Archive for the 'Japan' Category

Posts relating to Japan and things Japanese

Meeting Ram and Krish Kulkarni in Tokyo

I made a weekend trip to Tokyo to visit two old friends also visiting Tokyo, brothers Ram and Krish Kulkarni. ("Ram", short for "Ramchandera", rhymes with "prom")

Ram has been my best friend for 30 years, since grad school at the University of New Hampshire. When I then moved to Japan, his twin brother Krish, who was at the time a graduate student at the University of Tokyo, picked me up at the airport.

When I got married almost 20 years ago, Ram was living near Mt. Fuji and came down to Kyoto to be my best man. Fumie and [...]

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My Most Brutal Ride: Round Trip to Mt. Rokko

On Wednesday I did what must have been the roughest ride of my short cycling life, a ride that left me absolutely exhausted to the bone before I was even a third done with it. In the end I rode the entire big loop I'd planned, 175km (110mi) to Kobe City's Mt. Rokko and back, but it took 12 hours and a lot more willpower than I thought I had.

It was almost a spur of the moment, and I didn't think it'd be all that difficult for me, and I left the house in good spirits.

The first climb [...]

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First Bigish Group Ride in a Long While

I joined a big group ride for the first time in a long while last week, Andy's "LSD" (long slow distance) ride. I was happy to finally meet Kevin from Kobe and Geoffrey from Otsu, whom I'd conversed with online but had never met in person.

For me the ride (view at Strava) was 116km (72mi) at mostly an easy pace, though the times I tried to keep up with the others quickly took their toll on me. I've been doing long rides lately, but not much fast and not much climbing, so I'm out of shape.

As much riding [...]

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Watching My First Cycling Road Race

I saw my first cycling road race yesterday, a small local affair. Road racing is quite a bit different than the only other kind of bicycle racing I've seen, cyclocross, so it was a great experience.

The races yesterday were 「第5回守山野洲川クリテリウム」, the fifth Moriyama City Yasugawa River Criterium, with short races all day over a loop on closed-off public roads.

It was a 32km (20mi) ride to get there, so I left with some friends from Kyoto early, to arrive in time to watch some other friends race.

I brought my Nikon D4 and big Nikkor 70-200/2.8, schlepped in a [...]

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Behind Suntory’s Yamazaki Whisky Distillery

As I posted the other day, I made a visit to Suntory's Whisky Distillery in the Yamazaki area just south of Kyoto. Eric and I arrived early for the tour, so we wandered a bit.

A public road bisects the distillery campus, and while the road then turns 90° to wrap up behind and beyond the campus, the logical straight-ahead continuation brings you to Shiio Shrine, apparently on Suntory property.

The public road heads off to the right, pitching up sharply (~15% grade). It looked inviting to cycle, so I came back later by bicycle to poke around. I also [...]

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