Mid –October and a weekend outdoors .On Saturday we took part in our first walk organised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. with choices of distance ranging from 8km through to 45km. We played safe and signed up for the B course at 15km. Held out in the suburbs along the Tamagawa river, we had an early-ish start (for a Saturday) for the 30 minute train ride to Shimomaruko station from where a10 minute warm –up took us to the start and registration to face card stamping, form filling and collecting bags filled with copious amounts of advertising material.
The first half of the walk was through the town and on to Denenchofu. Despite the fact that it was a quiet morning traffic wise and there were very few cars on the side roads the Japanese walkers obeyed every pedestrian light without fail. They preferred to bunch up at a car-free crossing waiting patiently for the lights to change rather than nipping across an empty road to avoid breaking their stride.
With few public toilets along the way we had to have an extended break in a very crowded convenience store to use the conveniences, and I bought an appropriately named Slow-bar to boost my energy while queuing.
The Japanese also conform when it comes to dressing for an event as well; it is now autumn and therefore your wear autumn clothes. On a mild day with a light breeze and just a hint of early morning drizzle, I must have been the only participant among a few thousand on the day who wore shorts and was comfortable doing so. No wonder we foreigners are often known as ‘crazy gaijin’! Seen here in the commemorative photo ‘Tokyo Walk 2015’
This morning was a much more sedate event with the Japan Bird Society’s monthly outing to the grounds of Meiji Shrine. About one hundred binocular and telescope bearing twitchers turned up to wander through the forests and lawns trying to spot something eye-catching or just unusual. For the former we were blessed with a couple of sightings of a kingfisher. A grey-streaked or spotted breasted, depending on which book you consult, flycatcher created great excitement as they’re usually only found in Hokkaido. I was told that this one was probably migrating south to escape the colder weather which has already arrived in the northern island. And, yes, I was still wearing shorts, but not seen here.