How was your summer vacation, Scott? Let me think… did I have one? Ah, I remember - I’m going on a short one from tomorrow with my “the wife.” Up ’till now? Most of my days this summer have been spent studying John Rutter’s choral works for an article I just finished (and that will be published this fall). I had a playlist of over 100 tracks of this man’s music to listen to, as well as research to do for the article. I do like many of Rutter’s compositions, but he isn’t the first composer I’d choose to spend my summer listening to if given a choice. The offer of publication was welcome, though, so I girded my loins, opened my ears, and got stuck in (as my British friends would say).
To retain my sanity and a hint of muscle tone, I tried to get out cycling every morning before beginning the day’s work. Many days I managed to do it – every day this week, in fact. My proudest moment? Getting up at 3:30 am for a 75km ride before sitting down to the day’s listening. My, the sunrise! My, the heat later! Here are some of the things you might have seen, had you also been writing an article and indulging in some early morning rides.
1. Pink elephants. I’ve seen this one for years (at Akigase Park), but finally got around to taking a formal photo with him this morning.
2. Wind. Well, one doesn’t really SEE wind, does one? But, one DOES feel it when cycling. I went out the day after a large typhoon, and battled its winds all the way down the Arakawa cycling path to Tokyo Bay. Coming back up the river was fun, I admit. 30 kph without really using a muscle… Can you see the wind in this photo?
3. Boats. I have ridden past it for years, but finally decided to check out the university boat team facilities at Toda. What a busy place at 6 am! Many universities (including mine) have boat houses here, and practice and race at this manmade waterway. It is a colorful and lively place to visit in the morning.
4. Bridges. Naturally, any river in an urban setting is crisscrossed with bridges. The Arakawa River is no exception. I feel sorry for car drivers, who only see the topside of bridges, and then usually in a slow-moving parade of fume-belching cars and trucks. Riding under them provides a whole other perspective on urban architecture.
6. The sky. In the city I rarely notice the nature of the sky. On the river, though, vistas widen, and plenty good views are around every corner.
7. Interesting buildings. Yes, I do sometimes cut through the city. Modern buildings are fine, but the older, less well maintained are my personal favorite. And yes, I always stop for shrines and temples.
When I get home after these morning rides I always intend to get right down to work. Sleepiness does sometimes intervene, and I find myself having a catnap before starting. Refreshing!
I hope your summer vacation was a good one, too!