Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Running in the Dark:

I went for a run after work on Thursday night, it was a nice night so I looked up on the map how to run to the Imperial garden perimeter, I got a little lost on the way but eventually got there. I was running the perimeter of the Imperial grounds when I saw the lights on the horizon of what I later learned was Ginza. Ginza is a lot like Times Square in New York, it's full of neon lights, compared to the Imperial Garden area which is very dark at night Ginza looked like the lights of Las Vegas rising out of the desert. Needless to say I was drawn to the lights like a moth to a bug lamp, I ran into Ginza and eventually had to just walk because of the crowds.

Ginza is really cool and has all sorts of side streets and alleys, I wandered into a number of them and eventually it became clear that I didn't know how to get back out of Ginza and to my hotel. The fact that only some of the street signs have English didn't help nor does the way that the city and it's addresses are laid out, I’ll let wikipedia explain the street layout:

When it came time to run home I only knew the approximate direction I needed to go in so I started running that way, eventually I was able to see the building I work in and it was a long way off. I ran towards it, which was tricky because I often lost sight of it and the streets don't follow a grid here. As I got closer to the building I work in I could see the hotel so I started running towards it, I was approaching the hotel from a direction I had never been in before, that tells you how lost I was. When I was about three blocks from the hotel, I started to run across the street and up a small street when an armed man in a uniform yelled at me and told me to stop, I looked up and realized I was right on the perimeter of the US Embassy and sadly the Embassy has such stringent security you can't even walk on the sidewalk outside. It was a little odd to be turned away from the Embassy of my own country, but you can't argue with a guy who's got a machine gun. So, I detoured and eventually got to the hotel. All told my planned 45 minute run took 3 hours.

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