Hong Kong

I finally had a chance to have enough time to run in Hong Kong last week.

Since the hotel I stayed was on Tsim Sha Tsui side that's where I ran.

Here's a photo of a girl dressing the mannequins in a show window of a store - right by the hotel I stayed.

Unfortunately, it was very wet on the first day, but I could check out the Avenue of Stars.

Here's the statue of Bruce Lee.  He certainly is a big star of mine.

Next day, I ran by the newest skyscraper (under construction) in Hong Kong - International Commerce Centre.  It is actually in Kowloon, the same side as my hotel.

The same building is seen from the other side of the harbour.

These are little figurines of Chinese deities I found by a little port in West Kowloon.

The high rises on the central financial district of Hong Kong.  International Finance Centre is currently the tallest building.on Wanchai side - across the harbour, together with the International Commerce Centre building, they look like the pillars of the gate to Hong Kong.

Stonecutters Bridge: a monumental cable stayed bridge under construction.



I had a short visit to an old city of Kanazawa. It is one of the rare cities along with Kyoto and Nara that did not get air raided during the WWII. For this reason, many old buildings remain.

I could take a nice run around the city - Nagamachi is a district where middle to lower class samurai that served the lord of this area (Maeda Clan) lived.   Although this is very close from the central business district of the city, visiting this area is like a time-slip into the olden age.

Whenever I visit Kanazawa, I also jog around and in the Kanazawa Castle park. The history of the castle goes back to 1546, but the prosperity of the area was built by Maeda Toshiie who occupied the castle in 1583.

Although the city escaped the horrors of WWII, long before that in 1881, most of the old castle burned down by a fire. It is currently under re-construction. This page shows the amazing video of how the castle is being re-built using the old techniques and also explanations of the castle structure.

Above photo shows the inside of walls - old composite structure that could withstand earthquakes.


Kobe - Port and Mountain Runs

I revisited the beautiful city of Kobe last week. This time, I spent two nights, so I could enjoy two relaxing runs.

First morning, I enjoyed running on the waterfront. The part that has a marine museum, hotels, shopping center, and the Port tower is called Meriken Park.

Here is a picture of a reminder of earthquake of 1995.

The next morning, I ran towards the mountains. From the port, within about 3 km to the north starts a hilly area, very steep climb. In the woods, it was not really a run, but climb and walk for me.

The area was like a jungle - I even saw a wild boar dashing down the hill!

I found this nice little azalea along the trail.

Here’s a view from the woods – below the ropeway. You can see how close this mountain is from the city.


Sanuki Udon

I visited Takamatsu last week. It is a very nice city in Kagawa Prefecture which is in the island of Shikoku.

The most famous food of the area is udon (pronounced “oo-don”), Japanese noodles that is made with wheat flour, salt, and water. Udon of this region is called "Sanuki Udon." Here is a site explaining more about it by a local person. It is so popular that some people from Honshu would travel there just to eat this udon.

I, too, have this special noodles every time I have a chance to go there. Although it is so famous and popular, the price is very reasonabl.

This time for lunch, I went to an udon restaurant called “Chikusei” in the middle of Takamatsu City. This was my first time to go to this particular restaurant.

There was a long line of people waiting outside of the tiny restaurant - I guess it is like this every day at lunch time!

Here’s my lunch – a bowl of udon with tempura of a Chikuwa and an egg. It was delicious!

Here’s another restaurant right by the local government building – the line was even longer here!

At Takamatsu Airport, I found packages of Chikusei udon noodles sold at a souvenior store. The couple printed on the package are the owners of the restaurant and they are the ones actually made my lunch.


Golden Week 2009

Today was the last day of the Golden Week in Japan.

Traditionally, we have a series of holidays from the end of April and the beginning of May (this is the reason it is called the "Golden Week").  This year, we had the usual April 29 off – that was last Wednesday.  So, if anyone decided to take last Thursday and Friday off, he/she could take 7 days off altogether.

Today really was a strange day, for it was a compensatory holiday – and happened for the first time in our history.  Usually, a day like this happens when an official holiday falls on Sunday, Monday is a day off.  Last year, since May 3 and 5 are both holidays, the government decided the 4th should also be a day off (this means 3 days in a row of holidays - automatically).

Since the 4th fell on Monday this year, the 6th became a compensatory holiday.

I did not hear anybody complaining.


Maebashi City Run

I participated in a half marathon in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture last Sunday. This was my fourth consecutive year running it. The temperature was a bit warm, but winds were cool.

Although my finish time of 1:44:00 was not my best record, I enjoyed the run in a beautiful course.

Runners waiting for the start of the race.  Some 1,600 runners participated this year.

Here’s a picture taken by my friend at the start of the run (I am not photographed).

I stayed at an inn at Onogami Hot Springs – next morning of the half-marathon, I could take an easy jog in a beautiful countryside.

I also visited the future Yamba Dam site. It is too bad that this area will be under water someday.