The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I've got a cold... first one in about a year. I didn't get colds when I ran every day.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tokyo Midtown and 21_21 Design Sight

Usually this blog is about bicycles and running, but I thought I'd share with you some pictures of Tokyo's tallest building - the brand new Tokyo Midtown building.

The Midtown project has been built on an old defense force site in Roppongi. To get there, take the subway to Roppongi and follow the signs to Exit 7 of the station.

It has a gallery designed by uber-architect Kengo Kuma, and a design center - 21_21 Design Sight - designed by the internationally renowned architect Tadao Ando.

Here's some photos of both. I believe the building opens to the public sometime this week...

The interior doesn't try too hard. There's no curvy walls and not much polished stainless steel - just wooden floors, opaque glass panels, and an atrium with a simple, ceiling-to-floor water feature.

Water is a common theme in the building. There is a water wall near the entrance that links the subway with the building, and on the basement floor there is this tree-filled water feature.

The 21_21 Design Sight building doesn't sully its surroundings with tacky souvenir shops and food stalls - instead it sells its merchandise from this ever so tasteful pair of Nissan Cube vehicles parked in its garden. Possibly the worst decision taken by the Tokyo Midtown planners. The team that oversaw the whole project by the way was SOM, the firm that is overseeing New York's Freedom Towers build.

The Tokyo Midtown building is the tallest in Tokyo, beating even the government building in Shinjuku by 5 meters. Due to the proximity of airports to Tokyo, it is unlikely a taller building will ever be constructed in Tokyo.

The view looking out of the Midtown building toward the gardens and the 21_21 Design Sight vans.

The walkway linking the subway and building has some great shops - including the Established cafe, which specialises in Australian beers and wine - and other diversions, such as this sculpture by Hokkaido artist Kan Yasuda.

The 21_21 Design Sight building viewed from between its souvenir-selling vans.

One gripe I had with the whole building is its lack of international outlook. You would think that, as a showpiece building, the signage would be written in at least two and maybe three of four languages - English, Korean and one other language would have been a good idea. The Canon art gallery has no English descriptions of the pieces on display (including four Warhols by the way) and in some places the directions to the subway are written only in kanji. The book shop has no international books, the 21_21 Design Sight building has no multilingual brochures. Close to 400,000 people who live in Tokyo don't use Japanese as their first language, and Japan has 1.2 million foreigners by birth, yet this new public space seems to completely ignore them. That said, the building looks great, and hey, this is Japan, I guess if we want to buy a book or find the subway station we should learn Japanese (I'm trying).

26 March 2007 - Running update

Back to running, I went for a run today. 32 minutes. The left leg was almost perfect. The right ITB pain came on at about 25 minutes, but didn't get very bad. The right knee pain under the patella was so-so, never got bad, but always felt like it could. Overall, I feel like I've taken another step toward recovery.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ran again.

Two days in one week and still no crippling pain in my right knee. Am I fixed? Time will tell - the pain usually comes back when I try to run two days in a row. Tomorrow night I might be very happy or very sad.

The left knee still has ITB pain - but it's not really pain, more a sort of "buzzing" feeling. Needs to be fixed though.

Since I've been unable to run I've been focussing more on work - and it's paid off. I'm writing for four publications now and I've been approached to write or help write two books. Maybe I will be too busy to ever run again.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Went for a run...

... yesterday. I ran well, for 30 minutes. I think that riding my bike to work and back is good for my knees. I'm also glad to see that my weight is staying quite low (61kg). My left knee is still pretty bad - but I'm wondering if I should start doing some fast, very short runs - strange as it might sound, this is said to be the best way to get back to running after an ITB injury.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

No running this week...

...but rode to work every day.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ran 35 minutes

I ran. The knees made it. ITB pain is bad, but the other pain didn't emerge.

Friday, March 09, 2007

No running this week...

...but I've been riding to work every day. On this...

The bike rides really well. It's light, fast but most of all - simple. Almost nothing can go wrong with it. No gears, one brake, no cables, clamps, etc. I really enjoy riding it.

It weighs about 7kg.

The build list is:

Frame: Euro Sport by Bryan Hayes (Columbus tubing, Cinelli bottom bracket shell, Gipiemme drop outs)
Forks: Kalavinka -
Headset: Campagnolo Record Pista -
Headstem: TNI 60mm
Handlebars: Nitto
Bar tape: Cateye -
Bar plugs: Cinelli -
Seat: San Marco SLR-XP -
Seapost: Interloc Racing Design Type 2 Quad -
Cranks: Suntour Superbe -
Chainring: Sugino 75 -
Chainring bolts: alloy (from Posh Bikes) -
Bottom bracket: TA Titanium -
Pedals: Tioga
Chain: DID -
Front rim: Campagnolo -
Front spokes: DT -
Front hub: Shimano Dura-Ace -
Front skewer: Control Tech Titanium -
Front tyre: Continental Giro -
Rear rim: Steiger Aerodynamic
Rear spokes: Hoshi
Rear hub: Campagnolo Record -
Rear tyre: Vittoria -
Cog: Shimano Dura-Ace -
Front caliper: Campagnolo Mirage -
Brake cable: Campagnolo -
Brake lever:

Knees still hurt.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

A few bikes I've seen lately

Taken in Ueno, Otemachi and my living room...


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Knees 3

Back to square one - the knee pain returned tonight. I ran an easy 30 minutes, but at about 25 minutes the pain gradually crept back under the knee. I think I need to see a doctor.