Monday, March 27, 2017

I love Costco, but....

Since opening on August 22, 2015 in Izumi City, Costco has quickly become my favorite place to shop in Toyama Prefecture. You have probably been to a Costco  at least once so you know it has a cheap food court with free drink refills (フリードリンク), free samples of fruits, desserts & cooked meats, and the most products - really big products - in any brick & mortar store (実店舗) nowadays.

Of course, I love Costco for the above reasons, too, plus it helps me reconnect with my American roots. Every time I enter the store, I take a deep breath and mutter under my breath, "Now this is America," even though I'm on some mountain in the middle of nowhere in Izumi City.

However, the biggest reason I'm such a fan of Costco is because I'm a health food nut, and Costco has some of the biggest, healthiest foods you can buy in the world.

Take flax seeds, for example. I don't know anywhere else in Toyama you can even find them. So when Costco offers a 425 gram/15 ounce bag of them, you can bet I'm going to buy that bag and put those flax seeds in my yogurt, oatmeal and protein shakes.

And that's where the problem starts. It takes a while to eat that many flax seeds so the zip-lock on the bag is very important to keep them fresh.

However - and this might just be me - I have the hardest time getting my big Costco bags to close properly. So I use a lot of rubber bands (輪ゴム) to keep everything fresh.

I know the individual companies are to blame for not making their zip-locks work right, but since Costco is the one selling them under one roof, it bears the most blame. Hence this blog.

Still, I'd rather have too many flax seeds than none at all, which was the case in Toyama prior to August 22, 2015. I guess I'll just need to buy a large box of rubber bands. And I know just the place!

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

You might be a crazy runner if ....

Hello, loyal English impact blog readers. I know I've been testing your loyalty. It seems like forever (ずっと前) since I wrote my last blog.

However, I have a pretty good excuse. I've been running. A lot. Like every day. It's all towards my New Year's resolution of running a sub-4:00 full marathon.

Several weeks ago, I found a free running plan that promises to help me reach my goal at the Kurobe Meisui Marathon in Toyama Prefecture on Sunday, June 4. I've been doing my best to follow it to the detriment of my blog writing.

So it seems pretty crazy to be running on average 10 km a day, right? (If you have trouble converting miles to kilometers or vice versa, just ask Siri.) Part of me knows that. For example, nowadays I'm putting more deodorant on my nipples (オッパイ) than under my arms in order to prevent jogger's nipple, a very painful condition caused by too much chafing.

And that joke about women and too many shoes ... not so funny now that I have so many pairs of running shoes. It's hard to throw away (捨てる) even the "old" ones because while their soles are too worn out to run on any longer, the shoes are still bright and shiny and cool to wear.

Speaking of clothes, I don't think twice about wearing tights for running. Or wearing to the supermarket. Or teaching English in. Actually, I've avoided that last one so far. As long as I remember to put on some jeans over them, it's all good. But the tights are really comfortable. As are the 5-toed socks that sometimes get strange looks by my English impact students. But the odds are that I'm probably going to go running after the lesson.

It's all part of my crazy training to set a sub-4:00 personal record. Wish me luck - because if I don't get it this June, I'll probably start running twice a day. That's really crazy!

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