Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tokyo Run

We stayed in a different hotel in Tokyo than usual so my normal run along the Meguro-gawa (river) changed to a route based on city streets. I've run this route before and even added it to the USATF database if anyone is interested. We stayed at the Takanawa Prince Sakura Tower which is actually the first hotel I ever stayed in Japan when I visited about 8-9 years ago. While I didn't bring a camera on this trip, I did a few years back when I ran pretty much the same route as on this trip. At that time, I even remembered to bring the camera with me on one of my morning runs so that I could capture the scenes as I ran through the streets of the Shinagawa-ku of Tokyo. Enjoy!

The route goes up behind the hotels across from the Shinagawa train station. I like to run the little back street as it is more picturesque than the main thoroughfare. Tokyo is an interesting city, mixed with old and new; ancient structures often cit nestled right amongst ultra modern buildings.

This gate is always the first and last landmark on this route which goes along a backstreet before meeting up with a major highway to travel past the Tokyo Tower and sometimes as far as the Royal Palace. I'm not actually if this is a temple or some other site, but it is typical of many such markers.
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The narrow, street is lined with sidewalks of rough brick which is common throughout Tokyo. The brick is softer than concrete, but still harder than asphalt. However, running 0n the road here is really not a good idea as they are narrow and these buses fly by at sometimes frightening speeds.
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Despite how crowded and busy Tokyo is, they seem to find room for these little parks wherever they can.
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The Tokyo Tower can be seen in the distance. I pass it around the 2.5-3 mile point on my route.
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I generally head out for my runs around 6:30-7:00am so the city is still just waking up, though you will see that it picks up on my way back.
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Just before the 2 mile mark I reach the intersection with the major highway 1. The roads are wider here and so are the sidewalks which is good as it can get busy if I am running late.
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The Tower can be seen directly ahead.
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And, then, it gets closer.
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I can see it directly between the buildings as I pass.
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I'm not sure what this place is, but it looks like a very old home that is about the size of a small shack.
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One nice thing about running in Tokyo is that you never need to carry water, just a few 100 yen as there are vending machines on nearly every corner. Pocari Sweat is sort of a local version of Gatorade.
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As I said, vending machines are everywhere. However so are small shops and very familiar convenience stores such as 7-11 and AM/PM. Familiar from the outside that is, not necessarily within.
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As my route curves around, I get an excellent view of the Tower including the massive legs.
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This is a gate to a city temple. Very common throughout Tokyo.
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On my way back, the local children are starting to head off to school.
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The school is along the small back road where I began my run.
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Another landmark is a typical city cemetery.
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Dodging the kids heading to school is often a challenge on the narrow street. I particularly like the little kids with their backpacks containing bright yellow reflective signs.
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Finally, I arrive back at the familiar landmark and a short distance back downhill to the hotel.
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13 comments:

Jessica Deline said...

very cool. those are some great pictures!!

miki said...

That made me very nostalgic for the sounds and smells of Japan. I am hoping to squeeze a trip in next year between semesters which unfortunately means either very hot or very cold. I think I would go with cold since I looove the hot baths. I also get fat on the ice cream and puddings you get in those little markets. They taste so different from here and so good. I think I'm jealous. :)

Sarah (PCTR) said...

Wow - thanks for posting all that, Steve! Fascinating!!

Now I don't feel sorry for you, though, when you complain about running on the roads while in Japan!!

Sarah

Eudemus said...

Thanks Jessica. The pics have been sitting around for years just waiting for a blog :-)

Eudemus said...

Hey Miki. This has been my first trip to Japan in a while. I used to go all the time. However, it is always for business so it is probably quite different from your experience. However, I know what you mean about the ice creams and stuff. Actually all the food in Japan is so good, I always eat too much. And, don't even get me started on the sake!

Eudemus said...

Sarah, as much as I am a trail hog, I do enjoy early morning runs in the city. It's always interesting to see the city waking up.

willgotthardt said...

Do the schoolkids point and scream YAMAOTOKO!!! as you run by?

[Nice pics]

Will G.

miki said...

Lol. Okay, Will that made me laugh so hard. Where in the hell did you learn to say that? !!

And hey Steve, you're running Big Basin. See you on Sunday. I actually had a nightmare about it already. I've never ever done well at Big Basin and I've never done the 50. I hope I live. :)

Eudemus said...

Will,

They yell, "Yamaotoko-SAN!" Those kids in Japan are always polite and respectful. I respond "Hai, Yama-Otoko desu." Actually, like most of the Japanese I see during my runs they say nothing and don't make eye contact unless I utter "Ohayoogozaimasu" first. However, I did have one older woman call out "gambate!" as a friend and I charged up a hill during a morning run.

山人 スティーブ

Eudemus said...

Miki,

Yep, I'm Big Basin bound. Isn't that actually were we met face-to-face for the first time last year? Don't worry, you'll do fine in the 50. They even made it a little more hilly this year for you :-). I will be testing out my feet to see how they have recovered from HH.

-Steve

Dave said...

I really enjoyed those photos. Never been to Japan, but now I really want to go!

Eudemus said...

Dave, glad you liked the pictures. Tokyo is definitely an interesting city. However, other than my morning runs I don't get to see much of the city other than hotel rooms, offices and restaurants since I am there on business.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

that is the COOLEST run pictorial I have ever seen