Fit For Life…

Is it jet lag?
Ever since being back from Japan, I wake up very early and feel dead-tired in the afternoon. It has been affecting me so much that If I am not disciplined, I will climb into bed in no time and fall asleep instantly! Having said that, the time I open my eyes is nudging closer to more sociable hours every morning. Therefore, I should be truly back in UK, mentally & physically, very soon.

Thinking about one’s equilibrium, there was an occurrence which made me realise how important to keep your mind & body active in order to lead a healthy & fulfilling life.
It happened on one cold but dry evening in Nagano, I took my mum and aunt for dinner in downtown. Instead of ordering a cab, we decided to walk to the bus-stop on Daimon through Zenkō-ji since we needed to work up our appetite…


On a way to Zenkō-ji, mum & I were shocked to discover how frail my aunt had become.
Despite the fact she was 3 years younger than mum, a sedentary lifestyle she had been leading for the past few years clearly took its toll. Her stride was a shuffle and her balance was precariously bad. ‘Shall we catch a cab?’, I was worried if she might stumble and hurt herself. Aunt paused and then expressed how dismayed she was about her own physical state, ‘I am so unfit!’
Unfortunately, there was no taxi or bus due to a traffic restriction around Zenkō-ji compound so we kept on walking slowly. Time to time, mum lent her elbow to aunt when they had to negotiate uneven & slippery parts of the promenade…


Over the dinner, aunt vowed that she would amend her lifestyle for the sake of regaining fitness.
Unlike Tokyo’s or London’s, Nagano’s winter is harsh. The mercury in the city plunges the lowest amongst any other areas’ except Hokkaido. Therefore, it is not always easy to stick to one’s fitness regime, even for the one, fit as a fiddle.
During my stay in Nagano, I tried to go for a walk as often as the weather permitted. Donning a few layers of clothing and a pair of sheepskin insoles in my boots, I still had to steel myself against icy air every time I open the front door. With the winter climate being so inhospitable, I could understand why my aunt decided to stay indoor all day.
‘Don’t worry, I’ll find a way somehow’, aunt reassured me while sipping a small glass of sake. Concerned mum reminded her over and over how she must be patient but also diligent when it came to getting fit. She was worried if aunt would do too much too soon and hurt herself. Knowing her tendency to be reckless, mum’s apprehensiveness was perfectly legitimate.
Oh well, I shall give aunt a call time to time so I can check on her progress and also give my encouragement. Being fit & active physically as well as mentally is a key to our daily happiness and we all must thrive for it no matter how slow the progress may be…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

12 thoughts on “Fit For Life…

  1. I know just how you feel, I suffered the worst case of jet lag EVER after this last trip to Japan. I think it took me 3 weeks to get over it. Unlike you, I had no discipline and was crawling in to bed every time I felt the least bit exhausted. But then, almost overnight, the jet lag went away and I’m sure it will be the same for you.

    I know how you felt when seeing your aunt and how frail she has become. The same thing has happened to M’s aunt in the last few years. Even though she lives in sunny Southern California she is cold all the time and never wants to leave the warmth of her house which always has the heater cranked up to the highest levels. We all urge her to exercise but she refuses. It’s good to know that at least your aunt is acknowledging that she needs to incorporate more physical activity in to her life.

    • Finally, finally, I am sleeping without waking up around 4am! So nice to be able to sleep through the night. I feel rested and… a human!

      My aunt is not very sociable which doesn’t help her condition. I wish if she goes out more and see more people like my mum. I’ve heard that in some cases, aging process disturbs one’s ability to regulate the sense of body temperature. Maybe your aunt is suffering from it? There must be a treatment for the condition.
      I hope my aunt will be in a better shape next time I see her… x

  2. i think the trick to not getting jetlagged is to stay awake on the plane. that’s always worked for me, at least.

    i like this post a lot, kaori. i 120% agree with you. everything is cyclic. being physically healthy can improve not only your physical health, but also your mental health. and in the same way, being mentally healthy can improve your posture, body image, and motivation to become physically healthy.

    • My aunt’s decline was rather alarming. I imagine she was sitting down in her apartment with TV all day long. Unlike my mum, she doesn’t socialise much and loves drinking alone. All those vice has caught up with her eventually. She’s promised that she would be more active and eat more & drink less. I really hope she will stick to her word…

    • Yeah, she really needs to revise her lifestyle! She sits around all day and watches TV passively. I tried to teach her a new board game during New Year’s holiday. And her inability to grasp it was alarming. I think no matter how old one becomes, he /she has to exercise physically as well as mentally. She’s promised to me that she will be in a better shape until I see her next time. Let’s hope she will keep her word.
      Ohhhh, I have to lose the weight I gained pre & post Christmas too! (^0^;)

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