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