Tag Archives: walking

Pokemon WENT

My wife and I went for a long walk last night and today, and we collected Pokemon. Unfortunately, servers were unstable today, so we had some downtime. However, I was able to catch some good ones. I got a lot of Pidgeys, Ratattas, and Weedles, but I was able to do some evolving and powering up. I had several eggs hatch and I caught some decent strength Pokemon. I also made it to level 9. Here is my full collection. Keep in mind that I caught far more than these, but I sent a lot to the Professor so I could get candy to upgrade some Pokemon. And we probably walked well over 10 km.

And that is my collection. I still haven’t seen a Pikachu, though. I want to evolve both of my Eevees.

Do you have any good Pokemon? And are you an adult? Let me know in the comments below.

You People Walk Funny

I’m sitting at Starbucks waiting for my wife, and I have a table outside facing a busy street in downtown Yokohama. Lots of foot traffic. I’m watching how people walk. It’s useful for writing, describing how people move. I’m sure a lot of writers people-watch like this.

I see people moving smoothly, barely bobbing up and down, people barely swinging their arms, people hunched forward even though they’re still young, and so on. But there’s one thing I don’t see, people rocking from side to side while they walk. A lot of Americans and Canadians walk that way. Is that from attitude, or is it the result of height and weight? I see people of similar body types in Japan, but they don’t walk like that.

My fellow North Americans, you walk funny. But I’ll tell you one thing, people say I walk funny, too. I think it’s just that I’m not used to seeing North Americans walk. Your perceptions change when you’re away from a culture for so long.

Another Walk – Unexpected Festivities

On Tuesday, we went for another walk. It was the last day of our holidays, and we made it a pretty interesting walk. We walked in an area we’ve never been to before, and had a very good time with some festival food.

Here, we walked down a street we’ve never been to before. As someone who likes exploring, this was all very interesting to me.

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We left the hilly area and entered the Sagami plain area of Kanagawa. It’s pretty flat.

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Welcome to Samukawa! I’d been there before, but not around Samukawa Station. Only Miyayama Station.

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The road approaching Samukawa Shrine. I was there once before, and it was somewhat busy. However, it’s still the New Year period. What would we see?

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Surprise! Ume blossoms! That’s three weeks early. It’s been a warm winter so far.

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Samukawa Shrine! That’s a very big torii, or shrine gate. The traffic was incredible here.

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Here’s the bridge and gate entering the shrine grounds. The bridge was actually quite steeply arched.

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On the ground is part of the original torii. On the left is a lantern.

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It’s busy. Much busier than I’d seen before.

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Lots of food stalls here. Looks like we found where we’re getting lunch.

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Amazing! This is the inner gate into the shrine. And it’s so crowded.

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A closeup of the gate. Very colourful.

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You can see the shrine through the gate. And that’s a big paper lantern.

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The main hall of the shrine. There’s a lot of gold there, actually. In the shrine grounds, there were probably several hundred people.

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Another shrine building. You could buy many things there.

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People tying omikuji (fortunes) to ropes.

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Time for lunch! With it being like a festival, and so many food stalls, I had some very typical festival food. This was my frank.

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And jagabata, or potatoes with butter. Delicious!

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After eating, we starting going home. Here is the same river we saw the day before, the Megujiri River. Very rural in this area.

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Some old farm buildings with the Tanzawa Mountains in the background.

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It was quite the walk. It was actually my third longest walk ever at 18.97 km. I had blisters on the bottom of both big toes. It was getting difficult to walk at the end.

Walks like this are great. We encountered something unexpected, a festival-like atmosphere at a famous shrine. With less than three months to go in Japan, I think we may take a few more of these walks and discover some new things or visit familiar places.

Have you ever gone for a walk or drive and found something unexpected?

A Journey on Foot – Exploring

I love fantasy novels. One of the things I love about them is the discovery and exploration of a new world. You get to see exotic locations, unique cultures, and amazing landscapes. But I don’t live in a fantasy world. I’m in the real world. But that doesn’t mean I can’t explore.

On Monday, we went for a long walk. A 17.37 km walk, to be exact. We walked from our home, all the way to the western edge of the city of Fujisawa, and back. We saw some new things, tried a new restaurant, and went over familiar territory, as well.

First, we found a new park. It was actually along a route we’ve walked before. It just opened.

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There’s a small hill on the northern end of the park. This is the view. Kind of underwhelming, though. And it is winter, so the lack of greenery is to be expected.

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We saw several Shinkansen, or bullet trains pass overhead near the western edge of our walk. This one was heading toward Shin-Yokohama. That’s the front.

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The middle.

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And the end.

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The above three pictures were taken from a new bridge called Yoda Oohashi (or Yoda Big Bridge). It went over the Megujiri River, which you can see below.

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We got off the bridge, and you can see it below.

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We crossed back over the river, but another bridge. Below, you can see the new bridge.

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It was around noon, and we were hungry. We found an Indian restaurant, and decided to try it. Below, these are some deep fried onions with some curry flavour. They were delicious.

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Our meal came! The naan was huge. I chose the beef curry, and it also came with keema curry. It was a big lunch, and we had to burn that off.

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Here’s the outside of the restaurant. It’s actually a chain, so if you find Kabab House in Kanagawa, give it a try.

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On our way back, we took a familiar route that went through Keio University. Before the university, though, we saw some cows. Moo.

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Looking back, we tried to see the mountains. The tallest peak is Mt. Oyama, which we climbed back in October. However, it was quite hazy due to the warm weather. Mt. Fuji was not easy to see that day.

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And a look forward to where we were going. A lot of our walk was in a rural area. Quite nice to walk in the countryside.

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We made it home, tired, but feeling good. But this was only one day of walking. We also walked yesterday. That’s for another post.

Do you like exploring areas near your home? Let me know in the comments below.

Unexpected Hobbies

Over the years, I’ve gained new hobbies while old ones faded away. Some have stuck with me for a very long time. I still love playing computer games, watching cartoons, and although I haven’t done it in a long time, I’m still interested in model airplanes and cars. But there are some hobbies I never thought I’d get into.

About six years ago, when I started getting serious about photography, I also developed a liking for long distance walking. The longest I’ve walked is thirty-five kilometres in one day, and I usually walk around fifteen these days. I was never interested in that kind of exercise before, but I find I can relax mentally when I do it.

The next two I haven’t started, but I can see myself doing in the near future. Ten years ago, I’d have thought is never do them. The first is wine tasting. I’ve developed an interest in tasting wine, but I don’t think it’ll be serious. When I was younger, I didn’t like wine for some reason. Probably just drank the wrong wine.

The other is gardening. This kind of runs in my family, so maybe it was inevitable. I’d like to grow some vegetables and flowers, but is like to make and take care of a Japanese style garden. They would be quite the task, but I think I’d start small just to make sure I enjoy it.

Are there any hobbies you started that you would never have thought you’d do when you were younger?

Let’s Talk About Sports

Reading and writing seem like such inactive activities. Just sitting and reading or writing. But do any of you like to do sports?

These days, I enjoy hiking and walking long distance. I’ve walked 35 km in one day once, and many times between 10 and 15 km. That’s actually pretty normal for me now.

In the past, I’ve done a variety of sports. From 8 to 12 years old, I played hockey. My first year was as defence, while the other three years were at right wing. Around the end of elementary school, I started playing golf and skiing, as well. In grade nine, I joined the ski club at junior high school. I played a bit of volleyball, as well. But going into high school, I continued golfing, then mostly went on a break from pretty much any sport in university and after.

As for watching, I still enjoy watching hockey. I’m excited about Edmonton’s new arena downtown, and I’m looking forward to seeing the Edmonton Oilers play there starting next year. I also like watching the Olympics when I can. But while living in Japan, I developed a liking for sumo. I haven’t watched recently, but I followed many of the rikishi.

So how about you? Do you do or watch any sports?

Exercise’s Effects on the Mind

For the past five years, I’ve been a walker.  Not the zombie type, but someone who likes to go out for walks.  When I walk, I feel my mind is clear and I can think, especially if I’m somewhere more natural and away from people.

I started off exploring neighbourhoods, and I noticed I was becoming much more aware of my surroundings.  I was more alert to what was going on around me.  I then started challenging myself to long distance walks.  I regularly walk more than 10 km these days, but four years ago, I walked 35 km in one day.  It was incredible.  It was an eye-opening experience, and gave me a sense of adventure.  I saw places I’d have never seen if I didn’t walk.  But walking alone and walking with someone are completely different.  Walking with my wife, we tend to talk a lot more.  Walking by myself, I can get lost in my thoughts and I can clear away any stress I have.

Walking does something to my energy levels.  I have a lot more endurance and can walk for longer periods of time, but I’m still quite tired when I’m finished.  I want to sleep.  I don’t have any energy for anything else.  Running would do the same.  High energy cardiovascular exercises would drain me.

Last week, I started something a bit different.  I’m now doing strength exercises, the very simple push-ups and sit-ups.  I’m amazed at how much of the body is worked on during push-ups. To keep the body straight, the muscles in the back, stomach, hips, and legs are all given a workout.  I also noticed on day one that my arms felt dead.  It had been years since I’d done a push-up, and I realised how out of shape I am.  My arms felt weak for two days after the first session of push-ups.  But on the second session, which was two days after the first, it was easier.  And my arms didn’t feel rubbery.  I had my third session today, and while it was more strenuous, I feel fine now.

So, what does this do to my energy levels?  I’ve found that on the days I’ve done push-ups, I have more energy.  I feel more awake during the day.  I feel better.  Who knew doing a few minutes of push-ups would give you more energy, more alertness, and a much better feeling.

This is great for keeping my mind more alert, and this can only mean it’ll help me with my writing.  That’s right, exercise helps with writing, or at least the thought process.  I’m going to try to keep at it.

For another writer’s perspective, check out Shannon A. Thompson’s post here.

For those of you who write, do you find that exercise helps you?

Are Walking and Writing Similar?

I like writing.  I also like walking.  Today, I walked 17.68 km in just under four hours while taking pictures.  It’s a slower pace than I’m used to, but I did have my two year old daughter with me.  I’ve done 21 and 35 km walks before, too.

But are they similar?  Well, they both have a beginning, middle, and end.  Let’s take a look.

The Beginning

With walking, I feel a lot of anticipation, thinking, “Oh boy! This is going to be fun! Let’s enjoy exploring!”  I feel good.  I have no trouble starting out, I know where I’m going.  With writing, the anticipation is there, but there is a difference.  It’s damned difficult to actually get started.  Nope, the beginning is not the same.

The Middle

While walking, I feel like I’m in the zone.  I have adrenaline going through my body, and while I’m feeling my body working, I feel great.  In fact, I felt like I could go for a very long time.  With writing, I’m thinking, “Why is it so hard to do this?”  Nope, not the same at all.

The End

While walking, I feel like I really want to get to my destination.  I’m tired.  I’m sore.  I just want to sit down and have a nice, cool drink and relax.  With writing, I’m thinking the exact same thing.  And the relief when I finish is the same.  I did it.  I accomplished something.

Well, at least the ending is the same.

If walking really was the same as writing, it would be like this:  Okay, how do I start?  Should I move my right foot or left foot forward?  Do I take big steps or small steps?  Do I skip?  Do I prance?  Should I roll the entire way?  Should I shuffle?  How about cartwheels?  Once I’ve decided, and I get to the middle, I’m lost. Where do I go from here?  Did I end up at the bottom of a river?  Is this New York, when I’m supposed to be in Santiago, Chile?  That’s really lost.  Maybe I should start over.  That would require me to walk back the way I came and start walking again.  I don’t want to!  I’ll just try to keep going.  And when I finally do get to the end, I decide to never do that again.  That is until the next day when I’m all ready to do it again.

Even though it’s more physically strenuous to walk long distance, it’s still easier than writing.