The cherry blossom watch continues…

I took another bike ride along the Nakagawa today. It was still a bit cold, but today I went without a jacket for the first time this year. After about 10 minutes of cycling I felt warm enough.

As you can see, the cherry blossoms are still not in bloom. Except, in one tree I saw some buds trying really hard to bloom, with just a peak of pink coming out. The clouds looked nice, and sort of dreamy.

I think all the action is going to take place over the next two weeks.

 

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Exercise (revisited, yet again)

This morning I got up and took care of all the overnight work email and customer requests, as usual. That took almost all morning.

Then there were some important security server reboots I wanted to hang around for, to make sure they all went well (they all did).

I also took a short break and watched Mon lay an egg. Too bad I didn’t have my iPhone with me to record it. I’ve only seen it live once before! Monta has been leaving her in peace while she uses the left nest for egg laying this time. He hangs out on his swing, while Mon has been building a nice sized clutch this month. All infertile of course. But I digress.

Then I had a leisurely lunch and watched the season 3 finale of “House of Cards.”

After lunch I did some more work in preparation for a customer call this evening at 6:00 pm.

Around 3:00 pm I finally ran out of excuses. So I poked my head out door, thinking it must be awful winter weather. But it was the most beautiful day of the year so far. Blue skies with wisps of white clouds, and the temperature was a relatively balmy 14 degrees C (57 F).

So that was it. I was truly out of excuses.

I got on my bike and cycled to the river, which I haven’t done for a while. I’m happy to report I haven’t lost all my cycling muscles yet, and was able to take all the hills, even the big one leading up to the river bank.

As you can see, the cherry trees are not quite budding yet, but there seems to be something going on. (If you click on the photos you can see them larger.)

 

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A little ways down the river, after going over one bridge, I come to a park and you can see the Katsushika public sports center ahead on the right – that big white building.

 

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I’ve been there before – to their pool – but I’ve never gone this way, and I’ve never been to their gym, even though I pass the sports center on ever river bike ride. This time I decided to stop and check it out.

Here is the entrance to the main sports center where the gym is.

 

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The people couldn’t have been nicer. Everybody was all smiles and welcoming, from teenagers to senior citizens. One of the staff took me on a tour. They let me take one picture to post of the main gym room.

 

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As you can see it is bright, with high ceilings, and loads of modern fitness machines of all kinds.

I decided I’m going to quit the private gym near my house, which I just joined in December, and start coming here instead. I need to let the private gym know by the 10th to avoid paying for April.

My reasoning is this:

  • This public sports center has all the same machines and more than the private gym does. I can’t login to the machines with my iPhone, but it reports out all the needed tracking data, so I can still log my workouts.
  • It’s further away from my house, but it’s a very pleasant ride along the river to and back, so I get in extra cardio just going there. It’s only 3 km away, so the bike ride is only about 10-13 minutes. And 25 minutes round-trip along the river goes by much quicker than 25 minutes on a cycling machine. I still don’t actually like exercise.
  • The hours are very good too. It’s not 24 hours like the private gym, but they are open 9 am to 9 pm every day. The woman who gave me a tour said they are least crowded from 1 pm to 5 pm, which fits in well with my work-at-home schedule.
  • They will give free advice on a training program, while the private gym charges extra for that.
  • They have free key lockers, while the private gym charges ¥1,000 per month extra for that, so I’ve been leaving my stuff in an open locker. (It’s Japan, so I wasn’t particularly worried about that point.)
  • Cost-wise the public gym seems better too. Each visit is ¥300 for up to two hours. The private gym is ¥6,800 per month, which is very reasonable. But I would have to go more than 22 times per month to make it less expensive than the public gym. 22 times per month is a lot, and I know I won’t always make that goal. So why not use the public gym instead?
  • There seemed to be a nice mix of people there, so maybe I’ll be able to talk to people and make some diet/exercise friends.

Of course during rainy season, or other really bad weather, I won’t be able to cycle there.  But there is a bus from my corner right to the sports center if I was determined to go on a bad weather day.

Anyway, the atmosphere was really nice and welcoming, and I’m ready to try something different, so I think I will give that a try. My private gym membership, meanwhile, is still paid up through the end of this month.

On the way home, I took this nice photo along the river. The sun was reflecting so much off the water I just pointed and shot and let my iPhone take whatever it wanted. But I think it turned out well.

 

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