Getting the bags from Nishi Kasai to Shinjuku was a marathon unto itself. But we made it… and despite the fact that Mom and I are both seriously under the weather. Mom’s on the mend but I seem to be falling quickly into a phlegmy, germy wasteland of whinging. I make for a poor companion in the best of times; when ill I’m about as pleasant to be around as, well, a jackass with an inferiority complex enveloped in a negative aura of depressive pessimism.
Having arrived at the hotel and dropped our bags with the bell hops, we boarded the JR Line out to the Tokyo Big Sight. Mom got to expereince first hand the rush hour sardine sub. These photos don’t do it justice.
I yelped a place for lunch that proved overpriced, super crowded but that may have been due to the narrow, limited seating, and helped me write what I considered a great text to my brother: Why did Mom and Kevin cross the road? To get to Shin Udon!
From there we made the long ride out to Tokyo Big Sight, the host for the marathon expo. I actually recall this place from my first Tokyo Marathon nine years ago. It’s hard to forget an inverted pyramid and giant saw…
Inside, the packet pickup and expo itself proved itself worthy of a a town where people are literally shoved into subway cars. It was a crowded affair and most vendors said this was the *slow* day as it will only be more crowded on Friday and Saturday. Yowza.
The multifloor expo just kept going and going and going…
I tried a few photo opp stations but was underwhelmed by the options. When they asked me what my target time was at the Seiko booth, I said Three-fifteen. I guess they misheard me and punched in 3:50. Mom saw it and asked them to fix it, well aware I had just put up a slightly under 3:11 in Kyoto. I was totally with her as if we’re talking stretch goals I’d like to hit another sub-3:15 on Sunday. After a fair bit of confusion, we got a reshoot.
Ugly Americans: 1; Hapless Japanese Expo Booth Workers: 0
This was probably my favorite thing at a booth — they had people cheer on a robotic runner who was essaying the course on a 2-D map. Apparently the more audible cheers the robot heard, the faster it would move. It all felt VERY Japanese to me… and I loved it.
So too was the Tokyo Marathon faux-kimono in the merch tent…
I was much more enamored with the cookies of the course layout — you could literally EAT your way through the marathon. That’s a genius idea!
At the end of the Ikea-ish maze, there was a station to post an inspirational thought — I think that’s Buddhist but maybe it’s Shintoism. OR maybe it’s runner-ist. Whatever the case, I posted my message:
It took a lot longer to navigate the halls and we didn’t even really stop for things because, well, we don’t speak the language. Walking back to the JR line to then take Mom to Shibuya, I was struck by this banner:
I bet I saw the same thing 9 years ago when I was last here. Things have assuredly changed in this town… but things have also remained the same. As it should be I suppose.