Archive for November, 2008

Tom and I run our first 15km

Great day today.

It started, in the beautiful autumnal morning sunlight, with Tom and I doing our first ever 15km run. This is a major achievement – I’ve never been a runner, and never would have thought that this year I’d be able to run 9.3 miles non-stop (ok, so I did stop briefly for a wee and to do my laces up).

We only started training about 7 weeks ago, and I remember how knackered I felt after doing 5km back then. The idea of doing a second 5km lap made me want to fall over.

Then last week we did the 10km. That was ok, although the final km sprint nearly killed me.

Today, my legs were fine until about the 12km mark, when my right knee – the infamous Trailwalker knee (which packed up on me halfway through the 100km Oxfam sponsored hike in 2007) started to ache. At 14km, my granny’s hip syndrome reappeared, as it does occasionally when I dance. But still, we did it.

I had my iPhone tracking us for the entire 1 hour, 17 mins and 23 seconds. The map can be viewed on EveryTrail, although I recommend downloading the Google Earth file (link on the main trip page) and viewing it in that, as you can zoom around the emperor’s garden and marvel at how we apparently jogged along the surface of the moat.

First ever 15km! at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging.

This is really exciting stuff! We’re thinking of entering the full Tokyo Marathon and possibly Honolulu Marathon in 2010.


After a trip home for a shower, I was back out to Shibuya for a private lesson, then a few hours spent editing the photos I took for the nail shop, C&K Nail. Here’s a few of the more interesting ones…

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Have you ever seen nails like this?! It’s one from their special winter range.

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Tonight I’m trying to catch up with my Japanese, as well as learn more about nutrition, and write a letter. Hmm, just not enough hours in the day!

I’ve decided to not eat any chocolate this week, so please, if you meet me on the street, don’t offer me any.

Thanks :-)

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Mumbai, my job, and babymaking

I don’t think I could ever get bored with life. There’s just too much going on.

For a start, there’s events in the news. I don’t follow the news religiously, but I have recently subscribed to the Guardian feed on my iPhone – I scroll through the headlines on my way home to keep abreast of world events that my students may refer to. It’s not entertainment, but it does push me into a different space, changes the context within which I live. Things today are different from how they were yesterday.

I’m finding it difficult to put the horrific events in Mumbai into context, as I have not known this sort of thing before outside of Hollywood movies.

Then there’s Bangkok airport, temporary home to my friends Catherine, Stew and Annie. They tell me they’re safe at least, which is a relief. My brother-in-law, Leigh, who lives here in Japan is also stuck out there – I reckon he’s secretly happy to be able to extend his business trip into a holiday (Leigh is quite an inspiration for me, having come here a few years back for the first time with nothing, and having established his own successful football academy has now created a second company that is contracted by Nike to provide coaching clinics throughout Japan).

A meeting was held at work today. There are big changes afoot in our office. The departure of a fairly central employee has prompted a major overhaul of the way the business is run. Whilst I was initially hired to search for / interview / place new teachers, it’s now been decided that my ‘talents’ are needed elsewhere. Whilst initially surprised as the announcement, I soon realised that this was a very good thing.

My new roles suit me down to the ground. I have several.

The first is teaching English over the phone. As as far as I know we are almost unique within the industry for offering this service. Whilst it can be quite exhausting (8 students per hour) I find it pretty enjoyable – it helps me practice my communication skills – I get to play the game “How quickly can I suss this person out and connect with them?”. I feel really good when it’s clear the students have enjoyed talking with me.

My second role is that of The Cleaner. We’re not talking dusty shelves or dirty carpets (a little old lady comes in everyday to do that. She always asks me if I’ve got over the cold I had last month), we’re talking stripping down and cleaning out the old systems/ workflows, and rebuilding them using a lean model. We’re talking clearing out data archives, transferring operations currently carried out manually / using real paper to semi-automatic self-cleaning databases.

I love this kind of thing. It’s kind of funny, but at the same time sort of expected that a job be created especially for me that involves my doing what I love.

My third role, and this one’s a little more long term, is to revolutionise our web presence. We need to embrace mobile platforms, need to harness the power of these new technologies that will allow students to study wherever they happen to be – I can’t help but think how effective iAnki is in giving me the freedom to fit study in with my everyday routine, with no significant additional impact upon my schedule (it’s really working by the way. Amazing program).

I find this all very exciting – I’m going to get paid to learn about and experiment with new systems that I have a natural interest in already. The only difficulty is in fitting all this in – there’s only so many hours in the day. Thus, I’ve been given the go ahead to work overtime whenever I wish too, paid at overtime rate. This is great, just what we need as we save up more money to move house. I’ll start tomorrow.

This evening I met up with a bunch of boy-mates for a ‘boys night out’. All eight of us have Japanese wives. Except for me, everyone had been married for several years.

At one point the conversation turned to baby-making. “Oh no, you’re not having to go through that are you..?” said one boymate to another. “You’re lucky” they said to me. Sex is still for fun for you, right? For us, it’s just a job, only to be done when the wife is ‘on heat’.”

It all sounded a bit mechanical.

I wondered if that would be *Twinkle* and I in 2 years. I hoped not.

Anyway, it’s now 1.15am. I need to get these photos processed before work tomorrow. TTFN

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How much does a university education cost these days?

I can tell you, because today I got a statement from the student loans company.

This is the total of four years of loans that have to be repaid – it excludes all the (non-repayable) grants that paid my tuition fees.

That’s this much in a few other currencies:

It is increasing on a monthly basis – even with a low interest rate it’s not an insignificant amount.

But the university experience and degree were worth every penny.

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Join me on my morning jog

As of today, I’m offering Mumblers the opportunity to join me on my morning jog. Yes, you too can come to Komozawa Koen, enjoy the sights of the running track, go faster, go slower, go uphill, go downhill …and all without breaking a sweat. Courtesy of (what else but) the iPhone.

Courtesy of this amazing gadget and a new app, my runs (that’s different from ‘the runs’…) are now added to the social networking site EveryTrail. If I take any photos along my route, they are magically uploaded to the Google map in the correct location – I really don’t have to do much to create the little show other than press ‘Start’ when I leave the house and ‘Stop’ when I get home (and ‘Take Photo’ when I want to).

This also shows speed, altitude, and the amount of sweat soaking my T-shirt.

This morning I was out of the house by 7am, inspired by *Twinkle* who had left at 6.15am to attend a (free) morning business seminar run by the owner of a famous izakaya (Japanese bar) in Shibuya.

It was a great run, really enjoyed it!
(Click here to view the following morning jog in full or click on the map or photos)

Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Geotagging

Time for a quick shower, shave, bento (packed lunch) making …then work!

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Noodles for breakfast

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