Running in Tokyo

When we got back to the hostel we started doing some laundry and since the temperature was only just above 30° we decided we would do some running. Said and done.

I, as always, started at quite high pace and was the one pushing the tempo while we were slaloming between pedestrians and bikers on the sidewalk. At the stops for traffic lights we sparred and jumped up and down and ran on the spot. This, my friends, it’s not regarded as typical behavior for the japanese and we were for sure once again regarded as mad gaijins.

After running straight for a while the sidewalks began to get a bit too crowded so we changed directions a couple of times at random crossings. It didn’t take long before I had to slow down though, I guess I’m not as fit as Ulf after all 😉 It was about then it hit us that we had no idea where we were. But as a wise man once said, you are only lost if you care of where you’re going.

Running in a slower pace we started to check for maps which might show us names or kanji we recognized. It turned out that we had actually run in a U-shape so we weren’t that far from where we started. We even had some luck and found a park which gave opportunities to push-ups, pull-ups and other training. Ulf hadn’t done pull-ups before and wasn’t pleased at all when I beat him by far in this exercise. We did some extensive stretching and then we went back and after a shower we went out for food. The running felt great afterwards and it was definitely a good idea to bring shoes and running clothes.

We concluded our nice dinner with a a classic shochu on the rocks, this time we saw that the waitress poured, quite much, shochu from a 2L plastic bottle we had seen earlier in supermarkets. This was not créme de la créme among shochu so to speak. Later it showed that buying this ‘drink’ costed around 20Kr which might give away some information about the quality and taste. Bad moonshine topped with the smell of nail polish remover is the closest description I can think of right now.

But we are men from a barbaric, err, I mean nordic country so we drank them quickly with a smile on our faces. This made quite an impression on a japanese guy sitting in the bar and he offered Ulf some of his korean chochu. Ulf is a man who never questions the motives of older men buying younger men strong liquor so he gladly accepted.

It tasted way better but since we had to take care of the laundry and do some preparations for tomorrow’s journey I could politely decline his offer when I’d emptied my first glass. He was nice to talk to and came from the town located at the base of Fuji so when we told him we’d climb it he gave us advice and instructions on how to get there smoothly. Japanese people are really friendly and helpful, I think Sweden could learn a few things here, me included I guess.


IMG_4920.1After a well needed night’s sleep we went out from our hostel to check some more parts of Tokyo out. We bought pre-made sachimi, rice and nice juice from a supermarket (pronounced ‘Supaa’ in japanese btw). It didn’t taste that good and we got looks from the natural inhabitants for eating on the sidewalk, I guess we will always be ‘gaijin’ ((western) foreigner, in a slight demeaning tone) how much we try to change our behavior ;).

We then went to the subway station in order to get some protection from the glowing evil in the sky we call sun. We had covered most of the major stations but found that we hadn’t checked out Ikebukuro so we went there. We found a little mall which was way more posh than those famous stores in Ginza. Each floor was the size of a regular subway station and there were 15 floors, not all that fancy though. After some regular strolling we went out looking for parks and after more or less trespassing some rural area we found this nice park where I’m writing this. How many parks like this have free internet access in Sweden I wonder…

We’re planning to leave Tokyo tomorrow and will probably buy some rail way pass for the japanese Shinkansen (high-speed trains), not sure if we go for the 7 or 14-day deal though. Plans include visiting Sho in Aichi, checking out Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and climbing Fuji.

Later today we will try to do some good old fashion laundry at the hostel. Since we for the first time are staying in the same room in two consecutive days we might take the chance to do some running as well. But we might have to wait until evening since the temperature right now is comfortable 35°.