Saturday, July 17, 2010


So I had a doctor's appointment this week... just the normal regular checkup on my knee. And he talked to my therapist and then checks out my knee and as usual, he gives me his "You get a A plus on your knee. I can tell you're working hard and it shows!" Now, when you hear that every time, I always joke with him that that's his standard line. Part of it is obviously encouragement but then he did say that I'm at a point where if I had NBA Finals next month or the Superbowl to play in, I am at a stage where they can attempt to get me back by then in playing condition. Of course, with that comes a lot of risk as well and then he proceeded to talk about Rod Woodson who had the reconstructive surgery and while his recovery time was projected to be 6 to 12 months, he came back in 4 to play in Superbowl XXX.

Dr Craythorn who performed my surgery and who I have follow up visits with is (or maybe was) Tampa Rays doctor so he's also used to assessing where the recovery stage is and push harder than a normal doctor to get the patients back. Now, he's also used to dealing with the regular Joe Schmoe's like me but he knows what to look for and so with his thumbs up, he's able to authorize me to do more...

And so now, I am starting to jog on the treadmill... I do intervals and I use that term very very loosely as I am walking for 30 seconds and jogging at an 11 minute pace for 2-3 minutes... but considering some doctors don't allow their patients to even start jogging until 6 months post op, this is huge that I am starting now, merely 13 weeks after surgery.

I already declared on here that I will PR my half marathon in December in Vegas. I ran 1:43:00 last year and I intend to break 1:40 this year. It will be tight and it will be a lot of work but competitive and determined are two words that pretty much define who I am. I told my trainers that that is what I'm gonna do so they need to make my training to gear towards that and while at first, they jokingly laughed, I think they now know I am dead serious. I mean the assistant did go from "I'm not sure you'll be ready to do a half" to "I'm not sure you can get a PR in your half" so clearly, my improvement is going better than he expected. The head PT guy is a guy that has done more ACL's than anyone else in Tampa and based on what he's seeing out of me, he's fairly certain that I can be back to running hard in the next couple of months. Beyond that, it would be up to me to get my endurance back.

Who knows? Maybe I'll be able to get back to basketball before 2011... after all, I am already jumping off my left leg and landing on my left leg. While it's still a little unstable, I am months ahead of where I was when I had the same surgery on my opposite leg 12 years ago.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

My second home

Most of you know that I'm born and raised in Japan. Well, if you don't... I am.

But now that I've moved to Tampa, it feels like I have a second place to call home. And that's Richmond, VA. It's funny how it is. While I was there, I couldn't wait to move out. I mean there were parts of it that I loved but there were more things that made me want to move somewhere else. But now that I moved, I miss it. To be honest, I really don't know if I miss Richmond or the people there. Probably both and probably weighted towards the people... but this morning, I realized that I missed the place itself as well.

In Tampa, I live 3 blocks away from Howard Ave which is known for all the cool restaurants and bars that are down in Hyde Park area of Tampa. It's a "trendy" place where lots of "young professionals" hang out. It also happens to be the douchebag capital of the world. I swear, there must be a dbag fountain somewhere around here... Ed Hardy shirts that are two sizes too small, bling-ish sunglasses worn at night indoors, etc. Yep, typical douchebags. But chicks dig that. And these are also hot chicks. So I guess everyone just plays the game. Don't get me wrong. Douchebags are everywhere. In VA, they pop their collars. But at least they weren't as over the top as they are down here. Anyways, so while I love going to the bars on Howard, I was also craving a more chill atmosphere too. Because the whole, being a dbag, pretending to be something more than you really are, and just trying to get laid is not the game I play. Just not how I roll. I'd rather not get laid for years than to sleep with someone that I don't care about that I'll never see again (until you awkwardly run into them at a bar again or whatever).

Well, when I went to get a haircut, I was talking to the dude and I asked him for some advice on places to eat. He's openly gay and lives in Ybor (kinda known for where the gay people live/hang out - sometimes referred to as "gaybor" per wikipedia, not my words) so I figured he would know more of a different feel restaurant than this Howard Ave dbag crowd (that I would assume would be extremely homophobic). And sure enough, he told me about this breakfast joint that he and his bf go. Some homely diner where they know your name, run by a family, etc.

So... today (Saturday), I decided to go check it out.

Pach's Place. Once you walk inside, it's definitely that family owned diner feel. It's small, crowded, busy, and loud... and it reminded me of the diners I used to go in Richmond. For Richmonders, think rivercity diner but smaller, boychik's but packed in tighter, or Jimmy's but louder (and def busier). I sat at the counter since I was by myself and sat next to this old lady, Connie, who told me about how the diner has been around for years and it's family owned and the people that work there has been there for years (except for our waitress who just started today). I also talked to two other older ladies from West Virginia and so I told them about how I've been to Charleston and also driven out to Huntington for a friend's wedding. I told them that I thought the state was beautiful (the drive to Huntington crossing the state is gorgeous) and they were stoked that I knew WV and that I was so appreciative of the state. They told me that you never realize how beautiful that state is until you leave there and move down here to flat FL. So true.

It was just so nice to be in a homely feel type of place. I was craving that a lot more than I realized until I got it. The food was good... I mean it's standard eggs, bacon, grits (finally found it here!), homefries, and toast (slabbed with melted butter). Ah, finally, some southern flair. As I crushed my food, said goodbye to the ladies, and left the place, I realized that for that last 30 minutes or so, it was like home sweet home. Who knew that I would actually miss Richmond like this? I sure didn't.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Third World Country Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, I intend to keep this very brief. After a week long binge drinking and partying, by the end of the week, between all the alcohol and the sun that we were getting, along with the crazy bug bites, we were all ready to leave. I mean it was just a long week and so it was just draining. Plus, keep in mind that 10 of us are sharing a house and despite it being a large house and many of us having the bedrooms to ourselves, eventually, you start missing home and your normal life... at least I do.

So, the last night that we were in Roatan, we went to this bar, partied some but didn't go crazy... at this point, alcohol was starting to not get the job done for me... which I was ok with. Well, Friday night, it became really stormy and nasty... apparently, tropical storm Alex was coming in and so it was just a lot of rain and wind... and sure enough, Saturday morning, the day we're all supposed to leave, I'm woken up by one of my friends who came into my room and said "all the flights are cancelled!"


I mean are you serious? I was looking forward to going back to the US and to my home and now you tell me we have to stay another day here? I was not happy about it at all. Some of them were gonna go to the airport to sort things out but I just decided to check the status online and just go from there.

Well... remember how I had to switch my flight because Delta was delayed and so I ended up missing the flight that everyone was on? And so I had to book Continental? Well... CLUTCH!!!! It was only Delta that cancelled all their flights for the day. Continental (flying a different route obv) did not cancel any of their flights so I actually got to go home... And boy was I glad.

Don't get me wrong. Roatan was a lot of fun and being with my friends is always great. But after 7 days of just nothing but partying (I don't know how to "take it easy") and such, I was ready to be home. Also, the bug bites and the sun was taking a toll on my skin and I was starting to get bumps and rashes and I wanted some american medication. (No CVS or Walmart in Roatan)

When I touched down in Houston, I was so psyched. Connection to Tampa was no problem and the tropical storm... well, I never saw it or was affected by it so I don't know why Delta was being such a pussy but it is what it is.

You know, the cool thing is, despite remembering that I wanted to come home by like Friday, as time passes, only the good things stick in my head. The fun times that we had. Getting to know some of the others on the trip. And just having fun with old friends. I'll probably never go to Honduras/Roatan ever again... but I'll always remember the fun times that we had.

Third World Country

I have so much that I've been wanting to write about but just failed to make writing a priority. Knee is coming along good but still very slowly. 9-12 month recovery is no joke and though it's week 12 now, I can only jog for like 30 seconds at a time so as not to stress the ACL (or the ligament that is now in the place of ACL) too much too soon.

Well, few weeks ago, I went to Roatan Islands off the coast of Honduras with 9 of my friends from Richmond. Going into the trip, I had mixed feelings about this. The deal was that we were all staying in a house... of course, the house is like super nice. I mean this is the view from our deck...

Literally, we go down the steps and there's the beach... and the pier... which we went on the boat rides 2 of the 7 days that we were there... well, sort of.

And this is the island we were on...

So here's the deal. Generally, beautiful views and gorgeous scenery really doesn't do much for me. And on top of that, this is Honduras... a country where I imagine poor people walking around with AK-47's, trafficking children to be sold for sex slaves, and obviously, dealing drugs. Yes, I'm narrow minded and very judgmental. But, I was definitely stoked to see my friends. I mean two of my very close friends were gonna be there so naturally, I was just glad to see them. See, the thing is, as much as I love Tampa and all, I really miss my friends... like terribly. If it weren't for the great career opportunity, I would move back in a heartbeat. Fuck Tampa, friends are so much more important. But that's why I try to take the opportunities I can to join them and so, this trip to Roatan.

Interestingly enough, by Saturday (the trip was Sat-Sat), I was excited. I get to the Tampa airport, ready to party it up when I see that the flight is delayed... due to "crew rest." I mean are you for fuckin real!? In talking to the gate agent, she tells me that there's no way I will make my connection to Roatan... But I'm supposed to meet all my friends in Atlanta where we will hop on the plane there! No dice. She told me that I can call the reservation desk and they can try to get me on another plane but of course, the one that I'm supposed to get on is the last flight to Roatan. And Delta doesn't fly to Roatan on Sundays. And Monday is booked up. So the earliest they can get me to Roatan is Tuesday. Naturally, I said "fuck that" and I canceled the trip... got a full refund since it was their fault, called my friends who were already in ATL and told them the story. Then everyone (my friends in ATL) and I get online (me at TPA, at a bar, watching World Cup) to look for flights on Sunday... and sure enough Continental flies there and the tickets are essentially the same price. So, I rebook and I arrive there a day late. This will actually be very key for the return trip but I will hit on that later.

So I get there and sure enough, my friends are there to pick me up. Despite a night of partying, they looked alright... obviously, because I wasn't there to ruin them completely... since that is what I do. But in the truck that they drove to pick me up, they brought me a bottle of southern comfort (my staple, even though Al clearly has that title in the bloggerdom but I was into Soco way before I even knew blogs existed) and so we all took a swig. Of course, since I wasn't driving, I took a pretty big swig. And once we got there, well... all hell breaks loose. Games of beer pong starts, and we go nuts with the shots. I mean that is what I do. At one point, we somehow decided that a shot of tequila would need to be done in the crawl space. So that is what we did here.

Tequila always hurts so good (I'm stealing a quote from a friend who probably got it from some movie or show).

Despite all the drinking and the memory loss (that is slowly being pieced back together via Facebook photos), the following day was more of the same. Our boat captain came to get us and we went to different bars on the boat. And as you can imagine, more of the same.

Btw, I'm not doing these shots alone... I've cropped out my friends who are in the photo for privacy purposes FWIW. And unfortunately, no Soco in honduras so we ended up doing more tequila shots.

After a while, we noticed that there were t-shirts on the ceiling with people signing stuff so I volunteered my shirt and all of us on the trip signed the shirt to leave our mark in Roatan!

Of course, after all that drinking and partying, I was passed out on the boat... and boy did that feel really good with the breeze and everything (but I paid the price forgetting to put sun screen on my face).

Wow, I thought I can finish this trip summary in one post but I obv can't. It's already long enough so I guess I'll break it up into two parts (and this is really a very summarized version... I believe there are like 800+ pics on Facebook of this trip).