I had a nice family trip last week to Hakuba. This was the only time we managed to go skiing this season.

We were worried whether we’d have enough snow. The entire drive from Tokyo was in the sun and even when we got there, we hardly saw snow.

But that night, it snowed and snowed for us to have a wonderful two days of skiing.

Cars were buried under the snow when we woke up the next morning.

Actually, it snowed all the time while we were at the slopes - very low visibility.

The following day, it really cleared up and was gorgeous! This is the view from our hotel window.

The beautiful view from one of the ski slopes.

The ski jump site used for the 1998 Nagano Olympics was right in front of our hotel.


Tokyo Marathon 2009

This year's Tokyo Marathon (the third annual) took place on Sunday, March 22.
Again, I did not make the draw (260,000 applicants for 35,000 spots), but amazingly my wife was selected again! So, again, I participated in it as a supporter to my wife.

She has ran three 10K races in her life including the first and the second Tokyo Marathon, but this was her very first time to challenge the full 42.195 km.

Since she learned that she would be running the marathon, she trained hard all winter. I ran with her on weekends - in the last two months, I ran a 20K twice and a 30K once with her to help her train. She worried a lot before the run, but when the day came, she was fantastic.

The weather was cool and damp. We did have some strong winds and rain which could have been tough, but I think overall, it was a great day for a marathon.

This was my very first time to be there for the entire length of a marathon without running it. We left home at 7:30 for the event. I parted from her around 8:40 and moved around mainly on the subway system to try to cheer her from different parts of Tokyo - from Shinjuku the gun went off, I went to Hibiya, Ginza, Asakusa-Bashi, Tsukiji, then to Odaiba where the run ended. I met up with her around 2:15 PM or so. We had lunch and came back home around 4:30 PM. This was a very long day and although I didn't run, got exhausted!

Here are some photos I took that day.

An advertisement for the marathon in a subway car.

The time keeper car ready to leave right before the starting gun went off.

And they are off! The first wave of the 35,000 runners.

The runners and supporters at around 10 km point (Hibiya).

The 35K point was around Higashi-Ginza. This is the Kabuki Theatre.

My wife says that this may be her first and last marathon, but I think we'll be running one together sometime in the near future!


Miami Beach

A trip took me to Miami Beach, Florida last week. Unfortunately, I did not have time to enjoy the beautiful weather during the day, but every morning, I could run on the boardwalk and beautiful white sandy beach.

The morning came late – when I started my run from my hotel before 6:30, it was still almost in pitch dark. The sunrise came around 7:30 AM. Every morning, I could watch the sunrise towards the end of my run.

The moon over the palm trees of the South Beach.

The boardwalk along the beach.

The white sandy beach.

A couple watches the sunrise.

A seagull flies over the Atlantic Ocean as the sun rises.


Spring Buds

The moody weather swings continue here in Tokyo.
Weather was warm yesterday, but today the temperature remained low again.

What we also have is the peak of spring pollen season. To a person who is allergic to cedar pollen (cypress one is yet to come), it is a very tough time of the year.

Yet, to see young buds of plants sprouting out makes me feel good about the coming warmer season.


Battle of Weather Systems

As I reported earlier, we've had a quite a warm winter, but of course, we've had some cold days, too.

Today's already March 1. We had a cloudy and cold morning, but now the sun's out and it is warming up.

In the last part of February, we've seen the battle of weather systems - Winter and Spring.
Here are photos from Tamako Cycling Road on 21 Feb. - my wife and I had a nice long run in the sun. The "cycling road" is really shared by cyclists and walkers/runners. I think, actually there are more walkers and joggers than cyclists. Below are photos of Lake Tama (Tamako) last weekend.

Two days ago on 27 Feb. we had some snow. I had my camera setting wrong so the pictures turned out overexposed, but it was coming down very hard for a while. The photos below were taken from my office window.

Then, yesterday, when we went for another run on the cycling road, it was very warm. There were many plum blossoms of colors white and pink. We also saw some birds of spring.

This sakura tree had fully blossomed flowers! They were truly beautiful.

Below photo is what the trail looks like most of the way to the lake.

The spring is definitely on its way!