Happy Chinese New Year from Japan!

With the beginning of a new lunar calendar I finally start working on my new years resolutions and make myself on the way to japan in order to run the Tokyo marathon. Yes- I am officially on vacation and I am going to participate in one of the biggest races in one of my favourite countries in the world 🙂

My excitement is at its maximum and just when I am about to book my ticket I find out that all flights to Tokyo are full -.- My japanese friend who is joining me on this trip was lucky and got on the flight with a confirmed ticket early enough. Only two more days until the big race and I still got no idea how to even reach there. Things are getting serious and with the loads getting higher with each hour I have to start looking for other options…In my despair I chose to take a flight from one of the neighboring Emirates I live in. The ticket is booked and I am all ready to get on a road trip to Abu Dhabi. My friend is giving me a ride and not even 1,5 h later we reach the capital city and to my surprise its a much smaller airport. I run up to the counter with my fingers crossed to get on (it’s a little bit like gambling when traveling on standby)…The flight is almost full but I’m lucky and the friendly staff at the counter is offering me a nice window seat from where I can watch the take off ✈️ For me it is always very interesting flying with other Airlines as we love to compare each other and also exchange our onboard experiences. But for some reason I always miss the comfort and familiarity of ‘my own’ airline…

As the flight goes on and we finally make our approach into japan (after 9 long hours!) I slowly start swapping my desert outfit for some warm winter clothes – I am not a winter person at all! Part of me wants to go back immediately and sip cocktails at the beach but the thought of running a marathon in fresh air keeps me motivated 🙂 Whilst waiting in front of the bathroom queue I meet a guy who seems pretty curious about my single trip to Tokyo. In my excitement I tell him all about the big race and also share some previous running stories but his reaction is rather shocked than happy. He obviously cannot understand why someone would travel so far abroad and is willing to put up with a massive jet lag only to get into more pain by running a marathon. What he does not know is that this is exactly what keeps me going, that nothing -absolutely nothing- compares with the thrill of running a marathon, that running is the source of my happiness, my therapy, my secret remedy and also one of my biggest passions in life🙏

I hardly manage to sleep on the flight so you can probably imagine the state I am in when I finally reach the hotel knowing I still have to go to the Expo to pick up my race number. When I enter my room I get another surprise: smoking room -.- Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about at that moment as all non smoking rooms seems to be booked already during this busy season. I sanitize my room as much as I can and let the cold air from outside transform my tiny room into an iglu within seconds❄️

After a long hot shower and another little struggle when trying to order vegetarian food in the streets of Tokyo I make my way to the running expo. My eyes widen when I see all those people coming here only for the marathon. The event is extremely organized and I meet friendly and very helpful people everywhere. Whilst waiting at the registry I notice that I seem to be the only european girl here and judging by the curious looks of japanese people around me I must be somehow exotic to them. Suddenly an old man approaches me asking where I come from and why I wanna run the Tokyo Marathon. To be honest there is not much to explain as the sparkle in my eyes probably gives away much more than words could ever express. He hands me a small pink heart (my favourite colour😍) telling me that this is going to be my lucky charm for the race and I shall keep it with me. I thank the kind man and wonder why he picked me…

A few minutes later when I reach the hall with all the running gear I get very tempted to buy some new running shoes but immediately stop myself for the simple reason that I won’t reward myself before the race. I head back to the hotel and for the first time in about 48h I get to sleep in the comfort and luxury of a real bed…after all a much better reward…

4 thoughts on “Happy Chinese New Year from Japan!

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