10K with Tod

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This was not a 10K run, but a day-long walk around town last weekend. It was probably even 11 km or a little more, but who is really counting?

We left the house to get lunch at a nice shop that sells hand-made soba. I was feeling a cold coming on, so I had the kake-soba - simple buckwheat noodles in a hot broth. It was just what I needed.

Then we walked through Hongo 4-chome, up a street we hadn't visited before, towards the zoo. Hongo has been part of Tokyo for a very long time and there are all sorts of historical markers and old walls and buildings to enjoy. The street we walked was part business, part residential in that lovely mix that older parts of Tokyo often have.

We wandered along the antiques market at Shinobazu Pond at Ueno. There are always lots of weird and tempting things there. Old coins, carvings, trinkets and toys of many kinds. I am not sure that we have ever bought anything, but it is great fun to browse.

At the zoo, Tod bought an annual pass, so now he can go visit the elephants any time he likes. We got to watch the elephants lying down to be brushed clean by their keepers before walking trunk-to-tail into their house for the evening. We love the elephants.

When the zoo closed at 5, we headed off, but we weren't sure exactly where we wanted to go. So we meandered the back streets until we saw a jazz bar called La Cuji. We stopped for a Guinness (only to help the cold, honestly) and ended up staying for more than an hour, enjoying some of the owner's 2500 jazz records and talking to Crazy Terry, a jazz lover sitting next to us at the bar. I asked the owner if he had Errol Garner's Concert by the Sea, one of my Dad's favorites. I hated it as a kid and hadn't heard it in a long time. I like it better as an adult, but I understood why I didn't like it when I was young. Anyway, I sat there thinking about Dad and the music until I cried.

After La Cuji, we traipsed tipsily toward dinner, but found ourselves outside Asahi no Yu, a beautiful old public sento. So we had a bath - an extremely hot bath - to ward off the incipient illness we both dreaded. My lungs were happily warmed and Tod chatted with the attendant on duty who told us all about the ghost stories associated with the bath. Spooky Halloween stuff.

We arrived at our dinner destination just in time for the dance show. Zakuro is a Persian restaurant with no tables or chairs, just carpets everywhere and some boards on the floor. The Uzbekistani dance performance was highly entertaining, with everyone dragged in by the maitre'd to dance in the middle of the room. After the dancing, we were brought a stunning array of vegetarian dishes. It was more than we could eat, though we did our best. I had forgotten the delights of Zakuro; we will have to go back soon.

Eventually we rolled ourselves away from the feast and walked the final leg of the day, passing by two of our old houses and many happy memories of places we used to live. It was a very good 10K (plus a bit), but we did end up spending the next two days sick and sleeping. The soba, Guinness, and bathing didn't do the trick.

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I'm going to have to map my days some more ... red for trains, white for walking, blue for daydreams. :-)

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