2014 Hanami Season Starts!

Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) Season has finally come to Tokyo this week.  It is still not yet full blossomed, but with warm weather, many people were out today to enjoy it.

These are very unusual flowers - mixed in color - close from Takaido Station.

Almost fully blossomed flowers on trees on Kanda River by Kugayama.

The situation this afternoon at the eastern edge of the pond of Inokashira Park.

These people got a good spot for their picnic.

Hanami at the main part of the park - believe me, this is not yet crowded.

The main bridge of the pond was packed.

The view from the northern tip of the 

A close-up of flowers.

A nice one by the Benten.

 Picnickers on the south side of the pond - less crowded.

We should be able to enjoy the cherry blossom for at least a week (hopefully).


Mineyama Trail Run

My wife and I participated in Mineyama Trail Run yesterday.  It was held in Sagamihara.  The weather was fantastic and the area was of course beautiful.  There were about 1,000 runners gathered for the 14 km run.

The opening ceremony at a elementary school.

The starting line.

Looking down at runners behind me - about 1 km point.

Some points were so narrow, we had to form single file.

Some parts were paved.

Then going back into mountain trail.

The most of the run was in mountains.

The view from the peak - the white on on the right is Mt. Fuji.  This photo was taken after making up a brutal steep hill.

The finish line - joy!

Here's the route traced by MapMyRun.

The altitude graph (in feet vertical and miles horizontal - per Garmin)

This really was my first "REAL" trail run and it was so tough!


Spring weather!

We are finally starting to have spring weather. This weekend was beautiful!

Plum blossoms at my yard and Inokashiara Park - these were pictures from the past week.

The same flowers as above seen from the bottom of the hill this weekend.

Many people strolled at the park this weekend.

Cherry blossom at Nishi-En (Western Garden) - first time for me to see them this season.

This artist draws on wood plates with soldering iron.

A scene from a street leading to the park.


A very nice run in Awajishima

The island of Awajishima was where I stayed last night. This morning, I could take a very relaxed and nice run around my hotel.

The hotel was by the sea, but went up in the hills.

A typical of the road I ran - almost always paved.

The highest point of my run according to MapMyRun was about 200 m (about 650 ft).

Very nice elevated highway.

The sunrise.

Akashi Kaikyo Bridge - the longest suspension bridge in the world is seen from Prefectural Park.

A walkway by the sea where I ran - close from the hotel.

The view of Awaji Yumebutai Garden from my hotel balcony.


Rainy Los Angeles Downtown Runs

I spent several days in Los Angeles this week and I could put in two runs. The weather was not very warm - that was unexpected.   I was lucky (?) to see rare Southern California rain during my stay.

My first run was Wednesday.  It was cloudy and cool.

I stayed at a hotel at LA Live!

This is a strange painting at a parking lot.

I learned that they do have some public transportation.

The second time I could run was Friday.  I got hit by a pretty heavy rain.

Some stores are mainly for Spanish speaking people.

The lake at MacArthur Park.

There were geese and ducks enjoying the wet weather.

A major freeway that runs by LA downtown.

A famous hotel in downtown.

Umbrellas were actually used on that morning by pedestrians.

The statue of legendary basketball player -  Magic Johnson by Staples Center.

I learned that the rain - or rather the storm - was one of the most severe ones in the recent history for Los Angeles.  It actually caused some power outages.  The city is not used to getting so much rain.