Written on November 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm , by Christie Griffin
Paige used the month of October in Japan to raise money for the Colorado flood relief efforts of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross responded immediately to the September flash floods that claimed over 17,000 homes along the Front Range with rescue, food, shelter, care, and comfort for those who suffered severe damage. Help Paige raise $10,000 for the American Red Cross at http://www.crowdrise.com/leadnowtourcolorado. Donate $27 or more and you’ll be entered into a monthly raffle to win a Marmot tent!
By Paige Claassen
Imagine you’re unable to distinguish between a restaurant and a bank when walking down the street. Going to the grocery store is a three hour event. A busy city street full of people is completely silent. This is Japan, one of the most unique and fascinating countries I’ve ever visited.
‘Organized chaos’ is the only way to truly describe Japan. From the outside, Japan seems cluttered, frantic, and hectic. But focus in and you’ll find perfect order and tidiness. At first, I found Japan intimidating in it’s lack of familiarity. But after a bit of acquaintance, I fell in love with this country, aptly known as the Land of the Rising Sun. Everything is sunny in Japan, except the weather.
I visited Japan in October and encountered an unusually late typhoon season. While my objective was to rock climb, I was forced out of the mountains by torrential rains, a small earthquake, and the threat of tsunamis.
Perhaps this interruption in my plans was a blessing in disguise, as it allowed me to dive into the Japanese culture. Here’s what I discovered:
- My new favorite foods: Okonomiyaki (the Japanese pancake, which is nothing like a pancake) and sashimi fresh off the boat, which melts in your mouth like butter. Japan also grows amazing fruits. My favorites were Fuji apples and Asian pears.
- Bowing: To thank one another, or even to greet or bid farewell, the Japanese people bow. As a foreigner, I found this incredibly convenient, because even when I couldn’t express my gratitude in words, I could smile and bow.
- Cleanliness: Feeling under the weather? The Japanese wear face masks when feeling ill to prevent the spread of germs out of respect for those around them. Hand rails in public areas are sterilized throughout the day. As a result of this respect for health, I found I could eat nearly anything in Japan. Unrecognizable seafood, street food, and nearly raw eggs served on top of most meals – no problem.
- Prices: I had always heard Japan was incredibly expensive. In general, I found prices comparable with the US. The few things that will empty your wallet are toll roads, gasoline, and fruit (expect to pay $50 for a cantaloupe and $3 for one apple). On the other hand, I regularly paid $5-$10 for a full meal of sushi at the popular conveyor belt restaurants.
- 7-Eleven convenience stores: 14,000 7-Eleven stores throughout Japan are open 24 hours a day and provide cheap meals on the go, prepared daily. For a quick, inexpensive, and tasty lunch, this is your stop.
I hope these tips help you navigate Japan. While overwhelming at first, I think Japan might actually be a more comfortable and convenient vacation option than Europe. Try it out for yourself!
To get involved and donate online to help the Colorado Flood Recovery efforts, visit leadnowtourcoloradoflood.
Check back next month for a video and update about Location #5. And stay tuned for the video of Paige’s time in Japan! FitnessMagazine.com, with thanks to Marmot and Louder Than 11, will have the first-look exclusive video .
Related: Lead Now Tour Main Page
Written on November 4, 2013 at 10:41 am , by Karla Walsh
Did you catch FITNESS reader Cassandra in the I Did It! section on page 20 of our September issue? (In case you missed it or need a reminder, she raised $5,420 for the Boot Campaign which helps military veterans and their families.) Now through Veteran’s Day, November 11, you too can make an impact and support our nation’s heroes. No sweat: You don’t have to drop and give us 20—although that’s never a bad thing to do!
The Believe in Heroes campaign, now in its fourth year, gathers funds to help wounded soldiers get back to their favorite activities (through programs like adaptive sports and rehab). Contributing can be as easy as visiting your local supermarket.
How to help:
- Donate at your grocery store. Thousands of supermarkets across the U.S. accept donations as you check out.
- Download free coupons. Coupons for some of your favorite food and drink brands will be available for free through December 2 at wwpbelieve.org. A contribution will be made to the Wounded Warrior Project for each coupon redeemed.
- Click over to Facebook. Learn about participating stores and learn more about Wounded Warriors’ personal stories at www.facebook.com/wwpinc.fans.
More from FITNESS:
- All-American Workout Playlist
- Military Wives Use Fitness to Overcome Grief
- Marathoner Amy Palmiero-Winters: Back in Action After Amputation
Written on June 14, 2012 at 9:18 am , by Karla Walsh
In 2001, model Niki Taylor was involved in a car accident so severe, “it tore my liver in half.” While doctors stitched her up and she recovered, Taylor needed more than 100 units of blood. “I owe my life to blood donors,” she now says, which is why Taylor is returning for her second year as a Nexcare Give ambassador—to thank donors and inspire others to give.
In honor of National Blood Donor Day today, here are five ways to stay healthy and happy like the TV host (check out Having it All on WE), model and mom of three.
- Lace up your sneakers. “I wake up at 4:50 a.m. every other morning to get out the door by 5 for a 40-minute jog. It’s nice and cool then and no one else is out. I always have more energy first thing!”
- Eat smart, but enjoy splurges. “Our family tries to eat very clean and healthy, but we’re in the middle of moving so last night we ordered pizza! My husband and I made sure to have salad too.”
- Invest in a good pair of jeans. “Everything is in style, it’s just about your personal fashion picks. For me, jeans are a staple and I usually pair them with a cute blouse.”
- Don’t let the haters get you down. “A long time ago, I decided to not get easily offended. As a model, you have to move past the, ‘Oh my gosh—what do they think of me?’ stage quickly when you’re posing. Everybody has insecurities, but you have to try to focus on what makes you happy while not worrying about what others think, write or say about you.”
- Help others. “It’s why we’re here on earth! We go through difficult things in our lives, and while doing so, we learn to help others struggling with the same things. I always tell people that things may be bad, but they can get better. My recovery is proof of that!”
Visit nexcaregive.com to learn more about the “Giving Blood is Timeless” campaign, in partnership with The American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers. On the site, you can pledge to donate and receive free samples of the fun decade-themed bandages.
Written on May 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm , by Karla Walsh
The words “spring cleaning” conjure up images of scrubbing floors, washing windows and maybe tidying up the garden so it’s ready for a new batch of plants. But while you’re accomplishing all of these things, why not tidy up your kitchen too? As an extra dose of motivation, if you do so this week, you can help a good cause at the same time (and who doesn’t love to multitask?)!
Just like FITNESS, Stamp Out Hunger, the nation’s largest one-day food drive, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. In 2011, Americans cleaned out their pantries or shopped for nonperishable goods to donate 70.2 million pounds of food to Feeding America through the program. We talk quite a bit about obesity here, but it’s important to remember that more than 1 in 5 kids in the U.S. may go hungry today.
Helping out is easy: Simply leave a bag of non-perishable foods (soup and other canned items, pasta, juice, cereal, etc.) next to your mailbox before the USPS carrier arrives on Saturday. Your donation will then be dropped off at a local Feeding America or other food bank to help those in need in your community.
Find out more on the Stamp Out Hunger Facebook page.
More from FITNESS: Learn how to spring clean your life—physically, emotionally and financially.
Written on December 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm , by Karla Walsh
As a kid, nothing put us in the holiday spirit quite like a visit to meet with jolly old St. Nick. But now that we’re grown up, it we were meeting Santa and discovered that Matt Damon was hiding under that red suit? Way better!
Most of these kids don’t seem to be in on the joke, but we found Damon’s antics to be good for a chuckle, and he also inspired those of us who are plugging away at our shopping lists. Damon is a co-founder of water.org, a charitable organization that focuses on bringing safe water to everyone. A few shocking facts:
- 884 million people worldwide lack access to safe water (that’s more than three times the amount of people who live in the U.S.!)
- One child dies from a water-related illness every 20 seconds
- $10 from each water bottle purchased goes directly to water.org
And remember, “If you were stranded in the desert, what would you rather have: this water bottle or Justin Bieber?”