Friday, May 21, 2010

Tokyo: back to the imperial times

No, I did not live in the imperial times in France nor in Japan but I am referring to my first visit to Japan back in 1990 when Edouard, our then VP Sales, Agnès and I stayed at the Palace Hotel. Without listing all the neighborhoods of the capital of Japan, there are many amazing and mythical places in Tokyo: the skyscrapers of Shinjuku, the electronic malls of Electric City in Akihabara, the shopping streets from the Edo era in Asakusa, the museums of Ueno, the shopping fever in Ginza, and the numerous temples and shrines. I even discovered this week the surprising island of Odaiba with a strange mix of working and leisure atmospheres. While the hotel I stayed at was located next to the IBM Japan office and the convenient Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT), the project I consulted for this week is based in Odaiba, a piece of reclaimed land with very modern architecture and office buildings next to huge malls and entertainment centers and amusement parks. But, among all these places, my favorite place in Tokyo remains the Imperial Palace. Well, not the Palace itself which is closed to the public anyway (maybe Alex can get me a pass now that he has so many connections in DC...), but the periphery of the Palace and its gardens which represents an optimal running loop. Right on 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), no street to cross, perfectly even asphalt, marking every 100 meters, several restrooms and drinking fountains on the course, some elevation to vary the pace and the effort, the healthy feeling of running around the largest "lung" of the city, a green oasis into the megalopolis, like Central Park in New York City.
Anyway, this past Sunday, I landed at 2 PM in Narita, caught the 2:30 PM Airport Limousine Bus for T-CAT and was in my room by 4 PM, early enough to go for a run and take advantage of the sunny afternoon to mitigate the jet lag with the 16-hour time difference with California.
I ran a total of 15.5 miles with 4 loops around the Imperial Palace plus the 3 miles to get from and to the hotel, going through Nihonbashi and coming back through Ginza and its luxurious fashion stores and bright neon lights. I actually appreciated to have my GPS to find my way back to the hotel as you can see on the map. I am going to let you "run" through my photo album, especially my blog readers who do not have the opportunity to visit Japan.

I went back for two other loops for an early run on Tuesday morning, after quite a special night: I woke up at 4 AM for a first conference call with the US, went back to sleep for one hour, jumped on a second conference call at 6:30 AM, then the run, a quick breakfast on the go before going to the project site in Odaiba... You need to be flexible to squeeze the running into you work life and travels...
Prior to these escapades in Japan, I was able to run two PG&E/Rogue laps at Rancho on Friday, just one minute slower than my PR (1:11 for the first loop and 1:08 the second). Then 9 miles in Cupertino before going to the airport for my flight on Saturday morning.

With that busy week, I got some "forced" tapering before the exciting Ohlone 50K race this Sunday. With Leor and Gary toeing the line and the unusual cool temperatures in the Bay Area this weekend, this is going to go very fast and several course records will fall (Leor in the Open Division, and Gary for the Masters). Stay tuned, the race is held this Sunday!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

je vous attends pour découvrir en courant les poumons verts de Berlin tels le Tiergarten ou le Grunewald.
A bientôt,
bises à Agnès,