Dec 21, 2012

Wedding Anniversary

 Christmas is our wedding anniversary but since we will be leaving for Vegas tomorrow, Yusuke took me out for an early celebration dinner to Cliffs yesterday evening.  The steak is always the best there so we had 'porterhouse steak for two' with sides of mushroom and asparagus.

 We talked about the past years, how happy and lucky to be with each other, and how fast the 3 years were!  This was our destiny and I have no doubt that we were meant to be together forever.
 I will not forget how fortunate I am to have him in my life. 

The little bear was a present from Yusuke, considering flowers might die during our vacation.  How sweet!!

Nov 25, 2012

Fun Climbing!@LRC&HP40

 Our plan for Thanksgiving holiday was to climb at Little Rock City(Stone Fort/LRC) in Tennessee and Horse Pens 40(HP40) in Alabama.  We spent the first 6 days at LRC and the rest at HP40.  Thanks to Glen for not only joining us but making our trip super FUN!!  From Yusuke's stand point, spotting him is scary, but he is a great teacher and spotter for me; I don't know how many problems I conquered with his advice and cheer! 
  LRC was rather softly rated than HP40, so I managed to send some V4s which motivated me to climb on during this trip.

 The first V4 I sent was Mystery Groove V4***; learned that I can heel hook on a slopey crack!

Next was Mescal V4***; a problem to test my heel hook tech and crimp pull up strength.

Another was Pocket Pool V4**; found out that the top out was another crux but managed to work through it...

Last one I sent was Black Carpet V4**; had fun figuring out the move and actually happened to find an undercling when topping out.

 At HP40, first I was getting on V3s, but as I noticed that the grading was harder for a person that is not used to the boulder structure, I decided to have fun trying onsite/flash sends on V2s.  However, it was hard to onsite because the boulder is round shaped and difficult to see your foot holds especially when you're mantling with a sloper!  So even if I was able to send Orchid V2*** at my first try with no beta, I can only say that I flashed it cause I asked if my foot was on the hold when I was climbing.  Anyway, I finished a couple of V2s and luckily found a V3 that I thought was doable!  Not a fan of the problem's name, but definitely a 3 star tricky mantle problem.

Panty Shields V3***

Turtle Head Right V2**; missed flash using an unnecessary bad undercling, but sent it on the next try.

Lucky Charms V2**; figuring out the move (including balance and top out) of this weird figured boulder was the funniest part!

Eight Ball V2***; thanks to the guy that showed me his beta, I sent it on my 2nd try.

The Stranger V2**; started to try with no skin left, and sent it right after I said it was my last try!

Overall, I think I was motivated to climb a lot and did have fun climbing till my muscle was sore or skin was gone!  Very rare experience for me but I bet it was because of the boulder feature and Glen's cheer!

Nov 10, 2012

Days more than 8

Yusuke and I were spending one day of each weekends at Peter's Kill for the last 3 weeks because this area might be closed anytime it gets icy or any snow.  Today, we had Yojiro with us; which gave both of us VEEEERRRY good motivation and LUCK!!!  Thanks soooo much Yo!!  Yusuke actually finished one V7/8 and another V8 in a few tries!!
For me, I was able to resend Day8 V4* (which was one of a problem that I had to do over because of the mistaken start hold) in almost one try! (first try, I slipped at the start.. orz)
Anyway, I was so glad that I resent it in the right way.

Day8 V4*

Sep 4, 2012

First V5@Cooper's Rock, WV

For our Labor Day's holiday, we decided to spend 5 days at Cooper's Rock State Park in West Virginia.  The first day was mainly for travel; taking 6 hours drive from home, but Yusuke hopped on some problems and sent three V5s in the Upper Rock City Area!!

On the second day, we started from the Tilted Tree Area and I sent two V2s as a warm up and tried Moby's Dick V3**** which is one of the famous problem in Cooper's Rock.  Even though it took quite a few tries for a V3, I was glad to send this cool problem!

Moby's Dick V3****

Third day, Yasu and Mayu joined us and first went to the Picnic Table Area.  Yasu finished a V3 and a V4; good start!!  And Mayu sent her first V2!  Congrats!  After that, we moved to the Upper Rock City Area and I sent Dextrose V3**, but Mayu ONSITED another V2 which was even hard for me!!  When we moved to the Tomb Raider Rock, we bumped into Frenchy, Megan & Peter. 
The strong guys started to get on the Tomb Raider Roof V7***, a super hard V7 that even Frenchy was struggling, but Yusuke was the first to get it this day!!!  Good Job!

Unfortunately, it was pouring rain when we woke up on the forth day.  Probably because of RAINMAKER Yasu...  so Yusuke and I went to a nearby winery, Forks of Cheat Winery and bought a couple of wine and then had delicious pizza for a late lunch/early dinner at Mountain State Brewing Co.

On our last day, we only had time till noon considering the travel back home, so I asked if I can try Humility V5***, a V5 that I thought was doable for me.  It took around 1.5 hour but finally got my FIRST V5!!!

Humility V5***

Since we had a little bit more time, Yusuke and I got on Proana V4*** and Exorexic V3***; both finished as a great closure for this trip.

Proana V4***

Exorexic V3***

<Problems Sent>
Upper Rock City Area
 Dextrose V3**
Tilted Tree Area
 Cyrax V2**
 Qaid V2* -> OS
 Humility V5***
 Moby's Dick V3****
 Exorexic V3***
 Proana V4***

Morgantown Brewing Company
 Loved the beer!!  They had 8 on tap which was all awesome but cheap.  Food was rather normal bar food. 
Black Bear
 Burritos and beer at a very cheap price.  Not bad if you like burritos, tortillas and quesadillas.   

Forks of Cheat Winery
 Unique local wine line ups.  We especially liked Schwartzer Bar and Chambourcin.

Mountain State Brewing Co.
 Pizza was excellent!!!  Even the small size is like 15 inch so it was too much for two of us but I thought this place is worth to go even though the beer was not as good as Morgantown Brewing Co.

Aug 27, 2012

Fruitful Weekend with Hero

Hero on Tiger Style V7*
 A climber friend from Japan visited us during his business trip to Detroit.  Not being able to go anywhere without a car, he decided to fly over for the weekend to see us!
 Since he wasn't able to climb during the last 2 weeks, he requested to go to the Gunks.  Although of the blank, he sent all the easy stuff in one try and even finished Tiger Style V7* in a few tries!!!
 After tons of climbing at Peter's Kill, we headed to a local climber friend's BBQ party.  We all had a great time with climber friends and meeting new climbers, but by the time we thought we had enough alcohol, it was already past 1am!!

 Next morning, I made Japanese style breakfast (grilled salmon, tamagoyaki, bacon wrapped okura, carrot kinpira and miso soup);since it is better after drinking alot!  Then headed for sightseeing in Manhattan.
First went to see the Statue of Liberty which was also my first time to see it!  It was a beautiful day for taking photos and we were all shooting like tourists! LOL
After the tour to Statue of Liberty, we went to SOHO area for some shopping and made a quick drive through Manhattan.  Too bad Hero had to take a flight back early, but we promised that we'd go on a climbing trip together!

<Random shots from New York sightseeing>
Lucky shot of seagull

Seagull wanting to go to the city oneday...

My original shot of Statue of Liberty

Ad made by 5 planes


Times Square

Late lunch/early dinner at Heartland Brewery

Aug 8, 2012

Photo Diary of My Trip to Paris & Provence

 Even though Paris is more close from NJ than Japan, the flight is still expensive so my husband kindly let me stay another week for vacation after our climbing trip in Fontainebleau.  Since I thought it would be more fun with someone than alone, I had my Mother come over from Japan!

First visited Louvre Museum, the one you must go when you're in Paris!!
Everyone photo shooting "Mona Lisa" and the famous pyramide that shows in the movie "The Da Vinci Code".

Venus Milo, gosh how much I drew her in my school days!!
And "Mona Lisa", now I know how tiny you are!

Audio guides were 3DS!!

 Yes, Paris is a place for artists. (in front of Louvre Museum)
Rain made us jump into a cafe for lunch and had omelet and sandwich.

 Orsay Museum, you can see that this used to be a station from this view.

Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur); 
we used the cable car to the top!!

Beer is soooo good after tons of walking!

To my surprise, there were some Japanese artists at the hill of Montmartre!

 Walls of Concorde Station was covered with alphabet tiles!

'Love Locks' on the Pont Des Arts Bridge;
Couples fasten padlocks and toss the keys into the Seine river below to symbolize their eternal love.

Rental bicycles; very convenient when you know where the rental stations are!

For dinner we had Salmon Tartar and Beef Stew at L'Imperial, a restaurant that was on the Japanese guide book. (Japanese guide books never fail!)

Off to Marseille! 
but need to get breakfast first!
First time getting on TGV!  So exciting!

Joined a 1.5 hour sightseeing bus tour.
Fort St-Nicolas from the bus.

You can see the beautiful Mediterranean Sea from the longest bench in the world.

Got off the bus and walked to Le Panier, an area that used to be the fisherman's residence to buy Marseille soap.

Dinner at Fon Fon, a famous Bouillabaisse restaurant that a good friend introduced to me.  Lucky to have a seat cause it was packed with reservations!

Heading to Aix-en-Provence.  Nearly missed the train because of the heavy traffic and rude drivers. (the movie "Taxi" was taken in Marseille and it can be true!!)

Starting the cross-Luberon guide tour from Gordes.
Houses and fences are made of limestone.  The limestones are only piled up but within years, they start holding together.
Cobblestone lane

Senanque Abbey.  Too bad that it wasn't the lavender season, but it smelled so good in the shop!

Roussillon, a scenic village with colorful houses and shops.  Originally, the buildings are made with red soil.
Luckily, it was a market day and had fun looking at stuff, too!

Pont Julien, most oldest bridge in France.  Built 2000 years ago.

Had lunch at a cute restaurant in Lourmarin.  Couldn't read or speak French, so I ordered a pre-fixed dish and came with dessert!
Didn't have time to look inside the castle, but it was still beautiful from a distant.

Fountains of Aix-en-Provence
Never seen a dove taking a bath!

Avignon is a town surrounded with a castle wall.

Back to Paris!  It took 1.5 hour more because of the delay and waited more than 30 minutes in the line for a taxi at 1:30am!  Thank god, SNCF gave us a free ride!

I love how they have a theme at each Metro Stations!

Never forget to have crepe in Paris!

Found a very good wine shop!  The owners were American and Australian.  Best to have real English speakers when you need advice for wine!

Passage Cour du Commerce St-Andre; a little shopping street

Found a handmade leather shop and bought Yusuke a notebook with his initials.
This handsome gentleman is the artist of these leather goods.

Yes, this is Paris!  Playing piano in an open space!

And another round of Eiffel tower.  Can't let Mom go home without seeing this!

Tried another Alsace restaurant that was on the Japanese guidebook, but it seemed more like German food.

Even though I couldn't climb for a week, it was worth having a great mother-daughter time with good food, drinks and lots of walking!!!