Empress Has Myocardial Ischemia

Empress Michiko has myocardial ischemia, an ailment in which blood has trouble reaching the heart due to a blockage in the coronary arteries, the Imperial Household Agency said Sunday night.

Read the entire article on JapanToday http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/empress-has-myocardial-ischemia-scan-shows

Empress Michiko is 80 years old.  I am sure she will receive the best care that modern medicine has to offer, but shockingly, the drugs and possible invasive operations may not offer anything more than slightly extending her life.   This condition has been shown to be preventable and treatable with diet.

Heart attack is the number one killer, the cause of 50% of all deaths each year.   And it need not be.   As a quick aside, back in the 1970s, Dr. Michael Gregor's grandmother was sent home to die by heart specialists.   Instead she enrolled at a Pritikin Center and learned a new way of eating.  She arrived in wheel chair and walked out on her own two feet - and went on to live healthfully for another 30 years!   In fact, that is what prompted the then young Michael Gregor to become an MD (he now runs Nutritionfacts.org).

Here is Dr. Hans Diehl, founder of CHIP (Coronary Health Improvement Project) telling us what we each need to do to protect ourselves from the number one killer (and many others).   If only Empress Michiko would somehow get the same message.

Dr Hans Diehl: Diet in Regression of Heart Disease  

(about 57 munutes)

Empress Michiko eat well, be well.


Shelter From The Storm

While we have a more substantial garage than the average Japanese household, it being a fully enclosed one car type, it isn't exactly spacious.  With three bicycles and a car in there, along with various stored items, we were pretty much at the limit, so adding a recumbent trike was not going to work.   I needed another shelter for the trike.

Bicycle shelters are not uncommon here, but they usually are erected over bare ground or gravel which results in humidity problems (read "rust").    So I went about building something with a raised floor.

A year or so ago I had replaced Momo's large bench with a smaller one which is easier for her, as an older dog, to jump onto.  The old bench was set aside and was no longer in use.   I unbolted the legs of the old one which left me with two 90 cm square platforms with rails on the bottom.

I purchased a suitably sized shelter kit made of aluminum tubing and vinyl covering.  Well, I should say that most were too small, being designed for one bike and some were too large.   I went with "too large", but it worked out fine.  I bought three sheets of 90 x 180 cm plywood (painted on one side, as suggested by K) and cut them into pieces with a circular saw to make a floor for my "trike garage".  The floor with base is heavy enough to prevent even high winds from moving it.

I screwed a center strip of plywood to hold the two platforms together, then added two larger pieces to form the front and back of the floor.   Then, I attached the base of the aluminum tube frame of the shelter to the edge of the floor using some electrical conduit straps.  I drilled countersunk holes for the flooring screws so that the floor is flat with no screw heads sticking up.

K and I carried that into position and added the rest of the frame and the cover, which is held down by elastic cord through gromets in the cover and wrapped around the frame.   The garage measures about 160 cm wide by 220 cm long.   There is a zippered roll-up door at one end and the opening roughly matches the car garage awning width so opens right onto the concrete pad in front of the car garage.

The interior is about 170 cm high along the centerline.

I cut some left over ply to fit into the back of the garage as a shelf, coating the bare wood portion with urethane varnish along with some strips to reinforce it in the center and at the side edges.

I found some plastic ramps at the home center which make it easy to roll  a bike or the trike into and out of the garage.    Now I have a shelter which holds my Raleigh and my trike.   The bottom of the floor is about 11 cm above the ground.   My bike and trike are high and dry in any weather.

Air pump and windscreen fairing (rolled up) on the shelf in the background.  Gekko FX 26 parked inside.  Ramp along the front base for easy entry and exit.  The flag pole has a connection just below the flag for easy shortening.

I keep the Raleigh bike along side the Gekko trike.  This gives us a bit more room in the car garage.  When we're not home, it's easy to link the bike and trike together with a security cable and lock.   Of course, most of the time, the door is zipped shut.  The project took about a day to complete. 


Spin Fast

Relax. Spin Fast. Ride Trikes.   That's the advice from America's largest (and best IMO) retailer of recumbent tricycles, Utah Trikes.  

In July I took delivery of my new wheels - a recumbent tricycle.   Built by German company  HP Velotechnik, it's a foldable model called a "Gekko FX 26".   26 is for the large wheel in the back.

I will still retain my Raleigh, Yamaha electric PAS, and Brompton folding bikes, each of which has a special purpose for me.  The Gekko is a blast to ride though and will be mostly "just for fun".

I ordered it with mud fenders (it rains a lot here), two rear view mirrors, and an aluminum rack.   I have since equipped it with a flag for added visability, bright dual tail lights and a bright headlight (though I don't plan to ride it at night), an air horn, and a cycling computer.   I also purchsed a windscreen, separately, which I will add in the winter to keep cold air and rain off of me.

Along with the 26 inch rear wheel, 3 gears up front and 8 in back mean I can take hills as well as cruise at whatever speed my legs will deliver.

The light weight aluminum frame keeps the Gekko FX 26 well under 40 lbs.

The recumbent riding posture improves power to the pedals and puts an end to saddle pain, back aches, and sore wrists that one may get on a "diamond frame" bike.


K takes the Gekko for a spin.  Judging by the smile on her face, I may have to get her one too!  Since they fold, we could fit two of them in her car.
While I do see upright trikes here on occasion, there aren't many recumbent trikes in Japan as yet. I expect that to change.  There is already a bike shop headquartered in Kyoto which specializes in recumbent bikes and trikes, and which has several other locations between there and Tokyo.  Also, one trike manufacturer from the USA has set up shop in Japan.

As for Momo the Wonder Dog, she's not interested in cars, bikes, trikes, or sailboats.  She'd rather just watch us while she lays in the shade of the pomegranate tree or on her front porch deck. 

Momo in her summer cut.  Almost time for a trim.


Panda Bears' Picnic

The first Sunday in May we decided to take Momo to one of her favorite parks - Suigo Prefectural Forest Park - for a picnic.  It's on the other side of Lake Kitaura from home and is just a 20 minute ride by car.

The park has nice foot paths through lots of trees and around and over a small lake.  There is also a large grass area for picnics, play, and even outdoor concerts.

They used to allow fishing in the lake, but no more. After we had walked around a while and crossed the suspension bridge we found out why:

"This sign warns of the presence of "Mamushi" - a poisonous pit viper common to Japan, Korea, and China.  Two to three thousand people a year get bit by these things in Japan and about ten people die from it.    Yipes! I'm glad that Pandabonium and K kept me on the path." - Momo the Wonder Dog

"We found a nice spot for our picnic out on the grass under the shade of a young tree.   Pandabonium and K brought things to eat of course.  I had my water dish and bottle.  K shared some of her boiled chestnuts with me!  Yum." -Momo

Bananas, a bag of chestnuts, spiced kabocha, and apples.
"A family nearby had brought the kids' bikes.  I heard them say they thought I was "kawaii" (cute).  I wondered if they had any treats to share." -Momo 
"As always, it was great fun to picnic.   By the time we were done, I was a little tired and happy to go home for a nap."  - Momo
If you go down in the woods today you're sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today you'd better go in disguise
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today's the day the Panda Bears have their picnic

Every Panda Bear who's been good is sure of a treat today
There's lots of marvellous things to eat and wonderful games to play
Beneath the trees where nobody sees they'll hide and seek as long as they please
That's the way the Panda Bears have their picnic

Picnic time for Panda Bears
The little Panda Bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares and see them picnic on their holiday
See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout
They never have any cares
At six o'clock their Mummies and Daddies will take them home to bed
'Cause they're tired little Panda Bears

If you go down in the woods today you better not go alone
It's lovely down in the woods today but safer to stay at home
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today's the day the Panda Bears have their picnic


Fukushima Lives

Fukushima-ken neighbors Ibaraki-ken (our fair prefecture) to our north.

After March 11, 2011, many people in other countries have viewed the entire area as if it no longer existed.  This view is very distorted and far from objective.   Certainly, there are problems - mostly due to the damage of the tusnami, and of course due to the resulting catastrophe of the nuclear power plant meltdowns.  But Fukushima is alive and its people carry on as exemplified in this video about one young woman's determination to help preserve and be part of the local traditions.


"Ware Tada Taru (wo) Shiru"

Written on a tsukubai (stone water basin) at Ryoan-ji temple, Kyoto.    It means "one already has all one needs".

At Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

I am resuming posting to this blog...