Already September? もう9月?

 

I am not amused

It is September.  It is also raining and cold (by Tokyo standards).  Not only this, but work has resumed. I shouldn’t be complaining, however.  August was a wonderful month, the first half spent with visiting family (see August 16 post), and the second half spent in relative freedom.  I managed to do three long rides in late-August, two of which were made with Rikkyo choir graduates.  So, before I run down to work today I’ll take a few minutes to share three good rides, their maps and some photos.

もう9月ですね。東京は大分涼しくなり、雨の日が多い季節に変わりました。仕事も既に再開しました。8月を振り替えてみると、大変よい夏休みだったので、文句は言いません。月の前半は初来日したアメリカの家族と一緒に過ごし(8月16日のブログを参考して下さい)、そして、後半は3回ほどのロングライドが出来ました。それぞれのルートマップと写真を提供します。

1. Solitary city loop.  

I did this ride on my own, leaving the house around 5 am with no goal in mind.  I wound up in Shinjuku in time to enjoy the dawn in Central Park there.  Riding alone and rather high on coffee was the cause of many a selfie.  Fortunately for readers, few will be posted.  As you can see by the map, I go lost in Shibuya, made a wrong turn near Tokyo Bay, only eventually finding the way to Odaiba.  After that it was simply a matter of riding up the Arakawa River to Kawaguchi City and then home.  A fine 92 km ride with many photo ops along the way.  Here are a few shots from the day:

 このライドは午前5時に開始し、出発した時点でこの日のルートは全く決まっていませんでした。この日1人でサイクリングしましたので、気が向いた方向へ進みました。結局、日の出は新宿中央公園で、迷子になったのは渋谷のスクランブル交差点で、ランチはお台場でした。途中で有名なビルなどの写真撮影したり、車の少ない早朝東京を楽しみました。帰りは荒川のサイクリグロード経由でした。この日は92キロをブロンプトンで走りました。

Dawn in the Shinjuku skyscraper district


My bike dwarfed by the skyscrapers


Selfie inviting windows

 

At the Kaigakan 絵画館の前で


Dwarfed again – Tokyo Tower

 

Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba

2. City Loop 2, with Kaneko Shuichiro

This ride was taken with choir graduate Kaneko Shuichiro, who recently bought a nice Dahon folding bike.  The route was his idea, so I got to see areas of Tokyo unfamiliar to me.  It was a really hot day, so sweating and drinking, sweating and drinking were repeated throughout the day.  Heat aside, blasting through famous areas like Omotesando and Ginza on little bikes can’t be beat.  We were even treated to rain and a festival – the Asakusa Samba Festival in the Asakusa area.  If you ride, you will discover.  No plans needed.  Photos:

今回、立教大学チャペル聖歌隊卒業生の金子秀一郎君と一緒にサイクリングしました。彼は新しいダホン製折りたたみ自転車を買ったので、また都内を回りました。大変暑い日でしたし、午後は雨になりましたが、相変わらず楽しみながら多くの観光スポットを通りました。小さな折りたたみ自転車で表参道や銀座を通るのは楽しいですよ!偶然でしたが、浅草のサンバ祭りも見る事が出来ました。やはりサイクリングすれば必ず面白い経験をします。

I enjoyed the heat more than KS – at NHK


One of many bridges on the Sumida River – in the rain


Car and Shinto shrine color match


Asakusa Samba Festival


At Ueno Park – I try for a serious look, but…


…Mr Kaneko forced me to laugh


I did eventually tire of the heat

 

3. A ride around the Miura Penninsula with Kawasaki Hirotaka

The last big ride of the month was taken with “Jas” (also known by his real name Kawasaki Hirotaka).  The loop around the Miura Peninsula is one of my favorites.  It has everything – sea views, seafood, hill climbs and long descents, and easy access by train from Tokyo.  I was up at 3:30 am, rode down to Ikebukuro Station at 4:30 to catch the train toward the coast.  If you are an early riser like me, this is a great way to beat the rush hour crowds.  Jas met me at Yokosuka, and we rode toward Kamakura from there.  He is a serious rider, and I should state honestly that I had to work to keep up with him! 30 years difference age shows up in many ways – most obviously in one’s average speed.  A great seafood lunch helped with energy levels, and the ride was completed by 3 pm.  We were blessed with perfect weather (if hot), while parts of Tokyo were being pummeled by torrential rains.  Lucky!

8月最後のロングライドも聖歌隊卒の1人と一緒でした。今回、河崎宏貴君と三浦半島を一周しました。家から三浦半島は遠いので、始発電車で鎌倉まで行きました。河崎君は大変真面目なサイクリストなので、30歳上の私は時々(少し?)苦労しました。しかし、城ヶ島で長い休憩、そして三崎での美味しい魚料理で回復し、午後3前鎌倉に戻りました。三浦周辺の天気は最高でしたが、東京都内に戻った時、あちこち大雨だったらしく、ビックリしました。

Bike bagged up at Ikebukuro station


My Bike Friday at Yokokusa harbor


Ready to start the ride


Lighthouse at Jogashima


The coast at Jogashima


Lunch at Misaki


Bikes bagged up on the return train

 

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Izu! 伊豆!

The ride home

Returning from a trip is never as fun as the start of the journey.  The possibilty of a new adventure is past, the body is tired, the train ride home takes longer than the ride out, and the car one is riding in is invariably graced by the presence of screaming children.  Where were they on the way out?  All journeys must end, or course.  This is a given, but even so my Izu adventure was over before I was ready for it to be. 

楽しみに待っていた旅が終わりました。不思議なことで、帰りの方行ったときよりかなり長くかかったような気持ちでした。行きの電車は静かでしたが、帰りは泣いている子供たちで落ち着きませんでした。しかし、あっという間に終わった旅でした、私の伊豆冒険。

Jim Dawson, friend and former choirmaster at Rikkyo University’s All Saints Chapel, invited me to visit him and his partner, the owner of a traditional Japanese inn called Isaribi on the Izu Penninsula.  All of the rooms have their own private hot spring-fed baths made of cypress, and all look out to the ocean.  Is it not the lap of luxury to check into an elegant tatami-floor room and head straight to your own private bathing heaven?  Why not have a look at the ryokan’s homepage?  Click on the American flag to change to English.  Lots of photos.  Website is HERE

ジム・ドーソンさん(友人、元立教大学チャペル聖歌隊長)と彼のパートナーの村上さんの招待が旅のきっかけでした。村上さんは伊豆大川にあるいさり火旅館の社長です。全室にお風呂が部屋に入っています(写真)。廊下に飾ってある油絵、ロビーの美しい家具、そして、エレガントな和室は何より印象的でした。もちろん、チェックインしてからすぐにお風呂に入りました。海を見ながらの温泉は最高です!部屋にお風呂があるのは最高です!いさり火旅館は最高です!旅館のウェブサイト:http://www.isaribi.co.jp/index.html 

Isabiri room bath

One bathes upon arrival (with a beer in hand, if possible), before bed, upon waking, and, if possible, once again before checking out.  I managed three out of four, and scored No. 4 later after checking out.  Breakfast at Isaribi is an elegant affair served in the room.  No toast and jam here, but plenty of fresh seafood (lobster soup, sashimi, grilled fish, etc) and vegetables.  I would surely live to be 342 years old if I ate the meal below daily.

翌朝の食事はもちろんデラックスでした。以下の通り:

Jim took me on a walk around the area after breakfast.  We wound up on the coast, where there is a small bathing shack (a rotenburo, or outdoor bath) fronting on the ocean.  A wizened woman takes 500 yen per bather and 100 yen per towel at the entrace (see the photo I took with her after the bath).  One strips naked, leaving clothing on simple shelves, and then hops into the steaming hot stone tub while the hot sun bears down on all exposed skin.  Cooling off requires standing naked while facing the ocean as a meagre breezes tries to dry running sweat.  Post-bath lolling about on the hot stone breakwater increased the sweat flow to the point that a downpour wouldn’t have gotten me any wetter than I was.  It was wonderful!  

朝食後、ジムさんと一緒に旅館周辺を散歩しました。最後に海岸に向かって、国道下の不思議なトンネルを通ったところで下の露天風呂が目の前に現れました。実は、いさり火のお湯を使っていますので、部屋の湯と同じだそうです。それもあり、入ってみたかったので、500円の入浴料と100円のタオル代を払って入りました。特にファンシーな雰囲気ではなかったですが、海の目の前の露天風呂はやはり気持ちいいです。暑い日に暑いお風呂に入ること、そして裸同士で会話を楽しむのは日本ならではの経験です。ジムさんに感謝です!ちなみに、下の写真の女性の方は露天風呂の受付担当の方です。ガールフレンドではありません。

Hot men (literally!)

 A visit to the elgant local Shinto Shrine completed the morning’s activities.  Izu Okawa’s Shinto Shrine had some very skilled detail work (see photos). 

最後に見たところは伊豆大川の神社でした。立派な彫刻で飾られている静かなスポットです。

I am an adult, or so they tell me.  Yet going home after this short adventure felt like leaving grandma’s house for home when I was a kid.  Home is best, of course, but new discoveries, drinking with friends, and travel are all things to be treasured.  I am grateful to Jim and Yo for this experience.  Thanks, guys!

私は大人であるつもりです。しかし、この旅が終わった頃、子供時代、大好きなおばあちゃんの家から帰らなければならない気持ちと同じでした。しかし、もう少し長くいたい!と言わずに、帰りました。ジムさん、村上さん、本当ににありがとうございました!

By the way, to get to Izu Okawa I rode express trains called Izu Odoriko, or Izu Dancing Girl.  I thought it an odd name for a train, but only found out after returning home that the name is taken from a short story by Yasunari Kawabata.  I bought an English translation and the original Japanese and read the story immediately.  The story is set in the Izu area, and gives an idea of what life must have been like a century ago.  Highly recommended!  

最後に、伊豆の踊り子と言う特急電車に乗って旅立ちました。不思議な名前な、と感じましたが、家に戻ってからその名前の由来を知りました。川端康成の小説からですね。早速英語訳とオリジナルの本を購入し、読みました。大変ノスタルジックなストーリーです。伊豆半島が場面なので、さらに伊豆に戻りたい気持ちが湧いてきました。

 

 

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This Summer! この夏!

Today marks the 16th consecutive day of rain in Tokyo.  Yesterday’s TV news told us that this is the first time in 40 years that we have been so blessed.  It is better than a water shortage, I guess.  But when it comes to outdoor sports this August has been somewhat challenging.  I have been lucky, managing to walk and cycle between the downpours.  And this year I had an excellent companion for four rides this month.  My brother Russ, sister-in-law Kim and neice Lindsey visited for the first two weeks in August.  It was a previously unexerienced luxury to have them with us (it was their first-ever trip to Japan).  Morning coffee with whoever was up early, fun rides with my brother, day trips around Tokyo, and our daily 5:00 pm wine time (in honor of my father) were all great fun.  I don’t usually post much family news on this blog, but the first visit by my brother and family since we moved to Japan in 1989 certainly rates a post on “The View.”  I think we were able to give them a memorable experience – there were 4 earthquakes, 1 typhoon, rain storms, heat and humidty, and voracious mosquitos to enjoy.  

テレビニュースによると、東京は40年ぶりに16日間連続の雨に恵まれています。水不足より良い状態でしょうが、関東地方の皆さんは困っていると思います。私は雨と雨の間サイクリングと散歩をしていますので、文句は言えません。しかも、弟家族が初来日してくれたので、たくさんの楽しみにがありました。弟のラスもサイクリストですので、2週間の間4回ほど一緒にサイクリングが出来ました。金沢へ出かけた三日間以外、弟、奥さん、そして姪が自宅で一緒に暮らしました。本当に幸せな2週間でした。彼らにとって、日本の全てが新鮮だったようです。忘れられない経験は4回の地震、台風、大雨、蒸し暑い気候、そして、どこにでもいる蚊ではないかと想像します。

It is always fun to show a first-time Japan visitor around, because lets me ‘re-see’ Japan through their eyes.  Though they were here for two weeks, we didn’t do many of the famous sights in Tokyo.  There were many alternatives to those crowded scenes.  Some highlights were eating dinner on our roof while watching fireworks, attending a Bon Odori dance in my neighborhood, visiting Hikawa Jinja (a large Shinto shrine) in Omiya with craft beer in the evening.  Our only trip out of the Tokyo area was to Kanazawa, a 2+ hour shinkensen train ride.  It is a town with a castle, famous Japanese garden, neighborhoods with traditional buildings, etc, and was a great way to sample several aspects of Japanese culture in a small area. 

初来日の人を案内するのは楽しいことで、彼らの目を通して、日本をフレッシュな観点から見ることが出来ます。東京都内の有名な観光スポットはほとんど避けました。逆に、近所の盆踊り、自宅の屋上から花火大会を見る、大宮の氷川神社、などのような混まないスポットをターゲットしました。唯一の旅は2泊3日の金沢旅行でした。新幹線に乗りたいから、そして、伝統的なお城、日本庭園、茶屋街などのある街でしたので、もっとも適した行き先だったと思います。

Here are a few of photos from the visit, as well as 2 route maps from a couple of 100 km rides Russ and I managed to fit in.  Russ-Kim-Lindsey: if you are reading this, you must return before too many years go by! 

写真は以下の通りです。

PHOTOS

Meiji Shrine, Tokyo


Hikawa Shrine, Omiya


Shaved ice to cool off at Hikawa Shrine


Reading the messages, Hikawa Shrine


Rare blue sky at Kanazawa Castle


Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa


Guides being guided at Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa


An attractive couple in the Chayagai area, Kanazawa


Museum of modern art, Kanazawa


Russ sits only where it is appropriate


Imperial Palace East Gardens, Tokyo

And now for the rides!  (Isn’t this the part you were waiting for?)

Russ and I were able to get in four good rides over the two weeks of the visit.  Two times were 100 km routes; one around the city, over to Disneyland, up the Edo River, and back home.  The other was out to Kawagoe City via the Arakawa and Irumagawa river dike system.  Both were great fun.  Warning: if you ride with Russ be prepared to pump those pedals.  

100 km ride around Tokyo


We rode around Disneyland


Russ at the Imperial Palace


Kawagoe ride map


Break time at Kawagoe

 

 

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Poor blog! かわいそうなブログ!

Oh, poor blog, you have been badly neglected of late.  The ease of posting on Instagram, Facebook and Flickr has led the editor of “The View” down the garden path to the land of time frittered and blog neglected.

In all seriousness, a blog can be a difficult thing to keep going.  I have been posting off and on here for over ten years now.  At times I had a message I seriously wanted to get out, while at other times I simply wanted to share something beautiful, humorous, or interesting I saw through my camera.  Some days I turned evangelist for cycling.  But there is a problem with a long-running blog.  What one can honestly write about is quite limited.  I should rephrase that – what I can write about is quite restricted, for reasons of social position, employment status, etc.

I could change the purpose of “The View,” I suppose.  A political blog?  There is certainly enough going on in the world about which I have an opinion.  But that’s just it – who wants to read another opinion?  Everyone and their dog spouts off on Facebook in an ever-narrowing echo chamber of similar opinion.  I suppose “The View” will continue as is; an unpredictable mix of posts on music, cycling, Japan, photography, etc.  Perhaps I’ll even give a subtle hint of a real opinion on political matters now and then.

Regular readers are probably wondering “what got into him today?”  Maybe its the weather?  After sweltering for weeks we are finally enjoying a dark, somewhat cool, rainy day in Tokyo.  That change in the view from my window seems to have changed “The View,” even if for only a short time.

TOPICS MUSICAL

End of the semester!  Educators love this season, when students  (my apologies, all) struggle with tests and reports, and we slide slowly toward the summer vacation.  Before truly escaping campus, though, all the music for the Rikkyo Chapel Choir’s fall season had to be chosen.  Interested?  Here is some of the rep you will hear if you come to a concert or service in the campus chapel (see the list below).  Here are a couple of things rep list that you might find interesting. (unfortunately, we won’t have the composer Gjeilo improvising with us, but we do have his own written-out piano part for “Ubi caritas,” which is quite lovely.

Mixed Choir

  • Tallis: O nata lux
  • Mudd: Let thy merciful ears
  • Attwood: Teach me o lord
  • Elgar: They are at rest
  • Stanford: Magnificat & Nunc dimittis in G
  • Gjeilo: Ubi caritas
  • Dove: Seek him that maketh the seven stars
  • Anglea: Jubilate Deo
  • Morgan: Ai ga subete

Women’s Choir

  • Sumsion: There is a green hill
  • McDowall: Missa Mariae: Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus dei
  • Casals: Nigra sum
  • Howells: Magnificat & Nunc dimittis in D

UPCOMING POSTS

1. A report on the Rikkyo Chapel Choir’s first-ever CD release.  It’s available now, and I’ll give information on how to get a copy, and perhaps put a track on the blog for listening.

2. Cycling reports!  Many to share!  Get your chain greased up and brakes tightened!

3. Photography.  As always, very few days go by without me taking pictures of something or another and sharing them on SNS.  Sorry blog!  Many photos coming.

Posted in Choral ~ 聖歌隊関係, Church music ~ 教会音楽 | 2 Comments

Empty Tokyo 〜 誰もいない東京

I went for a walk at 5 am this morning.  It was a typically dreary day in the rainy season.  Strangely enough, not a single one of the 13.5 million people living in the 23 wards of the city were to be seen.  All asleep?  Abducted by aliens?  Did everyone decide to take a vacation this morning?  Proof of the empty city is to be found in the photos below.

今朝、5時頃散歩に出かけました。典型的な梅雨の朝でしたが、不思議なことがありました。東京23区の人口は3000万人以上と言われますが、一人も見かけませんでした。全員が旅に出かけた?寝ている?信じ難いでしょうが、以下の写真をご覧ください。誰もいない東京は不思議ですね。

Empty street near home

Empty restaurant

Empty Ekoda Ginza

Empty train tracks

Empty alley 1

Empty alley 2

Empty Ekoda entertainment district

Empty university

Empty park

Empty shrine

Oddly enough, when I went back out at 9:30 am, all 13.5 million people had returned to the streets.  It was an odd day in Tokyo, that is for certain.

 

Posted in Photography ~写真, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment