*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


I ran and finished my first half-marathon recently.  This is a marathon-mad country.  Outside of the unendurable summer months, there is almost no weekend in Kanto where you cannot find an event to train towards.

There are cultural differences, as always.  I may have a poor attitude left from HS, but athletic types in N.America tend to be cocks.  This is much less so in Japan, where I would say that not only is there less chance an average Japanese person is a cock than in N.America,* the athletic are also less likely to be a cock in Japan than the athletic at 'home'.  Put another way:
"The average Japanese person likely appreciates that their current emotional state is not the most important thing happening in the room."
It was well organized: the volunteers provided no English, but made sure I understood the Japanese they communicated with me.  And why should they provide English?  I was one of three non-Asian faces among several thousand, and the other two may not even have been Anglos.  The atmosphere provided by the volunteers and the townspeople along the route was very cheerful, from taiko drummers, to children handing out candies, to runners, to the water bearers, and the ancient crones yelling 'ganbate!' from the stoops of their farmhouses.  And for 2500y I got the run, free shuttle-bus and baggage check, water en-route and two bottles after, and an athletic-shirt worth no less than that!

Is it common outside of Japan to see men runners taking a smoke before and after their run?  Good thing they did.  If they had the better lung-capacity they would have kicked my ass.  I did fine for having my first long run, and with better than four decades under the bridge.  I choose a modest pace, and lined up where the sign was posted for the time I estimated: I estimated well.  Interestingly, women (of any age) and older men who started where I did finished with me; younger men often dropped off after the 15km mark.   
"Old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time."
Or sometimes.

*Even some of the racial 'micro-aggression' I have complained about exists as much in Canada, but people just hide it under niceties better.  Not to mention that bad-attitudes on race, though never acceptable, can be thought more unacceptable in a place where people actually know and rub shoulders with 'different' people frequently: Toronto, etc.  They ought to know better.

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