About Valerie L. Taylor
Valerie Taylor is a dancer, fitness trainer and nomad living in Japan. Through dance, she overcame considerable personal struggles. She has since been extensively studying dance and exercise physiology and kinesiology, in an effort to combine dance with fitness.

Sarutobi Sasuke & the Original Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course

February 20, 2017 Valerie L. Taylor

Ninja Warrior and Sarutobi Sasuke. The first one's a popular obstacle course competition, while the latter is an insanely famous Japanese folklore character. What do they have in common? Ninja Warrior is Sasuke. What!? Known as SASUKE in Japan, the famous televised obstacle course was renamed Ninja Warrior in English-speaking countries. With its rising popularity, many…

Will Posing like a Superhero Boost Your Confidence? – 2 Minute Hack

January 17, 2017 Valerie L. Taylor

Have you ever felt anxious and powerless at an important interview? Strike a power pose before you walk in! This is Amy Cuddy's advice to get yourself into the right mental state for high-stakes events, which include job interviews, negotiations, dates and networking. Yet, several scholars are skeptical about power-posing's effectiveness. So, does the science behind power-poses really work?…

Training At The Ninja Club Shinjuku Gym [Travel Experience]

September 14, 2016 Valerie L. Taylor

The Ninja Gym in Shinjuku is tucked away in the alleyways of Kabukicho. The quiet is an unexpected turn from the roaring excitement of Golden Gai and brilliance of Kabukicho. I found the location rather easily though, as there are several signs out from written in both English and Katakana about a kickboxing gym. On…

Musashi Clan Ninja Experience in Japan – Edo Period Onmitsu

August 28, 2016 Valerie L. Taylor

When you look for it, Japan seems rife with “ninja experience” programs and attractions that merely belabour what it truly meant to be a ninja during the country’s warring eras. Those who have researched ninja and ninpo know that ninja are not the mystical beings media and the entertainment industry has made them out to…

Finding Hattori Hanzo’s Grave in Tokyo – Iga Ninja Legend

July 9, 2016 Valerie L. Taylor

Most people will know this name when you ask them about real life ninja. A name immortalized by history books, video games and movies. No doubt, you have heard of Hattori Hanzo (服部半蔵), master of the Iga ninja clan, at least once. However, much like the ninja legends, the name Hattori Hanzo is an inscrutable cloud…

The Hanayashiki Ninja Training Experience in Asakusa, Tokyo

June 30, 2016 Valerie L. Taylor

Ninjas are beings shrouded by smoke and mirrors. Most people know the basics about these elusive warriors from Japan: that they did assassinations, worked with samurai, and threw shuriken. Unfortunately, anime series like Naruto and the show Ninja Warrior haven’t done much to demystify what it means to train like a ninja would. That was…