Otagenki Project presents: Sakura Ride 2015, 3/14/2015, 2pm, Lake Balboa, CA

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A ride to honor the victims, the survivors, and the heroes of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. It has been four years, but the people affected by the Earthquake, Tsunami and the meltdowns at Fukushima Dai-Ichi are still far from recovered from the tragedy. It’s not over for them, so we should continue to help. There will be no entry fee but there will be a collection for JEN-NPO, a charity that has been on the ground in Miyagi Prefecture, one of the hardest hit areas of those affected by the event, since 3 days after the incidents. They continue to serve the people, who are still mostly in temporary housing.

Temporary housing row houses in Ishinomaki. Photo: Japan Times.

Temporary housing row houses in Ishinomaki. Photo: Japan Times.

Here’s a link to what JEN-NPO has been doing for Miyagi Prefecture.

The ride will be a family-friendly fun ride, roughly 6.5 miles, at a gentle pace. We will stop so that we can enjoy the flowering cherry trees around Lake Balboa. There are 2,000 of these trees in Beilenson Park, the park that contains the artificial lake that gives the neighborhood of Lake Balboa its name. 1,000 were planted by a Japanese audio equipment manufacturer during the building of the park complex, and 1,000 more were added by the Japanese Consulate to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the gift of flowering cherry trees to Washington, DC by the Emperor of Japan. They are a special hybrid that is suited to warmer, drier climates than those native to Japan. Non-hybrid cherry trees tend to bloom early in our Mediterranean climate here in LA, closer to January and February.

The ride will start at the Balboa Orange Line Station. There is park-and-ride space there so hopefully there will be ample parking, and it will also serve those who are using public transit to get to the ride.

Here’s the map:
SakuraRideMap

And this is the chart which shows elevation change. The course is not entirely flat but it’s fairly flat, with a few small rolling hills.
SakuraRideElevation

Map on Map My Ride

We are hoping to time the end of the ride so that we can pause for the sunset and pay our respects to those who lost their lives on 3/11/2011.

If you are a Facebook member, please RSVP to the ride here.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Another Otagenki report: Northridge ride!

This was a bike ride that CICLE, Valley Bikery and CSUN Bike Collective put together a few months ago, and I’m just now putting it up. This was a total blast…a group ride is something you have to experience. Lots of fun, lots of support, and this ride was designed for noobs. You should try this in your neighborhood.

Otagenki Report 2: Fit Expo 2014

I really was not expecting to enjoy myself so much at Fit Expo 2014, because Fit Expo 2013 was such a lame experience. I don’t know if the people who run the show read my piece on my personal fitness blog LessFatChick, but this time it was a big difference.

It seems like a new, and very welcome IMHO trend is REAL FOOD. Yes, you now can get a fair choice of nutrition bars and other fitness goodies that have ingredients you know and can pronounce. The only food like that you could find last year was at the Ralphs booth, and from a small company that sends a box of organic produce to your house every month. Yes, the frankenfood peddlers were still there, as were some very questionable supplements, (Ephedra? Oh really?) but there were a lot more items that were labeled organic, and a lot more with identifiable ingredients.

Another difference was a lot more experiential stuff…a lot more exercises to try, and mini-classes. The exhibitions were more interesting too, including some amazing feats of strength by professional athletes and very well trained amateurs.

So yeah, here’s another Otagenki Report. This doesn’t have any commentary…my goal with the Otagenki Reports is to tell the story with footage, not with words. I want to create something universal, that’s understandable in any language. I’ve always loved video essays and photo essays, they’re a real art form, and narration sort of breaks the mood.

Otagenki Panel at Anime Los Angeles!

workout

Get Genki, LA Ota-zoku!

I will be doing a panel at Anime Los Angeles about first steps into a healthier lifestyle. I will hopefully have some friends with me to talk about their experiences starting a health and fitness regime, and I’ll be providing basic ideas you can incorporate into your life. And no, you will not become a jock doing this!

All the details are here…

https://www.facebook.com/events/236981106479163/

…or on the Anime Los Angeles 10 Guidebook app, or on the Anime Los Angeles 10 schedule PDF.

The first Otagenki Report is up! A fun bike ride in Santa Barbara!

Yesterday I was out and about in Santa Barbara at Santa Barbara Open Streets…a lower-key version of CicLAvia, the huge event that happened 3 times this year in LA. This is the first time I’ve gone to one of these events and ridden my bike. This was incredibly fun, and I think the video I brought back says it all. Cycling is great exercise, almost everyone learned to ride a bike as a kid, and it really is true that you never entirely forget how to ride a bike. Bikes are easy to find at garage sales, and most big cities have bike collectives that sell refurbished bikes cheap and teach you how to fix or even build a bike for yourself. The bike I was on when I shot this was a garage sale find, bought 10 years ago, sitting stored for years and years and only recently fixed up and made roadworthy again. With my plantar fasciitis issues, cycling is a less stressful activity on that vulnerable part of my left foot. I actually did one of my miles yesterday in 5:16 which is a personal record!

Feel the love, share the joy, and GET OFF THAT COUCH! Otagenki!