These are all pictures from the same sites close to the Imperial Palace. Unfortunately, I was not able to photograph the Imperial Place itself, because that area was closed to the public.

Although I have enjoyed my Japan experience so far, it has been a sweaty experience! The current temperature is 83 degrees, but the humidity is 81% and the Dew Point is 76 degrees. Ouch! 

 I have been running about 2.5 miles every morning in the Sengenyama Park, a park just a half mile from our house. It is a wonderful run in the woods, with several steep but short hills that lead to the top of the park. I have been timing one of this hills, a short sprint that includes a number of steps. This morning I ran my best time of 61 seconds. Progress!

When I got back from my run, I thought I would put my body to the test with my Tanita scale. This is a cool scale that measures weight, body fat, and a number of other physical characteristics. After turning it on, I raise the handles and then the mechanism uses some kind of magnetic energy to come up with these different statistics. Like many of these gadgets, I do not think these measurements are perfect. However, this tool has its place, especially for comparative purposes. 

I guess I must be doing something right as my measurements this morning were some of the very best since I started using this in December of 2019. For that first measurement in 2019, my weight was 184.5. The weight reading this morning was 163.3, a loss of 21 pounds!

I clearly remember the conversation I had with my wife Setsuko prior to buying the Tanita scale. She said that there are some scales that measure body fat. I told her I had my doubts. However, after doing some research, I realized that the Tanita does give some worthwhile measurements. 

More good news from this morning. My body fat read 16.8%, down from a high of 25.6% back in 2019. Lastly, my metabolic age is currently 31 years old! This measurement closely follows the body fat percentage.  

Prior to this morning, the last time I did this check was December 27th of 2022. My weight was 170 pounds, my body fat was 19.4 percent, and my metabolic age was 38. Good improvement! The walking and running and cycling and strength training are really paying off!


More shots from the Jindai Botanical Garden. Gotta love those Lillies! 

My topic for today is exercise intensity. Over the last several years, I have seen a number of articles that talk about the benefits of vigorous exercise. I would like to cover that topic in some detail.

PLEASE USE CAUTION WHEN INCREASING YOUR  EXERCISE INTENSITY LEVEL! Start slowly and increase your intensity level gradually. Please check with your doctor with questions and concerns. It can also be beneficial to get help from a personal trainer, especially at the beginning. 

"Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you."

The information I am going to provide is from the following sites.

1)    Exercise intensity

a.     https://www.healthline.com/health/strenuous-exercise

b.     https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety

c.     https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/exercise-intensity

d.     https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/examples-of-vigorous-physical-activity#definition

e.   https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/target-heart-rates 

f.   https://theathleteblog.com/calculate-maximum-heart-rate/

g.   https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916

h.   https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-intensity/art-20046887


I would first like to start by defining levels of exercise intensity.  Exercise intensity is typically defined as follows.

  1. Low intensity:
    1. Can easily talk and sing
  2. Moderate intensity
    1. Can talk with some breathlessness, but cannot sing
  3. Vigorous intensity
    1. Difficult to carry on a conversation.

Exercise intensity can also be determined by measuring one's heart rate. Here is how that information can be interpreted. 

  1. We first need to determine our maximum heart rate.
  2. One simple formula is 220 minus one's age. I am 66 years old. That puts my maximum heart rate at 154. 
  3.  Another formula is 207 - (.7 x age). For me, that is 207 - (.7 x 66)  = 161. 
  4. A third formula, adjusted for generally active people, is 211 - (.64 x age). For me, that is 169. 

Wow, that is quite a range! If we look at my run this morning, here are the details. The percentages are based on a maximum heart rate of 160.

  1. Maximum rate was 150 bpm. (94% of max. heart rate)
  2. Minimum rate was 76 bpm. (48% of max heart rate)
  3. Average heart rate was 104 bpm.  (65% of max heart rate))
  4. Time in Zone 1 (less than 115 bpm) = 37 minutes (65% of max heart rate)
  5. Time in Zone 2 (116-127) = 5 minutes. (76% of max heart rate)
  6. Time in Zone 3 (128-138) = 1.5 minutes. (83% of max heart rate)
  7. Time in Zone 4 (139-149) = 1 minute. (90% of max heart rate)
  8. Time in Zone 5 (150+) = 18 seconds. (94% of max heart rate)

To summarize the times from above, we get the following for the run this morning.

  1. Total run = 46 minutes.
  2. Average heart rate = 104 bpm, or 65% of max heart rate.
  3. 37 minutes were run at 65% of max heart rate.
  4. 8 minutes were run at 76-94% of max heart rate. 
  5. Based on these figures, if I run every day, I will do about one hour of vigorous exercise per week.

For my run on Monday, 8/14/23, my maximum heart rate was 159 bpm. My heart was working!

According to theathleteblog.com cited above, here are my suggested ranges. This is based on a maximum heart rate of 169.

  1. Zone 1: 50-60%: 108-120. (Moderate)
  2. Zone 2: 60-69%: 120-132. (Moderate)
  3. Zone 3: 70-80%: 132-145. (Vigorous)
  4. Zone 4: 80-90%: 145-157. (Vigorous)
  5. Zone 5: 90-100%: 157-169. (Vigorous)

If I use 160 as my maximum heart rate, my recommended ranges would be as follows. 

  1. Moderate: 50-69% (80-110) for at least 150 minutes per week
  2. Vigorous: 70-90% (112-144) for at least 75 minutes per week


Now, let's look at other recommendations.  

  1. One site recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week and 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.
    1. 5 days per week = 45 minutes per day of total exercise.
    2. 7 days per week = 32 minutes per day of total exercise.
  2. Another site recommends 300 minutes or more per week of moderate aerobic activity. 
    1. 5 days per week = 60 minutes per day.
    2. 7 days per week = 43 minutes per day. 


 More lillies from the Jindai Botanical Garden. Ah, the simplicity of this kind of beauty. If only life could always be so simple! I remember a comment my mom once made to me. "Bob, you are just like your father. You always have to make life so difficult!"

Just when I thought that maybe I was invincible, I threw out my back. So much for invincibility! I had been sitting in the car for an hour or so. I got out of the car and mistakenly lifted a box full of lemonade bottles in an awkward way. I immediately felt that twinge in my back; that is always a bad sign. Sure enough, within an hour or so, I was stiff as a board! 

It is now just over a week later. My back is much better, although it still gets stiff when I am sitting. I have set a new world record for the number of stretches performed in a week! Fortunately, with plenty of warm-up time, I have been able to continue running and cycling and swimming and strength training and tennis. 

I have started my job at the American School. Last Friday, I met the student I will be working with. We had a great time getting to know each other! It also did not take me long to find the tennis courts! I will be volunteering with the tennis teams, starting this coming Tuesday. Old habits do not die easily!

The first book the 10th grade English class will be reading is the classic play, "The Crucible," by Arthur Miller. I have had fun reviewing that play, researching Arthur Miller, the Salem Witch Trials, and McCarthyism. It is scary to realize how easily people can be swayed to judge and interpret situations inaccurately. Even scarier is to realize that this is still very possible today!

My birthday was yesterday! A young 67! My supervisor at the American School made my day when he said I do not look a day over 40! Setsuko took me to a wonderful restaurant last night. The Japanese sure know how to do it right when it comes to a tasty meal! 

I gave myself a nice birthday present when I took 5 seconds off of my best time for the stairs sprint that is in the middle of my run. Another victory in the "let's stay young" race!

 I hope this finds you happy and healthy!

All the best,




Yet another nice shot from the Jindai Botanical Garden!

It was requested that I have a "Subscribe" option so people will know when I have done an update. Ask and you shall receive! I believe it is done! You should now see a "Subscribe" option on the home page of this blog. Please let me know if it does not work!

The question was asked about how I could be doing interval training when my back is sore. Here is my response.

The back is an interesting part of the body. Fortunately, this back injury was muscle related. Those muscles are much better now. However, for the first week, they were very stiff, especially after sitting. Despite this, with a careful 20 minute walking warm-up, I have been able to loosen up those muscles so that I can run at a decent pace. The other thing is that those back muscles have responded very well to the stair running movement. As a result, I have been able to do that movement at full speed. There is actually a name for this kind of workout. It is called High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. It is a form of interval training that involves short fast spurts and has become very popular, as a person can get a high quality workout in a shorter period of time. 

I will post more about HIIT training!

All the best,



You may be wondering what hair and bikes and exercise have to do with each other! Well, here we go!

You might remember that I paid $450 to have someone here in Japan put together my first bike. I certainly did not want to go through that again with my second bike!

I had the good fortune of checking in with my friend Stuart. He is a genius at coming up with solutions! When I told him about my situation, he said he had just the fix. He has a friend, Mr. Hara, who has done a great job with his wife's hair. That friend is also a bike fan. He said that his friend would set up my bike at no cost. Stuart said that as a form of gratitude, it would be good for me to schedule a hair appointment. Wow! 

Now, this all seems so simple, but.... I have cut my own hair for at least 30 years! We are talking some serious invasion of my space to let someone else mess with my head! However, it was truly a no-brainer, as I was not about to pay another $450 for this operation! 

I have been a part of many different connections in my life. But, a hair cut and bike construction? That is a new one! However, all is well! Mr. Hara did a great job on my bike. He even came to our house to do the work! Then it was my turn. Little did I know that I was going to lose twenty pounds worth of hair!

One of my hair-cutting goals has always been to keep my big ears covered with hair. So much for that! Despite my hair loss, it was a great experience! He was very gracious and made the event very relaxing. He certainly has earned a new customer! The enclosed picture is the end result. 

I honestly think I could now go undercover as I do not think my friends and family will recognize me!

And back to exercise! I have put the links to these machines at the bottom of this post. Two of the best and most important exercises are knee raises and back extensions. The knee raises exercise is very good for the abdominal muscles and is generally considered safer for the low back. The back extension exercise is one of the most effective exercises to help with the low back muscles. 

We had similar machines in Springfield, but decided to not bring them to Japan. I just purchased these machines and put them together yesterday. My body is loving the reunion!

Here is to good hair, good cycling, and healthy muscles!

All the best,



These are some more of my favorite shots of the Rainbow Bridge and the pseudo "Statue of Liberty." Gotta love those light colors!

Speaking of love, I am loving the exercises I have been doing for my feet! The link to the exercises is below. I have been dealing with some soreness in my right heel. That area is oftentimes particularly sore first thing in the morning, which is a classic sign of Plantar Fasciitis. Generally speaking, as I move throughout the day, that right heel feels better. However, during my run yesterday, I could feel that right heel soreness. I did the exercises last night and then, lo and behold, no soreness while running today!

Although the foot rolls with the therapy ball can be pretty painful, I think that exercise helps alleviate the soreness. A small price to pay!

Where do you get your inspiration? Given that this blog is all about inspiration, you can guess that this topic is dear to my heart. I am inspired on a consistent basis by so many people and events and occurrences and natural happenings. Wednesday was no exception. A student was having a tough day because he was tired and was a little out of sync. Going into his last class of the day, it seemed like it would be a challenging class. Boy did he ever blow that concern out of the water! He had a great class! He was energetic and miraculously overcame his fear of the saws as he practiced with almost all of those tools. Yeah! 

The gift I witnessed with this student will provide inspiration for me for days and days!

All the best,

So sorry to be out of touch! My last post was on September 14th. How time flies when you are having fun! And boy oh boy, I have been having fun!

Let's start with the good fortune! A very nice friend recommended that I go to the Nogawa Park Nature Observation Garden. When I told her I would probably go next week, she said that the flowers may be out of bloom by then. I am very glad that I went today! Thanks so much to my friend!

All three pictures are from that Garden. Believe it or not, I took 2000+ pictures in 3.5 hours! I was a busy boy! The bird pictured is a Kingfisher. That is definitely my good luck bird! Here is the story. My previous trip to Japan was in 2007. I had the opportunity to do some bird photography close to the same spot as I went to today. Lo and behold, back 16 years ago, there was a Kingfisher that was the star of the photography party. The area was full of those big long lenses! Unfortunately, the shots I took were not that good. I guess I must be doing something right as I really nailed the photo this time around!

Now let's talk about another of my favorite topics, that of exercise! My three favorite machines include the back extension machine, the leg raise machine, and the leg press machine. We now have the first two machines, but the third is expensive and too big for our house. I recently discovered the "sissy squat" machines! These machines are definitely not for those with a fear of a good leg workout! I purchased an inexpensive version of this machine. The link is below. Make sure you check out the inspiring video. If only I could have muscles like those!

 And now let's talk about good service! For those who think that good manners and good deeds are a thing of the past, think again.  I have included below the link for this wonderful piece of inspiration! Some very thoughtful genius came up with the clever idea of starting a cafe that uses workers who are struggling with dementia. The cafe also employs support workers. My favorite line in the article? "At Japan's dementia cafes, forgotten orders are all part of the service." Just how cool is that? Now if I could just get going with learning the Japanese language, I could volunteer for them. Happiness personified!

All the best to you and your families,







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