Archive | March 2016

Katsuura open water swim

So, last year I didn’t get around to posting up any open water swim reports. But I did do about 5 or so races last year. Here is a belated account of the first open water swim race from last year.

Race date: 21 June, 2015.
The event was the Katsuura swim festa and the race was held at Moriya beach in Chiba. I had actually been to this beach before on a day trip where we SUPed and snorkeled.

From Katsuura OWS 2015

Race distance was a short one and I went with a couple of friends. We did the 1.5km swim (which was the longest distance on offer). Water was a cooler side, I think about 21 degrees. It was a bit fresh without a wetsuit.

Here are a bunch of pics from the day:

From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015

Conditions were decent enough:

From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015

Race course:

From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015

This was a slow swim for me. I’m not 100% sure, given that it was nearly a year ago, but I think my time was a shameful 45minutes for a 1.5km swim. Can’t be sure that is right though but it was the first race for the year and a cold one at that.

From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015
From Katsuura OWS 2015

Overall a nice easy race doable from Tokyo. But yes, was a bit a cold and I was a bit out of practice. It’s always good to do a short distance swim to start off the season.

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2015 Onjuku open water swim

Another year, another Onjuku swim. This one is tradition on the racing calendar with a decent enough following with fellow swimming friends. We had a small contingent of us turn up for this race, back in September last year.

It’s a 3.84km swim at Onjuku beach, one of the better beaches around and a favourite in the summer. Had also swum in the previous year.

It was a nice day for a swim with a good atmosphere:

From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows

Water conditions weren’t great. There was lots of seaweed upon entry.

I have also spent quite a fair bit of time at Onjuku, and what was surprising this year was the amount of jellyfish out there. I was a bit worried and thought about pulling out when they had warned us of jellyfish. I thought I’d at least start the race.

Holy moly, I have never seen jellyfish this big. These were really big ugly jellyfish that were the size of soccerballs. It really was quite phenomenal. I, of course, got stung on the hand by a big one, but decided to still swim on. It was a bit of a tough race trying to dodge all the jellyfish. I always find the Onjuku course quite tough. It requires swimming into the ports at each of the beach.

My time was on the slow side and it was slower than last year as well. For 3.84km, my time was 1hr 31min. But ok considering I was stung badly on the wrist and had to actively dodge jellyfish for the rest of the race. Had never seen jellyfish so big and so ugly. They were nomura jellyfish.You should google them. Ugly things. I ended up getting quite a bad reaction from the water here and ended up with a rash. Last year was particularly bad for my swimming rashes. I get really bad allergic reactions.

Another funny thing about this swim was that both The housemate and I featured on the race promo poster! It was an action photo from the previous year’s race that was used for the 2015 event.
I’m the one that is basically stacking it in the water, yes, ever the clutz am I. We were able to score a few of these posters as well.

From Onjuku ows
From Onjuku ows

Will most likely enter this race again this year too.

Tokyo afternoon tea, Captain Cook

Did another afternoon tea recently. The brief was a bit of a challenge. It was a friend’s birthday and only had about a week to book it. Everything in Tokyo needs to be booked 2-4 weeks in advance so getting a table anywhere for five people was going to be tricky. I tried about 5-6 venues to no available. Another hurdle which unfolded was the budget. They wanted an afternoon tea for about 3000-3500yen which is hard to find in Tokyo. The third hurdle was the time. Most afternoon teas don’t start until about 2pm but we needed one for a lot earlier for around 12:30pm.

I finally found a place that offered tea for 3000yen and they had availability. However, when I requested the time, they informed me that afternoon tea wasn’t offered until later in the afternoon, but they so kindly offered to prepare it earlier for our group. Yay, success.

The place in question was Captain Cook Cafe. And it was quintessentially British. It was a like a little piece of England in Tokyo.

From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea

The venue is two floors and we were seated upstairs. Interior was very British and cosy.

Upstairs:

From Captain Cook afternoon tea

Downstairs:

From Captain Cook afternoon tea

Look, there’s even HP sauce:

From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea

The menu features all things British and they’re open for brunch and dinner, featuring classics such as roast beef, pie and chips, sausages, and even the good ol’ hot English breakfast. I will definitely be back to sample more of their fare.

Afternoon tea was on the agenda for this particular Saturday afternoon, or rather lunch.

From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea

There was plenty of food – most of which was very sweets heavy. There were just a couple of morsels of sandwiches which were the only savoury components. The rest were all sweets and cakes.

From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea

This sample was yummy:

From Captain Cook afternoon tea

I would say that the sweets and cakes were either a hit or miss. The cupcakes were probably the worst (they tasted stale), but everything else was edible. The scones unfortunately weren’t very British. We had such high hopes especially given that the birthday girl was British. They were skimpy on the jam and cream though. Not quite enough for 5-people serving and then we discovered they charged us for the extra cream that we had to ask for:

From Captain Cook afternoon tea

The service though was wonderful. The staff were very accomodating and super friendly. And I really loved the venue and the interior. Lots of British paraphanelia.

As for teas, you choose the one kind but then unlimited hot water refills so we went through quite a few pots of tea.

All in all, a lovely quaint afternoon tea for the price tag. And I’ll definitely be back to try other dishes. It’s a nice venue to drop by for a cup of tea and a book, to be sure.

From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea
From Captain Cook afternoon tea

Elusive kamoshika spotting

Over the winter, whilst on a snowboarding trip to Nozawa Onsen, I spotted me an elusive kamoshika. A kamoshika is a Japanese goat-antelope animal usually found in the mountains. I was surprised to find this one near the streets of the village, right outside my favourite onsen at Nozawa, it was just amongst the bushes.

They are rather an unusual looking animal, and it was the first time I had ever seen one.

From Kamoshika
From Kamoshika
From Kamoshika
From Kamoshika
From Kamoshika
From Kamoshika
From Kamoshika
From Kamoshika
From Kamoshika