Rising Women Interview
I always remember to have
a big smile on all the time.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Noriko Ueda. I go by NOKKO, professionally. It’s my dance name, or maybe my studio name. Please call me NOKKO!
Please tell us what you mainly do now, and how this came to be.
When I was 19 years old, I started to think how great it would be if I could earn a living doing something that I like. I was very physically active then too and was learning jazz dance then, but I was unsatisfied with the level of physical stimulation jazz dance had on me. At that time, I was introduced to aerobics. I started teaching and directing aerobics, and in the past, I have also taught water aerobics too. IN this way, I have been in the fitness industry for a long time. I started working for Renaissance from 2011. I currently teach a dance program called Ritmos and a core-training program called Pilates there.
Please tell us what a typical day looks like for you.
I have a toy poodle at home, so my day starts with a walk with my dog. I then eat breakfast, and then get ready for work. It’s very ordinary. When I return from work, I walk my dog again, and then I spend the rest of my evening relaxing. Since my daughter is married now and I am alone, I spend most of my evenings listening to music. When I need to practice dancing, I listen to upbeat songs, but normally, I listen to calming, quiet songs. I rely on music very much to distinguish my work and private times apart.
Please tell us what you have done in the past that you felt was extremely worthwhile, and other experiences where you felt was difficult.
I love seeing my students’ smiles. I quite work to see that. “I had fun!” “It felt great.” “I would like to come again!” When and if my students say these things to me, I feel as if my efforts had been worth my while.
My pilates students all have a common purpose when they come to my lessons, so when I feel their purposes have been fulfilled, I feel extremely satisfied. Students come in wanting to correct their posture, relieve their shoulder pains, and shape up their bodies. In this day and age, even middle schoolers have arched backs due to using their phones and computers for too long! Especially in a time like this when there are many people with bad posture and slouched backs, I try to help relieve their worries through pilates.
When asked about the struggles I’ve experienced in my past… there’s too many so I can’t specifically pick out some. I do have a hard time with even some of the small issues, but I think I have been able to overcome everything because I stay positive. Whatever happens, I try to stay as positive as possible. As I intentionally try to stay as positive as possible, I don’t feel like I’ve struggled much in the end.
At what times do you feel most relaxed, or feel like you are the most alive?
I play with my dog, which helps. I also make it a point to sit down, drink tea, and think of nothing at least once every day, which helps me to loosen up and relax. Soaking in the bathtub eases tension, and I spend mornings controlling my breathing as I meditate. Breathing is truly important in pilates too. I drink a cup of black tea straight after I finish practicing my breathing and meditating every morning.
I feel that I am most myself, though, when I am in my lessons. My adrenaline is high and I love enjoying my time with my students who are also equally excited about the time. Enjoying my time with others around me has a big impact on how much I have fun at work and in my private life as well.
Do you have a motto, or maybe a policy that you adhere to while you are working?
I never forget to appreciate and be grateful. Grateful of the people around me, of course, but also food too. When I eat something delicious, I make sure to appreciate it as I eat. When I was young, I had times where I would eat junk food or overeat in general. But what you intake does truly make up your body. I try now to be more conscientious about what I eat and eat food that is good for my body. Eating healthily has helped me to feel good, inside and out, every morning.
What do you think Japanese women need to possess to be successful?
I always remember to have a big smile on all the time. Also, remembering to be thankful and grateful is very important. To foo, and to other people around you. Also, I remember to be humble. Because I try to stay humble, I am consistently able to stay positive and think that there probably will be something great happening soon.
What do you envision yourself to be like in a few years?
I’m one of those people who cannot think too much about the far future, and I live my life day by day. I do have certain things that I would like to do in the near future, but I try to intentionally spend my energy thinking about how to best go about my day.
There is a license related to pilates that I would like to obtain, so professionally, I hope to achieve this soon. Also, I currently teach pilates in my own small studio at home, but I would like to teach in a bigger studio at some point as well. I want to live a long healthy life too. If possible, I want to be teaching for as long as I live.
Please tell us how you felt when you drank JANAT tea. Please also provide a message for women.
I think of this tea as something I would like to drink after work, to relax. When I’m at work, I move my body a lot, and so I like to distinguish between work and my private life as much as possible. As I was able to relax really well drinking this tea, I think it would be wonderful if I can drink this tea every day.
I would like to tell other women that it is really important to appreciate your time no matter what you are doing. This way, I feel anyone will be able to stay positive very naturally.