Sunday, 13 January 2013

Day 28: It's ekiden time

Day 28 (2 Jan) So today, nothing else matters. It's about taking up our respective spots in front of the tele to watch some university 'ekiden'! Ekiden is a kind of marathon relay race, this one over two days over five legs each day and ten athletes for each of the competing 20 universities. This year is the 89th and they're already talking up next year's. 

Yesterday, we had the warm-up version: the company ekiden, where similarly, athletes from major companies (usually graduates of the university teams and employed, basically, for their running prowess), but that was less onerous and less interesting. 

So, at 6.12am, I probably should have been up running in spirit...instead, I was hoping the weather was going to be good for the athletes...naturally. And then went back to bed to read a novel. Today is a newspaper holiday too so news is a little light on. 

But it is about the Hakone Ekiden today and it has particularly resonance in our house. My undergraduate University, Daito Bunka has been a past champion team at this, winning four times. (We were national rugby champions too, previously). Today was their return to the ekiden after a brief absence. Jinko is both a graduate and former staffer of the same University, so we have strong ties. Yosh, on the other hand, is a Meiji University graduate and so he supports them, naturally. There's much rivalry in the household on days like this. Although my postgrad university has an unrivalled intellectual standing (Tokyo University), sports have never been its strength, something Yosh likes to josh me about...often, on days like this.  

Did I mention, the course starts is Tokyo central and heads down the south coast to a place called's a road marathon and just over 100km, split into five legs ranging in length from about 15km to 23km--the shorter legs have incredible hills. 

Catching up on news. and
work, at 6.12pm

By 6.12pm, we'd  watched day one, Daito came 12th of 20, Meiji came...somewhere earlier...and two teams were disqualified (though the other team members would be allowed to complete the race). We await the return leg tomorrow.

I spent some more time working through my resources (in preparation for Saturday's visit to the library). Lots of traffic on the roads as people returned from their holidays, and the was another major accident at the tunnel which collapsed late last year. Today was also the day that the Imperial Family came out on the verandah of the Imperial Palace to wave at the members of the public who've made their way down there. I neglected to go to the palace and wave at the Imperial Family.

It was cold, but remained fine. 

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