Sunday, May 22, 2011

Barefoot in the Sunshine

Tokyo had a lot of nice weather recently. The sun was warm but not hot, the humidity of the rainy season hasn’t come yet. The warm weather recently indicates we are probably in for another very hot summer, one that will probably come with blackouts or power restrictions given the loss of power from the tsunami damage to the nuclear plants. But for now, it is just a nice day to be out.

I have been feeling a bit up and down recently, so I thought it might be good to get out and get a little more exercise. I went running a few times in the last week, but I am planning to enter a few races this year, including the Osaka marathon in October, so I need to get out and do more distance for that. More importantly, I know that when I run more I feel better. So I threw on my shoes and my iPod and was out the door.

Last week I bought my first CD in some time, The Sound of Sunshine, by Michael Franti and Spearhead. It is a lot lighter and more joyful than a lot of their previous stuff, and as I jogged around I listened to a mix of it and a few other Franti albums. I couldn’t have asked for better audio accompaniment for my run.

I ran at a fairly slow speed, not pushing myself, just wanting to do the 10k with some enjoyment and a lack of pain. I did so, and about two thirds of the way through the run I reached, not exactly runners high, but a stage where I feel better. Where the sun, the run, and the music had flushed out my mind and body of at least some of its depression and anxiety.

At the end I checked my watch, it had taken a little over an hour. I stretched a little, and enjoyed the moment. Then I took off my shoes and socks and walked back home. I’ve been doing a little barefoot walking recently, and it is pretty enjoyable. It reminds me of being a kid, my feet touching the ground without being imprisoned in stiff shoes, being able to feel the texture, the temperature of the ground. It is a simple pleasure, but it is really something.

You would expect that the ground is rough and dangerous, but actually it is not bad. In Tokyo, despite a near-total lack of rubbish bins there is little litter, and while the pavement and roads are not exactly made of rubber, they are perfectly fine to walk on. I haven’t been to the beach for a long time, but I think I’d like to try and get there at some stage in the near future. I’d like to feel the sand between my toes, feel the sunshine, see the waves coming in. That’s definitely on my to-do list now.


  1. I very much so enjoyed the music video you posted! It is good to hear you are feeling some relief in natural ways. Depression is so hard to see through so good for you. The song makes me want to go to the river. I am land bound in Oklahoma so lakes and rivers are the best sources of water play. Anyhow, I kook forward to hearing more from you on the races and training and also just enjoying the day presented to you.

  2. Sand in toes. That sounds nice. If it ever stops raining here that'll be on my list, too.

  3. I love Michael Franti, I saw him live a few years ago and it truly changed my life. He's amazing. Great reminder of what's important, DR - we should all take a moment to feel the sand between our toes xx

  4. DR, you know, I have only just discovered a message from you this evening from last year which had gone into my spam thing which I never checked or knew how to check. I apologise for never replying! :-) xx

  5. Hi Depressed Reader, I don't know if this is for you but you might want to try the TRE exercises for anxiety. My psychologist taught me how to do them and they have really helped me, especially now that I am writing exams. Be warned though they make you look like a woman in labor when you are doing them. They are somewhere on my blog if you are interested.

    Glad to hear things are doing better. I love to go barefoot whenever I can, unfortunately now that S.A is heading into winter that's less frequent!.

  6. @ITP - I'm glad you liked the video. Franti has created a lot of great music over the years, and some of it has really helped me get through some difficult times.

    @CID - It seems that your rain has arrived here, it has been pouring down for the last couple of days. As for shoes, I'm trying to dispense with them as much as possible. It really does feel nicer without them.

    @Borderline Lil - I've seen Franti and Spearhead play five times, four times in Australia and once in Japan. The first time I saw them, in 2003 a couple of months after the invasion of Iraq, would have to be one of the most memorable nights of my life. I'll have to write a post about it at some stage.

    @Pixie - No worries, the same thing has happened to me before with comments being put into spam for some reason.

    @Stephi - Thanks for that, I will look into the TRE exercises. I think barefoot is a great way to be, and probably the way we are best off. It is not possible all the time, but I feel better when my feet are out of confining shoes.