Saturday, May 21, 2016

Japan : Grand Finale (May 1-13)

I get an odd feeling when I visit a place for what I expect will be the last time, at least the last time for a long time.  I felt it first in Argentina, where I had my first international business trip and went maybe three other times as a part of that project.  Although in the case of Argentina, I ended up going back a few years later for a different project (which also had a series of visits), and I got the nostalgic special feeling of coming back home to old stomping grounds. I feel like I saw pretty much everything I had wanted to see in Buenos Aires, although there are several other regions in that vast country which would be worth exploring one day.  Patagonia tops the list, but I've also heard good things about Salta (desert-like) and Malbec (producers of my favorite wine).  Then again, the US is so vast and has an incredible spectrum of diverse places to explore, too.  Hmm, the world awaits.

Anyway, this was the last "Go-Live" visit for Japan.  Time to see what all the work done in the preceding year would yield.  Fortunately, it wasn't a sudden start, like it normally is, so we got to gradually ramp up. The first week in May this year was "Golden Week" in Japan, a series of three national holidays that were scheduled mid-week, meaning a lot of people were off on Monday and Friday, too.  Not so with us, as we had to prep for the following week. 

Thursday, May 5:
But, it did mean that I could squeeze in a run at the Imperial Palace again, at 5am.  I ran there from my hotel, did 3 loops, then went back, for 11.2 mi in 1:40:28, 8:58 average.  Not many people or traffic, due to the early start, plus the holiday.  I knew I was out of shape, so i just chugged through to try to salvage some fitness and maybe hold onto it for a bit longer.  Splits> 37:43 to the palace plus the first loop, 27:16 second loop, 26:54 third loop, 8:35 back to the hotel. I was tired at first during the work morning,b but it got better later on.

Saturday, May 7:
Strength session in the hotel room at 7am.  550 crunches/side, 2:30 plank barely held it, 100/190 adductor/abductor leg lifts, 90s 6 inches, 80+90 single-leg squats, 35 tricep dips, 70-55 clam, 110s side planks, 25 military pushups, 65 normal double-leg squats.  Don't be impressed by the numbers.  I don't do the full range of motion.  It still feels like I'm doing something, though, and I get a bit of cardio in the process. 

Later that day (and again the next day), I went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.  The observation decks are only half the height of those of the Sky Tree, and I haven't been to the top of Sky Tree to compare, but to me, it was still good, and you get the benefit of seeing Sky Tree, rather than being in it.

Here's the building itself:

I kind of Jeally-beared the weekend and didn't do much again... I guess I was tired, maybe?  I don't know.  Maybe one day I'll wish that I had done more while I was there. 

Thursday, May 12:
I woke at 4:15 that morning to squeeze in another run before work, back at the Imperial Palace.  11.2 mi in 1:38:18, finished by 6:05ish.  Splits> 9:34 to the palace, 26:46 first loop, 26:19 second loop, 26:38 third loop, 8:59 back tot he hotel.  I was afraid that I might've forgotten how to run, going into this, but it wasn't that bad.  May sound crazy, I know.  I normally run 3x/week, but going to 1x/week feels like a huge difference to my body.  Little blood flow, little movement and muscle activation.  Now that I was really familiar with the course, having racked up many loops across the trips by now, I could really zone out this time and let my mind wander.

Friday was my last day there (although almost everyone else, who had come in a week after I had, would be staying).  The team all came out to send me off at the elevators, and it was so heart-warming.  It made me already miss being there with them. 

I didn't get to climb Fuji, but I did get to see it again on one of the days, when I was visiting a plant.  I didn't take a picture in the morning when I saw it, and by the time I had gone back down to take a picture in the afternoon, it had already faded into the clouds.  The climbing season doesn't start until July, anyway, but maybe one day...

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