Ben Pakulski: My Trip to Japan

Pakman heads to Okinawa for a seminar and guest posing.


Last week, I was so privileged as to be able to travel to Okinawa Japan for a guest posing and seminar. An amazing experience to travel across the world and experience a completely new culture. The travel was, as I expected, long! The trip there ended up being almost 30hrs. Needless to say, not ideal for keeping on track with any type of regimented diet.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I had been staying in Toronto for 6 weeks post contest to complete my, “get my body feeling like a newborn again, recovery protocol.” So, the flight to Japan, unfortunately started in Toronto rather than LA, which added another 6 hrs to the journey. Toronto-San Fran, San Fran to Osaka, Osaka to Okinawa.

Once landed in Osaka, it was necessary for me to throw away all my prepared food and clear customs. The customs agent didn’t speak a word of English, so when I tried to explain why my passport was a “temporary one,” she looked at me like a criminal and summoned the border guard to escort me into the office (I received a “temporary” passport a few weeks prior in LA because my permanent one was washed and all the stamps were removed, so to allow me to travel out of the country they issued me a temporary white passport). It took them about 1.5hrs to determine that the passport was legit and let me go. The timing was about right. Another 30mins and they might have had a 300lb Godzilla-like hungry screaming man running wild in the streets of Osaka.

Now the adventure to find some sort of protein in Japan…..not so easy! Clearly a serving of meat is not the same to them as it might be to me. I found a restaurant that looked like it would best suit my needs and did my best to get some grub. All in all, not that bad.

Okinawa was a beautiful place and one that I would love to visit again. My accommodations were on the US air force base, which was a completely new experience for me. I had never been around any type of military base. Being a fan of the movie Top Gun as a kid, I had dreamed of being a fighter pilot and shooting down bogies with Maverick and Ice Man. So meeting a squadron of F15 fighter jet pilots was awesome. Needless to say, “Danger Zone” was the theme song playing in my head all day. Lol. These guys (and 1 girl actually-wicked!) do some pretty crazy things. There training is intense and long. The fact that I got to see these badass planes up front was definitely a dream come true. I would have loved to be able to ride in one, maybe someday!

Everyone was definitely hospitable and I got some very unique souvenirs. I’m back on North American soil now, and training has been going amazingly well. Looking back on the past few years of training, I feel like I am light-years ahead when it comes to mind muscle connection and being able to get the most out of my body when I demand it.

Big things to come!