For people stressed or intimidated by fitness culture

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

In the United States, I’m often bombarded with images and ads of fitness culture. Athleisure is the craze, and it seems that the majority of people are members of gyms like Anytime Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, or LA Fitness. Any decent hotel or typical college campus has free access to a gym, sometimes even offering workout clothes for rental. It’s the land of Alo Yoga and the birthplace to Crossfit. The most successful online influencers write about fitness, and it’s not uncommon to see someone share their workout on social media as they would their food.

But in contrast to…


1. Respect for less makes room for only the things that make you happy

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

What is Japanese genki?

Genki refers to good health, but it looks beyond human physiology and encompasses our energy, our vitality for life, and the spirit we project on others.

If it was an image, it would be a dog wagging its tail when their owner comes home, or perhaps how a tulip opens up at sunrise. If it was a sound, it’s the way a crowd cheers at a concert, or how a baby laughs with its mother. If it was a touch, it would be a high five from our teacher, or a tight hug from a good friend. …


I just think… this sucks (but then it didn’t as much)

Photo by Soumil Kumar from Pexels

It’s not the first time my writing has been plagiarized, for I have seen my more viral articles end up reposted on other websites without any proper credit assigned to me. The ease of copy and paste is the major downside of the Internet, and these sites know that no one would really take the time to litigate and sue for plagiarized writing.

Although it’s both saddening and disappointing to see my work so easily stolen, I try to let these instances go, for I know that writers and content creators like this seldom ever really get anywhere for taking…


How you react to this question can say a lot about your self-awareness

Photo by Pixabay

I was at a department store with my dad in New York City, waiting with him at the register as he checked out his clothes. The cashier attending to us was a young man, probably in his early 20s, looking somewhat bored. I checked my watch and saw that it was five minutes before closing time, and could understand how eager he must be to finish his shift.

After he finished scanning my dad’s clothes he asked, “Would you like to sign up for a membership? You would automatically receive 10% off this purchase and 5% off all future purchases.”


A psychological look at an unhealthy diet rather than calorie count

Illustration by Kaki Okumura

I am not usually one to “quit” foods, as my general philosophy is that no food should be off-limits. Rules of deprivation tend to make people more anxious and fearful of making healthful choices, than to help establish any long-term or sustainable living habits.

But there are five foods that I have quit — or only enjoy very rarely — for no other reason than that it has transformed my health for the better, and made my life so much happier:

  1. Soda
  2. Potato chips
  3. Crackers and pretzels
  4. Candy bars (the exception is dark chocolate)
  5. Plain cereal

What do all these foods have in common that other junk food doesn’t?

It is not so…


Where it came from and why we’re doing it wrong

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

I was about nine years old, when my Japanese grandmother came to visit our family in the United States for Thanksgiving. She had been to the United States before but it had been a while, and even then she had only been to very select parts of big cities like New York or San Francisco.

Wanting to show her a bit more of what our suburban life looked like, our family decided to take her out to a classic, Italian-American, neighborhood restaurant on her first night with us — a nice but casual place where the lighting was low but…


When life is full of good miracles

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

It never occurred to me before, but the Japanese characters for “thank you” are composed of two unlikely words:

有: To have, possess

難: Difficulty, hardship

有難う: Thank you

What a strange combination of words.

Why the characters for ‘thank you’ is ‘difficult to have’

While many Japanese words directly come from Chinese, such as weather (天気) or emergency (緊急), this is not the case for the term arigato, or ‘thank you’. Instead, the characters for the term were thought to be developed by Buddhist linguists, based on their beliefs toward gratitude.

Arigato means that good things in life are never obvious or a natural human right, but to be…


My design idea for helping readers discover quality writing by the writers they love

Medium recently made a new pivot towards redirecting editorial resources to support independent writers over publications. They’ve done several things to support this endeavor, like evolve the Partner Program, which is great! But there is one thing that I would like to see as well to further contribute to this pivot, which is a UI better-suited for browsing and discovery.

The Problem

  1. As a reader, if I find a writer I like or think is quality, I have trouble finding other writing by them on topics I’m interested in. …


There is always space to be made

Photo by Carl Campbell on Unsplash

I had found myself aimlessly scratching my leg again, tiger-striped pink and swollen slashes along my ankles. God, this is so annoying.

There’s a tiny, narrow sidewalk near my house, an unavoidable cement path you have to traverse if you need to get to or come back from the only train station in the area. Lined between a tall stone wall and a waist-high guardrail, on most days walking down the path feels unremarkable, on rainy days you may awkwardly bump umbrellas with a stranger passing by. …


A mysterious summer phenomenon that we should all be paying attention to

This is my submission for the Medium Writing Challenge’s prompt for “Death”.

Photo by Kaki Okumura

My family and I were cleaning out our old summer house, trying to get rid of the junk that had inconspicuously tripled in volume over the last couple of years. Old sneakers, skateboards, deflated dodgeballs, and mass-produced pottery glazed with cheap, flaky paint that made it nearly impossible to use for anything functional. …

Kaki Okumura

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: www.kakikata.space 🌱

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store