Tag: japan

Bouncing in All the Wrong Places

Despite the presence of kangaroos and their proclivity for jumping, there’s a bit too much shaking and bouncing going on in and around Tokyo, with dozens of earthquakes shaking their nearby Izu peninsula over the past week or so.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake that crushed large parts of Tokyo and Yokohama, killing over 100,000.

And that quake was preceded by quakes in the same area that they’re happening now.

Tokyo is overdue a natural disaster with earthquakes and volcanoes frequently smashing the metropolis every few decades in its roughly 4 1/4-century existence. (There have been a few man-made disasters that ravaged the city, too.)

Anyway, my approach will be to have the emergency bag ready, and to stop sleeping naked.

At least the garden will be looking nice if the Big One does hit.

Tower of Strength on an Icy Morning

Today started with a pre-dawn trip to Tokyo Tower.

A quick get-together with some mates over coffee and chockies followed.

And then it was a ride back home.

Now it’s on to familial duties.

It was cold and dark heading into town.

Just about every traffic light seemed determined to earn its keep by making Kangaeroo stop.

Still, Kangaeroo got to ride in with a reasonably quick time.

The get-together was over pretty quickly. It was nice to see some old faces for the first time in a while. It also reaffirmed how much the pandemic has changed things.

Yet another running race had taken over the Tama River cycling road again, which made riding home a little more onerous than a regular day when the track is largely deserted.

The family shindig will also involve a fair bit of riding, both to and fro, with the latter almost certain to take place in the dark. Will need to be careful coming home.

Morning wasn’t a bad start: Nearly 70 km ride

Kicking Off 2023 With Central Tokyo Loop And Super Sunshine

First sign of light on the horizon for 2023

If nothing else, 2023 sure started far better than the awful year of 2022 did, and eventually led to a wonderful ride focused on a central Tokyo loop.

Just as had happened 12 months ago, Kangaeroo headed off on the first day of the year before the dawn.

Unlike 2022, when sleet and snow had been the order of the day, 2023 was bright and clear, a much more attractive prospect even if it was still equally as cold and dark as it had been the previous annum.

The objective for the day was to take part in the Half-Fast Cycling club’s Yamanote Line Loop, a traditional New Year’s Day ride and one of many leisurely urban rides the club regularly holds.

Heading out just after 6 a.m., it seemed there would be ample time to make the 35 km trip to the start of the ride from JR Shinagawa Station at 7:30 a.m.

Getting through the first few clicks at a pace topping 35 km p/h augured well.

But the good weather proved a bane more than a boon in this instance.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people had braved the pre-dawn cold and dark to head down to the river to watch the year’s first sunrise. It was somewhat moving, and an experience Kangaeroo would have enjoyed taking in more had it not been for the fact that it was threatening to make him late: too tardy to take part in a ride for which he didn’t know or have the route.

After more unexpected hassles, notably construction work that rendered tarmac into a gravel road threatening tires, Kangaeroo was back on track. Fortunately, another HFC member was on the way, too, and kindly guided your writer to the meeting point, arriving just seconds before the latest scheduled departure time.

The ride was fantastic in glorious sunshine and on mostly deserted streets.

Unfortunately, the slow pace of the ride (it is a half-fast cycling club, after all, so there is no room for complaining) and shade from the buildings made it chilly.

Fortunately, the cold and exertions made lunch even more desirable, and quaint Cafe Petticoat Lane in the downtown Tokyo district of Nezu served up a delight. Kangaeroo was so hungry, and the food looked so delightful, he forgot to take a snapshot of the delicious cheese pizza toast dish and banana choco French toast and cuppa. Still, it was good! And the staff did an amazing job considering more than a dozen mostly foreign cyclists lobbed up on their door on the morning of new year’s day and started demanding food!

The ride (very) roughly tracked the Yamanote Line that circles central Tokyo. This year, for the second year in a row, it started and finished in Shinagawa rather than the traditional launching place of Ebisu. It’s a great way to see central Tokyo and discover how easily accessible the world’s largest city really is.

Following the ride, the Half-Faster’s hit a restaurant to quaff some well-earned brews, but there was a caged dinosaur needing some loving at the Kangaeroo Corner, so it was down to the Tama River and back up along the banks to get home and give some attention to the winged princess before she needed to get some beauty sleep to cause more pterror again!

The roughly 120-km ride at a very genteel pace was a lovely, relaxing start to the year.

The Times, They Are A Changed

Imagine this today? No way!

Japan will finally re-open its doors to unrestricted travelers in October 2022, over 2 1/2 years since imposing strict entry requirements (especially on foreigners) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the yen at its weakest against most major currencies since the early 1990s (and effectively even weaker still in real terms as the yen of the early 1990s carried far greater purchasing power than the yen of the 2020s), tourists are predicted to flock back into Japan.

Japan is one of the world’s great tourist destinations and it is Kangaeroo’s belief that the hospitality of many Japanese people show toward tourists make it this way. Japan has an extremely well-deserved reputation for being hospitable toward visitors, and that was also Kangaeroo’s experience.

People are expected to come to the Japanese wonderland to see such treats as the mix of ancient and modern traditions, the neon-lit cities, the amazing food, incredible trains, anime, manga, J-Pop and all sorts of delights.

Not a tourism ad, but an example of the exoticism and sexualization used to deal with Japan in the olden days when Boomers were still young

Things have kinda changed since Kangaeroo first came here, though. In those days, the selling point was the exoticism of Japan, especially its women, and the marketing was highly sexualized in a manner unthinkable in today’s prissy age of political correctness. Back in the day, Japan was plugged as being the homeland of topless pearl divers and geisha girls.

MSA Airlines, the forerunner of today’s Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines, tried in an October 1968 advertisement to entice tourists to the Land of the Rising Sun by saying, “Imagine yourself…in Tokyo, where extravagant floorshows are staged in lavish nightclubs and the precise rituals of a geisha part can be seen in many restaurants.” Imagine yourself nowadays if you tried to sell travel with a line like that? (Or even worse, what they said about Hong Kong, where you could be: “Wandering ‘the world of Suzie Wong’ with its brilliant neon lights beckoning you to sample the exciting nightlife.” Definitely a case of mixing up what’s Wong and what’s right.)

Shattered! Bye-Bye Belladonna

Beautiful Belladonna

Calling Belladonna the love of my life would be going a bit too far.

But only a tiny smidgen.

And she is waaaay up there.

But, the beautiful Belladonna is gone.

A cracked frame means this carbon bike is now an accident waiting to happen.

She is irreparable.

And it happened the very day after finally being given an all-clear to ride again following illness and injury that have been another plague to cope with since January.

Despondent is not the word.

But I cannot thank this beautiful bike enough for the sheer, unadulterated joys she gave me.

She has made it hard to ride another bike, though.

But, it’s a great chance to grow and learn.

My deepest thanks go out to JD for enabling Belladonna to come into my life.

Bloody Beauty! Back on the Bike!

After months of near inactivity, Kangaeroo was finally able to indulge regularly in the pursuit that brings probably the greatest pleasure in life: cycling!

So far, 2022 has been a series of calamities in terms of cycling, starting with poor weather then moving on to poor equipment, poor health and poor luck!

But things slowly slotted back into place and have finally allowed for a week on the bike that is as good as it gets now!

And some of the results were stupendous, as can be seen in the gallery.

What sheer delight!


Olindahanami オーストラリアメルボルン市にあるオリンダ豪国立シャクナゲ園内恒例イベントである「お花見」の人気があり過ぎて、地域のインフラに過剰な負担を理由に2014年版、とビクトリア公園局発表した。