A life ordinary by Amit Sarkar - Issue #33
Welcome to another edition of my newsletter.
The newsletter publishing took a long pause after our trip to Japan. And there was a huge backlog for my podcasts as well, that needed publishing. But now that things are in order and I’m mentally much freer, I have decided to resume writing my newsletter.
Lots of things have happened since our trip.
First of all, I completed 50 Parkruns and earned myself a milestone t-shirt. I must thank my wife for her support and for getting a running stroller for our son. I have now used that for 7 Parkruns with my son and I have been able to run on the same day as my wife. Previously, it was either of us that ran while the other took care of our son. That’s no longer the case. Also, I have been consistently running every week since January which resulted in a PB time of 22:37 at the Parkrun. With that, I have completed one of my yearly goals. I have actually managed to run 5K under 23 mins twice now. So the first time was not a fluke.
With all the running I have also reduced weight which means my body fat % is well below 15 and steady. Another yearly goal is complete. Though I need to be consistent with my training.
We also had my wife’s family visit us in May. That meant we did a lot of stuff together. Highlights from their visit include -
July is going to be really exciting as I have a few plans. One of them is to do the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge (weather dependent of course) with a good friend. The other is to do a duathlon - ride on my cycle to Shoreham through the night and then run the Lancing Beach Green Parkrun. Of course, this is also weather dependent. I am also applying for a USA Tourist visa for which I got an appointment in July. Hopefully, that comes through and I can travel to the USA in August or September.
✈️ Japan - Itinerary
A lot of people have asked about our itinerary for Japan. So here it is -
🍜☕ Japan - Places we ate and had coffee
These are the following places we tried during our stay in Japan. This includes a list of cafes (my wife loves coffee), ramen places and Indian places. Being vegetarian/vegan can be tricky in Japan so Indian restaurants were a saviour.
ANNAM Indian Restaurant Ginza
Paprika shokudo Vegan
🥾⛩️ Japan - Things we did
Below is a list of the things we did during our trip to Japan. We couldn’t do many things initially due to the jet lag but we made the most of our time there. Our son also started walking during this trip. So it’ll always be memorable for us.
Kaminari-mon Gate and Sensō-ji shrine
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center - The 8th floor has a nice viewing deck to see Sensō-ji for free
Free walking tour - Akihabara/Ueno - Ueno Park is very pretty and we saw the first bloom of cherry blossoms here.
Walk/Run around the Tokyo Imperial Palace - Me and my wife walked this route and then she went back again and ran the same route in the middle of the night. I would recommend doing this run in the day to better enjoy the views.
Free walking tour - Shinjuku (night) - This is a party place and lots of bars and restaurants here. The tour was worth it.
Visit Meiji Jingu shrine and then walk from Harajuku to Shibuya
Walk around Ginza - This is Tokyo’s top shopping district.
Use the Yurikamome line - This is a really scenic route and definitely worth it. The whole train runs automatically (without a driver).
Use the Tokyo Monorail 🚝 - We used this to get to Haneda airport. You realize how careful they have thought about everything while designing this train, especially for people with big baggage.
Japan Rail Pass - This pass works for most Shinkansen lines and JR lines for the regions you have booked. We bought this online and picked up the tickets from Tokyo Central station. When we purchased the tickets we reserved our seats as well which was helpful.
Walk along Peace Boulevard
Visit Hiroshima Castle
Visit Hiroshima Hondori Shopping Street - This is the place to be in Hiroshima if you are looking to shop, eat or drink.
We couldn’t do the free walking tour in Hiroshima but it’s definitely worth checking out.
Visit Otsu and walk along Lake Biwa (Japan’s largest lake). We did this so my wife could familiarise herself with the route for Parkrun.
Visit Laundromat on the corner - It was a rainy day so we got our clothes washed and dried using coin laundry.
Visit Fushimi Inari Taisha - Go as early as possible in the morning to get some really good pictures of the gates.
Visit Tenryu-ji Temple
Visit Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Visit Arashiyama Arhat to see stone carvings
Walk along the Kamo River and see cherry blossoms.
Walk along Kiyamachi-Dori road to see cherry blossoms.
Cross the Kamogawa Delta using the Stepping Stones
Visit Compasso Teramachi
Visit the Gion district - We visited the same places as the Kyoto free walking tour (day)
Visit Kyoto Imperial Palace
Walk Philosopher's Path to see some amazing cherry blossoms.
Have an Onsen bathing experience at Ogoto Onsen Biwako Ryokusuitei. We also slept on tatami mats wearing kimonos 👘🥋. A very nice traditional experience with modern amenities.
🏃♂️ Japan - Running
While we were in Japan, both me and my wife ran in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima. It was a really safe experience running and exploring the cities. My wife ran the Sunshine Beach Parkrun near Kyoto and I ran the Urayasushi sogo koen Parkrun in Tokyo.
Running 5 to 10 kms in a city is a really good way to explore and feel its vibe. I ran at 02:00 hrs on one day simply because I couldn’t sleep after a long flight to Tokyo and on other days I ran either after dinner or before breakfast. Japan felt like a really safe and clean country to run without worrying.
❤️ Things I enjoyed
🎬 Video - Summiting the Matterhorn with an FPV Drone 5K is an insanely cool video. The visuals are stunning and make me want to go there immediately.
🌐 Website - Prompt Engineering Guide is an excellent website if you want to learn how to ask ChatGPT-like tools with effective outputs.
📱 App - I have been using 5K parkrunner Results ever since my wife told me about it after her Parkrun in Japan. It’s for people who want to track how many Parkrun they have completed and also follow their friends.
📝 Article - Why AI Will Save the World by Marc Andreessen is an excellent article debunking some of the myths surrounding AI. I really like the way Marc thinks. He brings sense to a world filled with fear around AI.
📺 TV show - Silo Season 1 is an exciting new sci-fi series on Apple TV+. It feels like an Orwellian-type show where no one can question authority. Can’t wait for season 2 now.
Thank you so much once again for reading my newsletter this week. Please feel free to Buy me a coffee if you are enjoying what I am sharing.
Until we meet again next week, exercise regularly, eat healthily, rest well, and binge-watch some nice TV series.