I was up at 6am again today. After checking my emails, Twitter and Facebook, I spent about 4 minutes searching for the shorts that I was already wearing, then headed out onto the streets of Tokyo.
I remember someone in an interview being asked what part of Tokyo was their favourite. Their answer: “That early morning part of Tokyo”. I agree. Tokyo between 5am and 7am is a very different place to the Tokyo you’ll find during the rest of the daylight hours. It’s peaceful, nature is still playing the dominant role.
Documenting my jogs around Tokyo using a GPS tracker and camera (that is, Everytrail on the iPhone) gives me enormous pleasure. It turns what could simply be thought of as exercise into a mini-adventure. It helps me construct an image (both in my mind and on my mac) of the Tokyo in which I live. It reminds me that there are still many things to discover- right here on my doorstep. It also gives me a chance to photograph buildings – I am fascinated by Japanese architecture (whilst knowing nothing about it).
Here’s my jog this morning. As usual, it was not planned in the slightest – I just headed out in an unexplored direction and then checked Google Maps a couple of times on my trip to steer me in approximately the right direction.
Below is the interactive map – and some of the photos that I reposted to Flickr.
View this trip in 3D (complete with photos) in Google Earth here
A shrine fox guardian. The bib is so that he doesn’t mess up his fur when eating.
Obama: Yes we can! …and on his way out on the left, Prime Minister Aso – who’s the chap in brown? (on the window of a traditional Japanese bar)
Stone wall of a temple
Meguro has a history of wanting to be upper class, thus the existence of ‘Meguro Ginza”
Have you ever had a traffic cone that you’ve loved so much that you’ve wanted to protect it from the harsh reality of modern life on the street?
This still-under-construction circular ‘thing’, had me staring in puzzled disbelief. Situated right by the Meguro river, a large number of businesses and private homes had been bulldozed to make way for it. Reading the sign I could see that it was divided up into blocks – the huge concrete wall that towered about 4 storeys up had me thinking this was a new prison. Surely not, here in Meguro?
It was only when I saw an artists impression of the finished complex that I understood what it was for. It’s the main point where Tokyo’s inner ringroad goes underground to join a new tunnel. The reason it’s so big is that vehicles will be circling around inside it.
Baseball is hugely popular here. Many of my salary-men students work as volunteer baseball coaches for youth teams at the weekend.
Many of Japan’s old steam trains can be found parked up in, erm, parks
This sign reads “Setagaya-ward Playpark Playleaders – Non (left) and Futa (right) – If there’s anything you don’t know just call us!”
I then came across an extraordinary private collection of Mercedes (note four at the back too).
…and a collection of oil bottles to keep them going!
Japan is yet to see all small private shops destroyed by chains – here we have a traditional liquor store (or Offy as I should say being British!)
Fast forward 30 years and here we have the latest in perspex housing
Only a few hundred metres from home I discovered an American Movie Gallery store – which included lifesize Star Wars models, and a terminator.
The other day I decided to get off the subway one stop early and walk the last bit to the office. I took a few photos along the way as I circumnavigated the north-west corner of the grounds of the Imperial Palace.
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.
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.
Time for a quick shower, shave, bento (packed lunch) making …then work!
About this site
Hello. I'm Joseph, Tokyo-based fouder and Creative Director at creative agency/video production house Wild Tame. I'm also known as a runner with an experimental tech streak, father of two, husband of one.
This site documents my personal journey through life.
To learn more about me and my adventures in tech please visit my main site at http://josephta.me