The Husband got back from China on Saturday evening and on Sunday, he and the Dude had a morning together and I had a morning off. They went to the zoo so the Husband could see his first panda bear and the Dude could ride on the Thomas the Tank Engine again, and me? I went for a decent, solitary run. Bliss.
I took the underground to the Imperial Palace, as I’d planned to run the circuit twice – basically six miles. That’s about as long as I’m running these days. However I also wanted to check out a facility I’d read about called Joglis. I’d actually popped in a few days ago and got all the information, which was helpful.
Joglis is one of a couple of Runners’ Stations across Tokyo. There’s another one nearby called Adidas Runbase. Joglis is owned/sponsored? by Asics, so it looks like running companies are funding them. They’re genius. You go in, pay up, get a locker, dump your stuff, go for a run, come back, shower and go. These two facilities are near the Imperial Palace which seems to be THE place to run in Tokyo. Both cost 700 yen for a one-off use ($8.50/ 5 quid) and towels are 300 yen to rent as well. I believe that both have monthly membership rates which I guess are better value although I can’t read the leaflet to confirm. Both facilities that I checked out had small but pretty great running shops on site, and Joglis had a cafe.
So in I go, and in my pigeon Japanese, with lots of pointing and smiling, I pay up and get my locker key and go into the girls’ changing room. Big mistake number one…I don’t take my trainers off at the appropriate point – it’s important not to wear shoes in the wrong place here. No-one seems to notice, phew. I get changed, leave my stuff in the locker and go and run.
I joined what seemed like half of Tokyo running in an anti-clockwise direction round the Imperial Palace. Hundreds of runners, including some ridiculously fast children doing a relay race! I did two laps and loved pretty much every minute of it. I loved the sunshine and the cold and the people-watching and the crowd-dodging. It was great!! I forgot my watch (doh) so have no idea about my time but I’m very zen about that at the moment. It was a good run and my legs ached for a good few hours afterwards!
When I’d finished, I headed back to Joglis. For once, I was more excited about the shower than the run. I remembered to take my trainers off this time! It was slightly nerve-wracking, I’m not sure of the etiquette in such places here in Japan so I watched what others did as regards prancing around in underwear etc. My shower was spectacular – the free shampoo and conditioner smelt SO good that I immediately wanted to buy the stuff! And then I got dried, dressed and sat in front of the swanky mirrors to do make-up and dry my hair. The Japanese girls are TINY. I am fairly happy with my body (although don’t all girls have some body-insecurity?) but I felt seriously flabby next to the tiny Japanese!!
Once I was all primped, I headed out and grabbed a Soyjoy bar (not bad, even as someone who is anti-soy) and a Pocari Sweat energy drink. I had to try it, the name is amazing, and it tasted pretty good!! I was going to buy the shampoo…but it cost $25/15 quid which is waaay more than I’m willing to spend on shampoo. So thank you Joglis for such a lovely treat!
I think Runners’ Stations are such a fantastic idea. When I worked in central London, I would have used this facility all the time and if they had one in Golden Gate Park (or anywhere in SF to be honest) I would be going up there to run much more frequently. Does anyone know of anything like this in the UK or the US? I’ve not heard of anything like it!
So now I’m on a mission to bring Runners’ Stations and Cat Cafes to the Bay Area. Or we could combine them and have a runners’ station with cats in it. I’d never leave!
And finally…a few snaps of the weekend, post quake!