Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tokyo Marathon

Today we visited Asakusa to cheer for the Tokyo Marathon runners. It was a great event to watch, with besides all the runners, lots of entertainment. It was of course very crowded in Asakusa, as many people headed to the course, and were all enthusiastic cheering for the runners. Both the crowd and the runners were entertained by various performances (dances, songs, etc.) and mascots.


For many (really, really many) runners just completing the 42,195 km was not enough of a challenge and they decided the make it more challenging and complete the course dressed up wearing strange hats, or even whole outfits! This was very funny to watch, and they gained lots of attention from the spectators. Please enjoy their creativity:

(Wait until the end :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ueno Zoo

On a clear, sunny Sunday we headed to Ueno Park to visit Ueno Zoo. The zoo was actually not far from our house, so we could easily reach it by bike. (we love our bikes, so convenient!) We had a great time in the zoo, and want to give you an impression of our visit and show some of the photo's and video's we made.

The biggest attraction in the zoo are the two giant panda's Lili and Shinshin. From 2008 the zoo was without panda's (after the death of panda Ling Ling), and only since last year Lili and Shinshin are living in the zoo. Their popularity amongst the visitors is shown by the big queue that has formed in order to see see the panda habitat, and the amount of panda-themed souvenirs. During our visit the two panda's were actually just sleeping, and therefore unfortunately not very good to see.

The zoo has been renovating some of the habitats in the last years, which look great and are good living habitats for the animals. We had sometimes read that the zoo was old, with lots of small cages, but because of the renovations there are now nice, spacious habitats. Further the zoo has an exceptional large collection and great display of reptiles, birds and nocturnal animals.

We hope you enjoy watching our pictures and video's!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kan-geiko (mid-winter training)

Hello from Tokyo!

Temperatures in Holland are dropping to all time records and there are even rumors about an 'Elfstedentocht'. Though temperatures are not so low here in Tokyo, we had our fair share of cold during our winter Aikido challenge. Hombu dojo held the Kan-geiko (mid-winter training): a course where participants have to train for ten consecutive days in order to complete it. Meanwhile the dojo windows are open and the heating is off, so if you don't work hard you'll only get colder. It was a very challenging thing to do because you can't miss a single day and with outside temperatures around zero degrees its very tempting to just stay home or find some other excuse to keep warm.

In the end we made it. For completion of the mid-winter training we got our reward: our names displayed on the list in the dojo, a perfect attendance certificate, and a Japanese commemoration towel.

Oh, and by the way: this was the coldest winter training in 26 years, so we got our own temperature record as well :).