I’ve run a lot of miles in 2014 and moving to Japan hasn’t stopped that. Since I’ve been here I’ve run most days and I’ve joined an international running club – Namban Rengo. Here is an extract from their website:
What does Namban Rengo mean?
Namban-jin was was the word applied to the Portugese sailors who were among the first western people ever to visit Japan. Literally, the term means southern barbarians. Rengo means union, association, etc. It is also used by gangster and biker groups, in which case the meaning is closer to gang. All things considered, a good translation of our club name is The Barbarian Horde.
They have a really good session on a Wednesday night at a track in Yoyogi Park near Shibuya. I’ve been twice now and it’s great for making me run fast.
After there is bathing in the public baths – a very Japanese and relaxing experience followed by drinks and dinner! I’ve met lots of interesting people from Japan and around the world and look forward to many more sessions with them.
Tonight I entered my first Japanese race. It’s a 10k around the Imperial Palace on the 3rd of May. I’m looking forward to seeing how I well I run this distance after a lot of running this year, I’ll keep you all posted!
Pictures taken last Saturday exploring the surrounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
I ran around the grounds last weekend – a popular Tokyo past time and a rare chance to run for 3 miles without interruption.
It’s only possible to go inside properly 2 days a year – New Year’s Day and the Emperor’s Birthday so exploration is restricted to the rather nice grounds for the majority of the year.
Girl looking good on the street to be seen on in Tokyo.
Ginza has the most upmarket shops in the city and some very glamorous people!
I got my shipment from the UK on Friday afternoon which means that I now have my folding bike to explore with. Today I took it out for it’s first trip. I went over many bridges including the Rainbow Bridge and around Tokyo Bay.
Cycling is not allowed on the Rainbow Bridge so you have to put your rear wheel onto a kind of bogie to push it across! I was adopted by 2 young boys who helped me get to the bridge and sort it all out! Here are some pictures of my trip.
Today I felt my first earthquake!
I work on the 14th floor of a high rise well dampened building so the shake was quite apparent. The most similar feeling that I’ve had previously was being on a ferry with the building shaking in a smooth motion. It was very short and I didn’t feel afraid. If I had been walking in the street I may not have even felt it.
I’ve already been trained on earthquakes at work and have under my desk a helmet and emergency pack in case of issues.
A lot of the Japanese people that I have spoken to are worried about the effect that the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 has had on the appeal of Japan to visitors and tourists. For me this wasn’t part of my decision on whether to come although clearly it is a risk for anyone living here.
I was afraid that I’d missed the famous Japanese blossoms but last Sunday managed to find lots in the very peaceful Shinjuku-gyoen park.
Today I went for my first proper exploration of Tokyo. I started by getting the train to Tokyo station and running around the exterior of the Imperial Palace along with many others. It felt good to be there and doing as some of the running locals do!
After showering I then headed off to Asakusa the old heart of Tokyo:
There were some good views of the Sky Tower from here and near by here too – the replacement for The Tokyo Tower in recent years for communications.
After that I visited Shibuya, site of reputedly the busiest crossing in the world: