Sunday 25 June 2023

Events leading up to my ACL injury.

My very first serious injury(Knee Ligament Tear(ACL)).

My routine.

Before knowing what my injury is......I should share with you my physical activity routine.

My goal is to stay fit and healthy, and my routine to maintain this status core revolves around it. I always bike for more than  10 -15 km every day to work and run 3 - 4 times a week. 

These routines really help me retain my energy, build my stamina, strengthen my physicals, and maintain my weight. These routines have become my habit and I have been doing it for almost 4 years now.

So you can imagine how it feels when I got my first-ever injury. It completely disrupted my daily and weekly routine. These routines are not just routine. They have become my habits. 

With my injured knee, I can't do my usual routine, and as the days went by. I started to get so uneasy knowing that I was not able to run for the past few days or go biking every day.

It just kills me to think of the things I do as routine but are not able to do.

Just today I stood on my bathroom scale and my weight shot up by 3 more Kilograms. I really hate being inactive.

The decison to join Sapporo Community Judo club.

I have always been interested in trying out new things as hobbies and sport is one of them. So, when I moved to Sapporo from Fukushima I told my fiancee I would like to join Judo.

 I wanted to join judo because when I was in Fukushima one of my collage was in a Judo club. He showed me a few moves that completely captured my interest in joining a Judo club.

When I moved to Sapporo in April  2023. The first thing I did was I  searched for a Judo club in Sapporo City. Luckily, we found the Sapporo Kitagass Arena Judo Club.

It is a community-based Judo club that is mostly run by volunteers. They usually train every Wednesday and Friday. 

I then decided that I would join the club every Friday. Because Friday is the day when most beginner Judo players turn up for training.

My introduction to Sapporo Judo Club.

After searching and being fully satisfied with which Judo club to join. We (My fiancee and I) went to Sapporo Kiat Gass Arena Judo Club at the beginning of May and met Komatsu Sensei ( A black belt Judo Instructor and Dai Sensei(Also a senior black belt instructor).

At our first meeting, the introduction went really well. Listening to Komatsu Sensei during the introduction completely convinced me that this Judo club is best for me to join. 

A week after my introduction, I bought my Judo uniform and started my Judo beginner practice with the club.

Judo is a new sport for me so I was very excited and looking forward to learning Judo every Friday.  

After three days of attending training. I could not help but started preaching to everyone about joining Sapporo Kita Arena Judo Club. 

I was very excited to do a new hobby. My excitement was 110%.

Injury struck.

June 9th, Friday night, was the day my hobby and interest in  Judo ended. 

I attended the Judo training only 5 times. 3 of the 5 times, I actually trained for Judo Beginners skills.

On the night of my injury. I remembered it very vividly. 

Komastu Sensei was teaching us basic falling and receiving techniques of Judo called hukeme in Japanese. There were four of us including me. We were all beginners in Judo.

After practicing a few of the falling technical of Judo. We were asked to take a few minutes to rest. So, I went over to my fiancee and rested. 

About 10 minutes passed and Kamstu sensei called us to do the last falling techniques of Judo. However, when I walked over he called over to Onodera san and said to me. Josh, please fight with Onadera san.

At this point, honestly, I have no idea how to do Judo. I was also a little surprised because how can I fight Onodera san. I don't know the techniques of Jedo yet.

In my judgment, it was a very unwise decision by Kamatsu Sensei to tell me to fight someone without supervision or proper instructions.

The Injured Act- Mikami,dumn you. You injured me.

After fighting for 4 rounds with Onodera san. We both were exhausted and we bowed onegaisumasu and took rest. 

However, before I could sit down Mikami san came up to me and bow Onegaisumu.

I have no choice but to bow by indicating that we can fight. On the first attack.Mikami was very agresive.

He was fighting me as if I knew every technique of Judo. I was thinking. This guy must be joking. I don't know any tactics to fight.

By the way, Mikami san has 20 years of Judo. He is a black belt Judo and he also teaches Judo at Atsubastu Boys Judo Club.

One or two minutes into our bow, Minami can't tackle me because I was too strong. As the fight went on Mikami starts to get intimidated by my strength. 

At this point, I have no idea how to fight him because he was too aggressive. So, I have to use my strength to keep fighting and standing.

As the fight went on, we move to the left corner, and Mikami by now was getting more aggressive and intimidated by my strength. 

In the second before he injured me. My eyes were fixed on his face. I believed he placed his right foot between my knees and kicked so hard in the opposite direction on my left knee.

I think he used a very bad technique. Uncalled for by a guy like Mikami, who is being doing Jedo for 20 years. But most annoying is, he teaches Judo as well.

What kind of a teacher would be so aggressive and ended up breaking his student's leg. I know it was an accident but I still could not accept the fact that he has much experience and yet he played dirty.

At that moment where is kicked my knee. I heard a pop sound. He also heard it too. 

I felt a jolt of pain shoot up from my knew to my brain. For a few seconds, I went blank.

I slowly sat down but the pain was still there. My knee by now was completely free. I knew something terrible is wrong with my knee but I could not know the type of injury I got.

I knew at that point that my Judo hobby has ended.

Next day, the 10th of June  I went to Mastuda Orthpathic Hospital, and through an MRI scan the doctor determined that my knee injury was serious. 

My anterior cruciate ligament(ACL) was torn. It was serious and can only be healed through ACL reconstruction.

The anterior cruciate ligament(ACL) Injury 

For many people who don't play sports or are not physically active. You will have no idea of what an ACL is.ACL refers to the anterior cruciate ligament.

It is the ligament in the center of the knee that prevents the shin bone(Tibia)from moving forward on the thigh bone(femur)(Mt. Sinai Hospital,2023). 

The function of ACL is to stabilize the knee joint by preventing excessive forward movement of the tibia or mimicking rotational knew movements. ( 

ACL knee injury is very common among high-intensity sports like rugby, Judo, basketball, and others. I never knew about ACL injury before I got  ACL injury.

ACL reconstruction surgery.

ACL is the ligament inside the knee. It connects the tibia and fibula together. If the ACL is tear or torn through direct impact or pressure on the knees.

The only way to have it fixed is through ACL reconstruction surgery. 

ACL is a non-blood circulatory ligament.Therefore, it would not be healed by itself. Currently, ACL reconstruction surgery is the only option available to fix it.

Types of ACL surgery.

There are three types of ACL recontraction surgery.

  • Autograft. Your doctor uses a tendon from somewhere else in your body (like your other knee, hamstring, or thigh).
  • Allograft. This type of graft uses tissue from someone else (a deceased donor).
  • Synthetic graft. This is when artificial materials replace the tendon. Silver fibers and silk were among the first ones used (in the early part of the 20th century). More advanced options are available now, like carbon fiber and Teflon, but researchers are still working to find the best material for ACL replacement.
If you have an ACL injury, consult with your doctor about what types of surgery suits you. Also,  check the process for each surgery. After that, you will be in a better place to decide the surgery types you wanted.

After surgery and the healing period.

In the first week after surgery, you will have swollen knee, experience mild pain, and might need support to walk with.

After a week, the pain and swelling should be reduced and you will be able to move a little freely.

Depending on doctors ' recommendations, the hospitalization period after surgery is between 3 days to 7 days or more.

Return to Normal.

It takes almost a year to return to normal. But to return to normal activities like running and playing. It would take up to 6 months. 

After 6 months you can run and play again. But it is advised that when running or playing extra precaution should be taken.

Sports Insurance.

Sports Insurance is very important in any sport. Unfortunately, I just started so I didn't get sports insurance.

Sports insurance will be able to cover injury and medical fees when seeking medical treatment for injuries caused by sports.

There are several types of insurance; some cover only you while others cover the third person.

In my case, I was not covered by sports insurance. I  was very unfortunate.

But the most disappointing thing is Mikami san. The person who injured me. His sports insurance covers only him. I was very disappointed.

Therefore, from what I learned, get sports insurance if you join high-contact sports. Because if you don't then you will spend a lot of money on my medical fees if you get injured while playing /doing sport


NHS Web 2021 .Surgery Recovery, Knee ligament surgery.NHS Web.

Tyler Wheeler, MD. 2022.ACL.WebMD.

Monday 27 March 2023

Part 10.Kesennuma to Fukushima.

 The last lap.

After three days and tens of hours of cycling covering over 600km from Sapporo city in Hokkaido to Kesennuma city in Miyaki. I now have a day and a little less than 170km more to cover before I reach home.

Last night I slept in Ochiai Naomungo Monument Park next to the beautiful Kesennuma bay and woke up early the following day. However, I hesitated to get out of my tent because it was raining cats and dogs. I took a peek outside by creaking open my tent's zipper, and my day could not get any better. I saw heavy raindrops splattering on the ground beside my tent. So, I stayed in the tent for a while before I emerged, undone my tent, and packed my stuff onto my bike.

Today, my journal starts from Kesennuma city to Hobara Town in Fukushima Prefecture. My today's cycling will take me through Matoyoshi, Minanisenriku, Ishinomaki, Matsushima, Shiogoma, Tagajo, Sendai, and Tsukinoki. I have a distance of 172km to cover. I have decided that once I reached Tsukinoki I will take the local Abukuma train to Hobara Town in Fukushima. With much satisfaction and pleased with myself,  I jumped on my bike and slowly made my way down Route 5 and 26 along the Kesunuma ports toward route 45.

After leaving Kesenuma city. I cycled for a few kilometers and reached Tome city. Located inland in the Miyaki area of Japan. The sign board over the road reads"Tome City".

The rain continued to fall when I reached Tsuyama. It is a roadside market in Tome city along route 45. I stopped there for a couple of minutes to take pictures but did not go in.

The Tsuyama was half open. Some sort of construction was going on there when I took this photo. For this reason, I did not go in there.

After leaving Kesunuma early around 6am and cycling for several hours over a distance of 75km. I finally reached Ishinomaki around 11am. The city is along the Pacific coast of the Miyagi area. The rain still continued to fall, but I was so excited.

In Ishinomaki, I cycled along the mighty Kitakami river. The river was flooding because of the continuous rainfall.
Along the Kitakami river, I passed by the Kitakami Great Wir. A huge bridge dame built across this fast following river. It was magnificent. I stood there for a while and watched the flooding water rushing through the open floodgates of the Kitakami Great Wir.

The rain finally stopped, but dark rain clouds still covered the skies as a reached Higashi Matsushima. It is a city in the Matsushima buy area next to Sendai city. Here I took a picture of a jet fighter aircraft. The fighter is next to Kasuma station. I have never seen one up close like this one. I have to admit. It was so dumn cool.

 I was cycling non-stop for 9 hours. I have 32 km more before reaching Sendai. 

I finally reached a famous area in Matsushima city. The Prefecture Natura Park of Matsushima. This place holds a lot of history. It is the home of the noble warrior, Date Masamune. During his rain, he built a lot of temples there.

This is where the people take ferries to go to the outer islands for sightseeing.

The Matsushima park sign. Before I moved to Fukushima I lived in Sendai, Tagajo city for 1 month. While staying there, I visited this place. Coming back here was beautiful.

The view of Matsushima bay from a small hilltop as I left the city and made my way along route 45 to Sendai.

I stood there for a while watching the ferries ferrying people to the small island within Matsushima bay. It was really beautiful, especially after raining the whole day.

Passing through Tagajo. A beautiful small town where I used to live in. I bought my bicycle here. At an Asahi cycling shop just around the corner. It is a nice place to live. It is next to the ocean.

I took a shortcut and did not cycle into Sendai city. I cycled all the way to Tsukinoki Station. This is where I took my final local train home to Hobara, Fukushima.

After 4 days of cycling, taking the ferry and train. I finally reached my home at 20:40pm on August 18th, 2022. It had been a beautiful and amazing life experience that I will never forget.

The best memory of my travel.
  • Taking the Silver ferry to Hachinohe was the best experience ever. I have a single room all to myself and I took a good rest.
  • I slept in parks next to the ocean and woke up early to see the beautiful sunrise.
  • I cycled through the rain and warm myself in the convenience stores and drank hot coffee.
  • I saw many beautiful places in Japan which I never imagined would see.

Sunday 19 February 2023

Part 9: Miyako to Kesennuma

 Miyako to Kesennuma

I woke at the first sunlight in Shiokaze Park. Then I packed my things. Folded my tent and sleeping bag.  Say goodbye to a traveler like me who was also sleeping at the park. He said he is traveling to Sendai. Last night he slept in his car while I slept in my tent. 

At 5:00am I said goodbye to  Shiokaze park and left following route 259 back to route 45. I found Route 45 just a few meters down the road and followed route 45 through Miyoka city. My destination for today is going to be the city of Kesenuma 130km southeast of Miyoka city.

Today's cycling is going to be tough. There are lots of mountains I have to climb but I was determined to complete the trip. I also checked the weather and it is going to be raining along the way.

I took this photo around 5:30am when I was about to leave Shiokaze park in Miyako city.  Last night  I slept under a small shelter and listened to the sound of waves crashing on the port's concrete wall. In the morning a woke up to a beautiful sunrise and an amazing view of the sea.

After leaving Miyoko city and cycling for 25km I reached the city of Yamato. It is a small city surrounded by mountains to the west and a beautiful bay with small islands to the east. Overlooking where I stood and took this picture is the breathtaking sight of small islands scatted in the bay.

I took this photo standing at the  Yamada Bay Observation Deck, which is just a few meters next to route 45. I think this bay area is where they are doing some kind of seaweed farming.

500 m ahead is Fureal Park. A beautiful roadside market where travelers stop to buy food, and use the restrooms. I did not stop there. I rode passed it due to time.

I took this picture while riding up a small hill. The view of the ocean was dazzling.

I stopped my bike for a couple of minutes and stood admiring this stunning view. This is where a small creek meets the sea. The place where they meet looks like a long submerged fault. As I stood there watching the ocean  I saw the waves softly rushing onto the sand and calmly dying down as they retrieved slowly back into the open sea. This area is surrounded by beautiful cliffs on both sides. The feeling of calm washed over me just by standing there and watching the beautiful nature at work.

This is the Funakoshi Parking lot. On a beautiful sunny day like this one, the view from this parking lot overlooking Funakoshi bay is breathtaking.

Sign board for tourists at a small beach site location. The sign shows the local ancient Michinoku Coastal Trail and the old battles grounds for the locals who lived in this area a long time ago. It looks to me like a walking-around museum of natural history.

The beautiful Ryoishi bay in Kamaishi town. The reflection of the sun on the sea makes it glow beautifully under the morning sky.

At Odairacho stood a very tall statue of Buda. The statue reminded me of the statue of  Jesus Christ in Rio de Janaro. This one is a bit shorter,  I think. This magnificent work of art stood overlooking Kaimaishi Bay and beyond.

Kamasihi Dai-kannon Temple.The tall statue of Buda can be seen in this photo facing the ocean.

After passing the city of Ofunato. I climbed a very tall mountain. I was so exhausted from hours of climbing the mountain. But when  I  reached the top of my climb,  this beautiful view was waiting for me. The view quickly relieved my tiring and brought back energy.

After leaving Kamaishi city,  I cycled for about 2okm and started a long snail climbed up a mountain before going down to Ofunta city on ascending side of this mountain. The road runs through a lush green forested area. As I was climbing I can't help but stopped from time to time to look and listen to the amazing sounds of nature. It was so peaceful.

On top of my snail pace climb, I  reached the Shinsanriku tunnel which took me through the mountain top to the other side before I started my ascending into Ofunato city. I  stopped there for a while and took a couple of deep breaths before proceeding on.

Ofunato is a small town located within Ofunato bay. I took this picture while cycling through the town. It was still early so everyone was kind of still sleeping, I guess.

After Ofunato I cycled up Mt. Masusaki and arrived at a place called Masakicho. At the top of Mt.Masukai, there were several large buying that looked like kids' play areas and a building that looked like a hotel but I think it was a hot bath house.

The signboard overhead welcomed me to the city of Rikuzentakata.

In Rikuzuntakata I arrived at Iwate Tsunami Memorial park. At this site, you can still see the remnants of the 2011 Japan Great East Earthquake that generated huge tsunami waves that destroyed infrastructures and killed thousands of people. The picture you see here is the remains of a concrete structured roadside market. The tsunami generated by the 2011 earthquake was so powerful it destroyed almost everything in its path. The tsunami crushed houses and huge metal structures into deformed cans
Going straight from Rikuzuntakata is Kesenuma city. My final destination for the day.

Entrance  to the Inwate Tsunami Museum at Rikuzuntakata 

The remnant of a fire truck. The first responder used this truck to try and rescue people but the tsunami was too strong and crashed the truck. 

This is a remnant of an old bridge next to the museum. The huge metal was crushed and folded like a can. This showed how powerful the force of the tsunami was.

2011 Iwate tsunami artifacts that were collected after the disaster and donated to the museum.

I was able to find a staff who spoke in English and she helped me retell the story of that dreadful day. I just can't imagine the people at that time.

The kind staff took this photo of me standing next to a huge metal from a bridge that was crushed into a piece of a can during the tsunami.

Out-of-shape sight post in the Iwate Tsunami Museum

These trees have a very interesting story and they are called the miracle trees, that was what I heard. During the tsunami in 2011, these trees were not destroyed even though they were a few meters from the sea. These trees remained as they were. Today these trees stood as they are and the museum is built around them. People there now see them as a  sign of courage in the face of calamities.

When I finally left the Inwate Tsunami Museum. It was around 5pm. My destination was still 19km away. But at a cycling speed of 15km/hour,  I was able to reach it in less than 2 hours before nightfall.

I found a port-side park called Ochiai Naofumi Monument park in Kesenuma city. There I set up my tent for the night under a small shelter next to the sea. Tomorrow I have to cycle to Sendai city and then onto Fukushima. I still have 210km more to bike the next day.

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