Sunday, August 14, 2011

Japan by Night

In my last post I was complaining about trouble getting to sleep. I am still having that trouble, but I am learning to manage it. A few weeks ago I was going to bed a bit after midnight and then tossing and turning, turning the light on, reading for a while, trying to sleep, failing, reading again.. then finally getting to sleep around 2 or 3 after hours of frustration. Once I am asleep I am okay, but getting to sleep is tough.

In the last few days I've been changing things up a little. It is August, which means that here in Japan it is very hot. This may have something to do with my sleeping problems, but I don't recall having this problem in previous years. In any case, it also means that the heat is pretty oppressive during the day and it feels a little like the sunlight is punching you, especially if you've decided to go running around in the midday sun, as I have been doing for the last few weeks. It means I do sweat a lot, which is good, but running is a struggle.

Anyway, in the last few days I've decided that it might be good to kill two birds with one stone, and started night running. It is not that much cooler than during the day, but the lack of glaring sunlight does help. In addition, there are not too many people about, and a lot less traffic on the roads. The feeling is a little bit different too, and while there are always some other joggers and random pedestrians running around, the city feels very different at night, particularly on weekend nights.

Japan is famous for being a safe place, and I've never felt in danger running around at night. The public toilets nearby are open and lit. Back home I would steer clear of them at night, but I have no hesitation about using them here. Last night I went out and ran for around 90 minutes by myself in a hilly area I hadn't been to before, which was nice. To some the near-empty streets might seem lonely, and they probably would to me if I were walking. But while running they feel okay, much more manageable that the crowded, yet incredibly isolating place that the streets of Japan usually are for me.

Then after the run I get home, eat something, shower and relax. I'm watching the first season of The Tudors and an hour of the machinations of Henry VIII and his courtiers is about enough to let the tiredness from the run and the day that has passed seep into my bones, and by the time the episode finishes I am almost tired enough to sleep.


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