, however, the funny thing is that when I start writing about something else, it just eventually comes back to naginata anyway lol. Whenever I was also asked to collaborate on projects featuring naginata, I also would enjoy it when I’m doing it, so I guess it just became a part of me and my identity to the point where I don’t need to prove anymore how much it means to me.

Although I didn’t get everything done like how I originally planned, I at least got other things done and still was able to take an ample amount of time to reflect on things.

What I also learned from plants:

One thing I struggled with a lot, was what people thought about me. I think I have finally come to terms with the fact that no matter what you do or say, haters are going to hate and that’s ok. That it’s ok to let go of people who aren’t who you thought they were.. or to acknowledge that deep down they are exactly who you knew they were, you just tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and move on.


I am glad that I’m not the only “crazy”one, I guess this is just a normal thing to happen.

I am also getting very sick of this coronalife…I want to be back at the dojo all the time and actually doing things. I’ve never had my body feel this out of shape before–however, it was interesting to see all of the subtle and small muscles naginata makes stronger, and see why we take them for granted.

“Budo as a garden”

So I’m sure many of you are wondering why I’m posting so many pictures of plants. Tbh, because the dojo is closed, I don’t have anyone to nurture except for my plants. I also am very limited with what I can do in my house during the stay-at-home order, so yes, plants seem to be the only thing fulfilling my life right now instead of budo, shopping, and nice cafes to work LOL.

However, during my time away from the dojo, I have been able to notice some similarities between plants and #budo (more specifically in regards to #teaching); each plant has its own medium, watering, sunlight, and nutrient requirements in order to thrive well, just like how each individual student has their unique requirements for nurturing, teaching explanations, etc.. in order to perform well. Some plants require more sunlight to grow, some burn, just like how some students need more attention from the teacher, while others need more independence and space because too much individualized attention can make them stressed out. Some plants are naturally more finicky than others, just like how some students are harder to get your point across to than others. Some plant species are easy to grow for some growers, while for some others, it’s considered temperamental and not easy to care for—it honestly sounds just like different teachers exchanging information about their experiences about one particular student at the #dojo . Most importantly, you cannot assume that one type of medium will work for ALL plants; I do not use #leca for my phalaenopsis orchids nor my succulents, however, I use them for my aroids. The equivalent in teaching is to NOT use the SAME explanation of a #waza or concept and expect all students to get it. That’s not how it works. Some students may also need more repetitions than others in order to master a technique, while others, using only your explanation and method, may need less to get it.

I honestly felt like smacking myself in the head that it took me until NOW to fully sink in what #Kliebard (1972) said about the curriculum metaphor, “Curriculum as a Garden.” Kliebard said that when you are developing a curriculum for students, you want to envision a garden where many different species of plants, each with their own specific needs and attributes, and provide a unique, nurturing environment for each plant. No two plants are alike, so with this care, you are able to grow each individual plant to its full potential. This is how students should be viewed when you are teaching. Kliebard also mentioned how gardens can be fun for everyone as well. I can now see his metaphor and also realized how difficult it is for people in competitive #martialarts to be able to nurture others. You definitely cannot be successful without the ability to nurture.

White Plant Notes from neo_plants_flowers

White Anderson

Philodendron White Anderson
Philodendron White Anderson

– No white on petiolar sheaths (but some exceptions for highly variegated plants)
– Looks like a “White PPP”
– Starts off pink, but hardens to white
– Reds, pinks, whites, greys
– Pointer, heart-shaped leaves
– Red stems
– Has “freckles”/splotches of different colors

White Knight

Philodendron White Knight
Philodendron White Knight

– Red stems, but white petiolar sheaths
– Rounder leaves (think of mochi bunnies)
– Lighter green (in general)

White Princess

Philodendron White Princess
Philodendron White Princess

– Green stems
– Can sometimes come out hot pink o_O but then eases off to white
– Shape of leaves more similar to a PPP (heart-shaped)

White Wizard

Philodendron White Wizard
Philodendron White Wizard

– Green stems
– Fat, round leaves (looks like a White Knight but with green stems)

Apparently there is also a “Philodendron Pink Anderson” but it looks like a specific variegation that’s common on a regular PPP. Bleh, I think it’s bull.

Finding myself again

Recently bought orchids, thinking about buying another rabbit. It’s funny, these were ‘old things’ that I did (also doing it under pressures of being broke), and it’s been a long while. While I have learned new things and I guess have made the new things part of me during the ‘changing process’/losing myself, I guess COVID-19 prevented myself from derailing further and made me find myself again. I feel better, and I think I’ll come back more powerful and knowledgeable than before.