Côte d'Azur

I spent a good part of past week in Côte d'Azur.

I was in Nice most of the time and for one afternoon, I could go to Monaco. The weather was not as warm as I expected, but could enjoy the beautiful cities in Sunshine - mainly.

Above photo - the view from my hotel window (Nice).

A cool and relaxing run on Promenade des Anglais, a road right by the beaches was a pleasure. I could observe a beautiful sunrise (see photo below).
Right by my hotel was a runners' store. It was a delight to find the same pair of shoes as I use (Mizuno WaveRider 11) - the store owner told me that it was new in France - I've been wearing it since May (I just purchased my second pair right before I left Japan). I also learned the price was twice I paid in Tokyo!

I had half a day in Monaco - getting there from Nice, we took a bus. The fare was one Euro - thought it was a deal of the century, but it turned out to be very adventurous! All the seats were taken, so we had to stand in the crowded bus. And although the drive on the winding roads along the shorelines was beautiful, the young driver was rough in maneuvering the vehicle, so we really had to hold on to whatever that was stationary not to fall down. That was a tough 50 min. ride. We took 3.30 Euro train back to Nice later that day! Over three times the price, but the ride was only 20 min. and much more comfortable.

Above photo - the port of Monaco seen from Prince's Palace . And below is the Palace. And of course, the pictures of Princess Grace were found all over the place in this city.


Marugame Castle

Wednesday morning, I took an early morning run to Marugame Castle. It was about 3.5 km from the hotel I stayed. The main building of this castle sits at the top of the hill that is quite a climb to get to - very good hill workout.

I became quite out of breath climbing up the hill, but at the top, I was rewarded by a beautiful sunrise and the gorgeous views!


Musashino Central Park

Musashino Central Park is a nice and spacious green field where people come to fly kites and rubber-band powered airplanes, have picnics/barbecue, or just simply run around or play catch with kids. There also is an area where children's soccer games are played. It is a very peaceful place and I've visited it with my family many times.

But this place has a very sad past. Until the end of WWII, this was occupied by Nakajima Aircraft Company's main engine factory. Because the engines were mainly for war planes, it became a target for air bombing by the US military. It was raided 9 times in 1944 and at least 220 factory workers lost their lives. Only a couple of years ago, I recall that a construction crew of a renovation of the city hall (which is close from the park), found unexploded bombs in the ground.

After the war in 1948, this place became the US military housing. Internet tells me that there were 780 US military families - over 2000 people lived here. It was finally returned to Japan in 1973 and the government of Tokyo decided to make it into a park. For that, we can now enjoy a nice open field.


Neighborhood creatures

I think the hot summer is finally winding down in Tokyo.
Mornings and evenings are getting cooler, but we still do have some hot days.

Today, I am positng pictures of creatures that I can see in my neighborhood.

Below two photos are of cicada. The first one is "Graptopsaltria nigrofuscata" and the one below is "Meimuna opalifera". These buggers are actually very loud, but when look for them, they are difficult to spot, especially the ones with clear wings. I think "Graptopsaltria nigrofuscata" is the most common of what we have in Japan and they do come out every summer.

This is a picture of a discarded skin of a cicada. This one is "Graptopsaltria nigrofuscata". I believe they stay in this form and live underground for something like 7 years. And after they morph into the grown form, they have only a week to live.

Spiders - the little one (male) may be trying to mate with the much bigger female - risking it's life!

A snail - this one has blue skin - I think it is rare.

We have too many of these crows.

I could capture this little gecko on the wall of our neighbor's house. He was checking me out.