Running Circles Around Spring
Spring is here! At least it was for a day or two, then it decided to snow. I think spring may have got a little bit lost, but it’s definitely nearby and with it, I’ve decided to start writing some seasonal blogs to fill in the gaps between whatever else it is I’m writing about. I hope that you’ll enjoy them, and I hope that I’ll be able to educate my friends and family who are not in Japan and get a better understanding of the culture and lifestyle here. Maybe enough to come out and visit! Anyway, please look forward to those but for now, as the weather is slowly warming back up again, I’ve decided to get back into running and want to share with you a a little bit about that!
As with most things in my life, I’ve attempted it a few times in the past, only to stop after a few weeks to focus on something else. I’m sure most people are like that really, but it really can be difficult to fit everything you want to do into a day, particularly when you have that bloody thing called work eating up most of your time. Well, I’ve got a cheeky three-day weekend so now is as good a time as any to try again. I’ve improved in sticking to running a bit more each time I try, but a little more consistency would not go amiss and this time I’m feeling a lot more confident!
With a lovely park just down the road from me, it seems a waste not to go out for a good jog to get that aging heart pumping and it seems there are many like-minded humans doing the same. Meijo park is very popular amongst runners in the area and I often see big groups of people running around the course whenever I go for a walk with my friend. With spring around the corner, this park will be getting busy despite the pandemic, but nowhere near as busy as it would usually get in spring and summer, where you would find hoards of people getting drunk under the cherry blossom trees (more on that in a later blog).
Meijo park is located near the Nagoya city hall just north of the more downtown Sakae area. It’s is well within walking distance from there, but there’s a convenient train station that will take you to the city hall, about a ten-minute walk from the park itself.
‘Meijo’ is the name given to Nagoya castle, which can be found on the south side of the park. Soon I’ll take another trip there and get some photos of the castle grounds as well.
The park has a dedicated running course that encircles it. It’s approximately 1.2km per circulation so a few rounds of that and job’s a good’un! If the track itself gets a bit repetitive then you can always turn left into the park itself for a change of scenery.
The reason why I like running is because it gives me some time to myself. Being at work all day with the team is all well and good, and of course I cannot complain about being at home with my girlfriend and the cats, but I think we all appreciate a bit of ‘me’ time. Well, this is my me time and at least I can get a bit of exercise in as well while not having to spend a penny! The air is fresh and the park is not too hot yet, offering a positive, lively environment to exercise in, with many others doing the same.
While I run, I’ll often listen to an audiobook or podcast on Audible UK, a service that I have started using in the past year or so, and one that I really enjoy. I’ve loved podcasts for a long time, but audiobooks never really appealed to me much, as I’ve always considered myself strictly a reader. However, I gave Audible a go using the free trial and decided to stick with it. Every month I get a free credit which allows me to get any audiobook, regardless of price. The first one I downloaded was The Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes, which is about 80 hours long with quite a hefty price tag as well. But with the credit in hand, it was nothing! I sat on it for a while and allowed my credits to build up, but when I realised you can just pause the service for a few months, that made it only more appealing. Now I’ve got a bit of breathing room to get through Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and whatever else I have before I start the monthly subscription again to get that credit. Plus, whenever I hear something really good that I think I could use in my own book, be it a single sentence or even just a word, I’ll try and make a mental note to take back with me. Education!
I use Bose wireless SoundSport earphones while on the go, and they were a definite step up from the crap iPhone earphones I was using until then. They’d constantly fall out while I was running or doing whatever exercise at the gym, and the wire just kept getting caught and yanking on my ear. These earbuds though are extremely comfortable and they never fall out either! I’m not a big sound snob, but the quality in sound was instantly noticeable as well and I’m certainly happy with my purchase. They’re a slightly cheaper version of the ‘SoundSport Free’ wireless earbuds, presumably because there’s a wire that connects to two buds, but I thought that would be a safer option from running on the off-chance that they did fall out; at least there’d be something there to stop them reaching the ground and subsequently being trampled on by other runners.
I’ll admit it. I still play Pokémon Go. I know it’s not as popular as it used to be, and I certainly don’t play it anywhere near as much as I used to, but it’s another passive activity I can do when I go out for a jog. When Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Let’s Go Pikachu were released a few years back, I decided to splash out a little and get the Pokeball Plus as well, which also works with Pokémon Go. While doing laps around the park, I can simply press the button when it vibrates indicating there is a Pokémon nearby in an attempt to catch it. I have many first-world issues with it that I shan’t bore you with, but it does the job and is just one more thing I can do while I exercise. It’s not just simply running anymore! Were I back home in the UK I’m sure I’d be described as ‘sad’, but screw that. I still like Pokémon and love that most people in Japan just don’t care. Well, at the very least they won’t say anything!
And that’s your lot for now. I have some more photos of the park I’d love to share, but I’m going to save those for another time when I get round to going to Nagoya castle and do a proper write up on that. However, I won’t be completely stingy so here are another few photos to keep you going until then!