Japan has always been a place that I wanted to see, yet as a pretty seasoned traveler it never jumped off the page for me as the first thing I wanted to see. I just always knew I wanted to get there and see some of the things I've heard from my father and friends about this wonderful far-off island in Asia.
Enter AdventureFit Travel Japan 2015 Trip. Now this was the way to see this country. Combine it with new friends who like me, live and breath fitness and travel and it becomes a no-brainer.
Arriving in Japan was easy enough. Locals around the airport and the streets were willing to help with directions and 'how to's' on purchasing tickets for buses and trains. Problem solved.
On this ADVENTUREFIT trip I would be the Co-Lead-Coach with an uber sassy friend of mine Jackie Perez. So she, Doc and myself met up the night before the crew arrived to game plan, meet and greet, and of course have a few beers to get the trip started.
We started off this amazing adventure in Kyoto which was a beautiful, busy, yet small-feel city. First day, just getting acclimated to the area, we hit up the MANGA MUSEUM, bought a few English-translated manga books and learned a little about this Japanese art/story telling medium (currently reading TERAFORMERS and it's awesome!). Later that afternoon we dropped in to Crossfit Kyoto for a little smasher workout in this city's CrossFit box.
Day two came about and we were off to see the infamous bamboo forest. The entire gang jumped on our rental push-bikes and headed off for a fun ride through the city and out towards the rivers and forests. The bamboo forest was peaceful and just powerful to look at. Amazing just being able to walk through these areas and see some of the traditional Japanese gardens. Long ride back on the bikes, fuel up, and then we were off to do some samurai sword play training followed by a samurai demonstration and history lesson.
Day three is a favorite of mine as we had legendary games athlete Denae Brown in for an all day long guest coaching and seminar. She took us through her career history and training programming and how it's evolved over the years depending on her goals as an athlete, and then a mom, and then back at it as an athlete. She also shared about her ways on typical day to day nutrition, supplementation, and of course, training. After that we did some in-depth core warm-ups followed by heaps of new gymnastics movements. Finished off the day with snatch and clean and jerk tech which was awesome as we coaches were able to work with all the AdventureFit guests on their lifts. We saw some amazing improvements -- always puts a smile on a coaches' face.
Took the train to see and incredible site of the Fushimi Inari Shrine which hosts over 10,000 of the red torii gates. A site they say dating back to 711AD. Each gate has been donated by a company or organization giving thanks for their prosperity and in hope of good fortune in the future. We walked/hiked thru the gates and worked up a good appetite for the upcoming ramen and beer in our life that night!
Day 4 - We took the bullet train to Tokyo and spent the night in an infamous Capsule Hotel. Each little cubicle (about the size of a mattress) of a room had a TV, WiFi, lights, a locker, and a little screen on the front to pull down when sleeping. Shared bathrooms, super efficient and cool. A few of the lads and I snuck off to Crossfit Roppongi for a late night WOD before dinner and drinks at a funky Irish Bar in the city.
Day 5 - We are off to the races! And by races I mean we are off to Mount Fuji for an unforgettable climb. Hiking gear in tow, we made it to the starting point of 5th station by early afternoon to start on the first part of the trek straight up to the 8th station. Now I'm not a hiker by the norm but I thought this should be okay. Wow, what a trek this was. We made some good time and as the sun set, it got colder, and then colder. Fingers getting number, I felt like I needed to eat constantly (which was fun cause who doesn't like eating). Cruising up this huge volcanic ash and rocks, there are stops along the way with the ever increasing price gouging waters and the fan favorite TOP RAMEN instant noodles which at that elevation and coldness was one of the best buys ever! After getting damn near close to the top we arrived at the last station where you can sleep at before continuing the trek. Had a quick dinner and a celebratory beer then off to bed.. a bed I might add that was about 100 people cramped into a long row of mattresses on the floor that normally might sleep 50.. think about a sardine can. But it was great. This is what you do on this Mount Fuji trek. Huddled together in this cold cramped room we all got about 5-6 hours of sleep before getting up at 3am to continue the hike to the summit for an amazingly spectacular sunrise at 3776m above sea level. This was truly remarkable. Literally above the cloud level and as the clouds rolled away you are just left in awe looking at the view. Post sunrises we raced down the winding road to get back to the starting point for our bus home. Everyones quads and knees were now the story for the following few days. But damn well worth it!
Day 7 - We move to a traditional Ryokan style Hotel. Today we tackled the waters.. and by waters I mean the sometimes furious rapids in the mountain area. We had an amazing weather day and headed out to do a day of rafting and swimming in the rivers. Cold brisk water but a lovely day to spend seeing the outdoors and rafting through a wonderful part of Japan. One of the highlights of the trip for sure was seeing some of the random Japanese things that just seem a bit wacky but that's why we love them. ENTER THE ROBOT Restaurant AND SHOW. Haha. This is the best damn funny thing to see and I highly recommend it for future trips. Think funky street art performance meets cirque du soleil.. but you can buy fried chicken and sake bombs while watching and almost getting hit by a robot driving thru the audience. Seriously we were all in tears and laughter. Great night with the crew.
Day 8/9 - The Hangstrong Gymnastics lads came in and held a full day interactive gymnastics workshop which again for me as a coach and athlete was a huge highlight of the trip. Tom, Jimmy and Natan covered and showed us new and way more intuitive thought processes about the handstand, handstand progressions walks, holds, and then we got into some muscle up progressions. I learned a few new tricks on my bar muscle ups and toes to bar efficiency. Things I can take away for my own practice but more so importantly for the students that I coach.
Another incredible adventure in a new country for me and the entire AdventureFit Crew. Japan, while sometimes confusing and hard to figure out, comes off as a lovely place to see. People are amazing. Food is top notch and if you've ever been to other Asian countries you will soon find out that this is one of the most efficient and clean places around (we couldn't even find a trash can and yet there is no trash. Anywhere.) Cant wait to see what's in store for the next time! ROBOT RESTAURANT AGAIN please!
Dave Driskell Grew up in Southern California, USA. He loves the ocean, barely surfs but grew up playing soccer (or football as everyone else in the world calls it) and that was really all he new of sports. It wasn’t till later on in his late 20's that he discovered CrossFit, which captivated him from the first crushingly hard WOD. In Jan 2012 he became a certified Crossfit Coach and 1 month later he was Backpacking SE Asia for the next 5 months while wodding any place or with any object he could find. The wanderlust in him was ignited and still moves him to this day.
In 2013 he went on a 2 month backpacking adventure which then turned into a 10 month life in Indonesia, coaching at new boxes in Jakarta and on the island of Bali.
"Combining my love of Fitness and CrossFit with adventure and travel is a dream come true. I live for this shit. Lets Be Epic and Get Strong!"