Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jen in Japan

After the Spartan Sprint and Hurricane Heat, my next chance to exercise was in Tokyo!

Sunday, Mar 13:
I arrived on Saturday, not having slept all that well on the plane.  It's hard to get comfortable.  I got up at 6am to do 3 laps around the Imperial Palace the next morning, though.  It was cloudy, which is great.  You can't get into the grounds, just like you can't walk up to the White House, but they make the sidewalk loop around the palace very runner-friendly.  It's all pavement and stone, but I'm running so infrequently these days, that my body won't mind the hard surface for one run.  I had signed up for a half marathon, which was 2 weeks away, so I couldn't slack too much.  The runners who were out there that morning were pretty decent.  Japan has great depth in fast runners... maybe not world record-holding, but right below that, there are countless very fast runners.  12.8 mi in 1:50:17, 8:37 average.


After the run, I went to Asakusa, for 1) a special geocache, 2) a great market for souveniers, 3) a temple, 4) lunch at a place with live traditional music.


(How's that for the location of a geocache?!?)


 (The marketplace of souveniers)


 
(Sweet Sake with peanut butter powder-covered Rice flour balls)



 

 (Monkey doing tricks)



 
(Lunch)

You don't normally see Ninja Star carnival games...


After Asukosa, I went to the Sky Tree, the tower shown below.  I didn't ride up, but I explored the vast shopping mall.


They had one shop that specialized in creating candy figurines, like what I saw at Epcot when I was a kid.  They looked like glass and were finely painted.  


 They had a place with interactive electronic things to promote some brand.


And a place where you could paint your own piece of wood.


Tuesday, Mar 15:
The hotel rooms in Tokyo are pretty small.  The population is dense, and real estate is at a premium, I suppose.  I did my strength session in the "hallway" between the hotel room door and the bathroom.

Foods I tried that week:


 (Soba noodles and Tempura)

(Sashimi & Edamame)

(Fresh seafood)

Saturday, I was really tired from having worked until 3:30am on Friday night, but I got in some sights around Tokyo.

(Ueno Gardens)

 (above-ground Rail-less Metro going to the Rainbow Bridge)

(Sky Tree again)

Sunday, Mar 20:
Got a chance to run again.  I had to switch hotels for a single night, because the original hotel was booked up, so I had 3 hrs to kill between checkout at one and checkin at another.  17.1 in 2:38:15, 9:13 average.  I went back to the Imperial Palace grounds, rather than exploring other areas, since it was traffic-free once you were on the loop, and the loops were a consistent 5k per lap.  This was at about 11am, and I hadn't eaten since a big breakfast at 7am, after going to my first church service abroad, but it was surprisingly fine.  I took a water break at half way, but that was it.



 I was tired afterwards, and had a nice stretch in the East Gardens of the palace.


And refueled and re-hydrated afterwards at this nice Belgian Beer Bar:



 Hope to come back some time!



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