2014 Ironman 70.3 Japan Trip (June) (last updated on 2014/07/20

2014/5/24-25 Going to Japan (28.6/18.1)

To the airport

I woke up at 4:30am and stretched my body then took shower. I ate breakfast then left apartment after loading my bags to the car. The traffic was not that bad so I reached at the parking fairly quick while driving under partly cloudy sky. I parked my car, loaded my bags to a shuttle van and the driver took me to the terminal E. I thought about giving the driver a tip because she helped me on the loading but did not help on the unloading part, and I lost my will to do so… Walked up the counter for the check in, and I had to pay $200 for the second bag (oversized) fee. This was my first time taking an oversized baggage with me so everything was new. The case needed to be placed for pick up at specific location but otherwise I was in the routine process. I passed the security check without a problem and nothing came out from the bag because I decided to take a tablet PC instead of a laptop this time.

Driving to the airport

To Narita: UA1 IAH(9:00AM CDT) – NRT(12:35PM on 5/25 JST)

At Terminal E

I walked to the gate where the plane was getting ready at 7:50am. When the boarding began, I had to take the regular boarding since I do not have a priority boarding anymore, which was fine with me. Took my seat at 8:20am, and the plane departed on time at 9:00am. It took off at 9:25am to the south and changed the heading to northwest. The lunch was served soon. During the flight, I watched “Frozen”, “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Hobbit”. I fell asleep and woke up as the plane flew over Alaska then I fell back sleep again. When I wake up next time, the breakfast was served and while watching “Handful of Salt” as plane flew by Hitachi area. The plane made a turn to the south for the final and landed.

Took a seat and waiting for the departure....

B787 next to me Beltway 8 IAH at distance Flying by Alaska

Lunch served

Snack served

Breakfast served

Slowing down

Kashima, Japan North side of the airport Landed

B777 at Narita

Waiting for the connection at Narita

I walked out from the plane at 12:30pm and get the passport checked. I called my dad to let him know while waiting for my bags to come out. The bike case was handled separately. When I approached the customs, the agent asked me what’s inside (as I expected). When I walked to the bag transfer station for ANA by the exit, they were closed and I needed to re-check bags at their check in counter. They told me that they have seen several bike cases for the last couple of days, and I guess other triathletes are flying in, get me excited. After finishing the process, I realized that it is still early in the afternoon, and I need to find things to kill time until the next flight so I went upstairs to watch planes flying in and out, chat with an U.S. serviceman waiting for his family to arrive, as well as watching display of dolls made out of Washi paper. I chat with the person in charge and exchanged information. I finally came down after 2:00pm to get myself passed the security. It was a long wait.

Arriving back to Japan

Chiba Trade Center

    Wind Chime Tempura
Dango Shell Potato Festival
Dango Corn Candy  

Killing time at Narita by looking the planes go and in

To Nagoya: NH337 NRT(4:55PM JST) – NGO(6:05PM JST)

While I wait, I bought gifts to my family and uncle, among the bottled water and rice balls to eat as dinner. The good thing about the waiting area is that I can use the internet so I have a way to waste my time. The boarding to the plane began at 4:30pm with getting on a bus. The place departed on time at 4:55pm. It’s always amazing that Japanese airline companies do so good at it. The plane taxied for a while then took off to south at 5:15pm, it immediately going into a layer of clouds but I could see the shore line. The plane flew by Mt. Fuji at 5:35pm, and over Nagoya station at 5:55pm before making left turn to the Centrair airport. The plane landed at 6:00pm and taxied to the gate. It was a little dark outside but I was just happy to be back in Nagoya.

Waiting for take off Leaving Narita

Mt. Fuji Japan Alps

Arriving at a gate at Centrair

To Home

I walked out from the plane and proceeded to the baggage claim. Picked up my bags and approached to the Meitetsu train station. Bought a ticket and get on an express train; MuSky 247, which left Centrair at 6:37pm and moved toward Nagoya. Because it is not quite dark yet, I can see the outside, and thought about the race in the weekend when the train passed by Shin-Maiko’s wind mills. I get out from the train at Nagoya station at 7:05pm. Now I had to carry two large bags by myself so I carried up and down the stairs with one bag at a time. I got to a Meitetsu bus stations, managed to put the big bike case inside the cabin to home. When I come home, I put the case in the storage. Took a shower and chat with my brother until 10:30pm then went to bed. It was not that hot but not warm either, I had to pull out a blanket over the night.

2014/5/26 (Monday) Workout day 1 (22.4/10.1)

In the morning at home

Woke up over the night a couple of times and finally get up from the bed at 5:00am. The outside was bright so I was feeling happy to be back in Japan. Stretched my body and get ready for the day. The news says that there may be rain starting from the afternoon. Had a breakfast with my brother’s family and took my nephew to Kindergarten later on. I was not sure what I need to do first so I had to figure out. I went to a convenience store to get bicycle insurance but the form indicated the policy will take 7 days to take effect so I gave up. It is such non-sense.

Afternoon for swim

Come home, had noodle which my dad offered me for lunch, but I felt it was not enough so I ended up stopping by at a convenience store to get some extra food. In the afternoon, I walked 30 minutes to a subway station to save money under cloudy sky then took Linimo to station near Korogi park where the pool with 50m lanes. This was my second time using the transportation system and I was impressed of that the ride was pretty smooth. The pool cost me 800Yen, but the quality of the water was very good, I can nearly see the other end. They now can let us bring the drink, and wear watches. They were nicer than 10 years ago when I visited last time. There were about 20 people using the pool and I swam for 1 hour, about 3km. I left the place but outside was already raining. Bought few needed items (Spare tire, at a bicycle shop on the way back to the Linimo station and rode back to Fujigaoka terminal. This time, there many students in the cars. I changed back to city subway, and getting off at the same station as I came in. I know that the rain is now falling harder but I wanted to buy some groceries on the way back. I just need to make my shoes dry tomorrow. For the evening, my sister-in-law made a big dinner for us. Went to bed around 10:00pm.

Subway train on the ground at Fujigaoka station

Linimo train

Korogi Pool

Bike shop

2014/5/27 (Tuesday) Workout day 2 (26.3/15.9)

Woke up at 5:00am again. Unlike yesterday, it was sunny with beautiful clear sky. Ate breakfast then took my nephew to Kindergarten. Come home, checked train schedule for my dad who is heading to Narita in the afternoon for his Germany trip. Since my dad carries a travel case, I recommended him to change the train at Shinagawa instead of Tokyo. My dad left around noon so I went outside to grab lunch from a convenience store, and began cleaning his room. I guess he was not paying too much attention so I began with cleaning his kitchen, refrigerator, table, floor and so on.

Sunny in the morning

In the afternoon, I also headed to nearby river to check out the bike path but it was closed after 1.0km in the path. I had to give up. Since I cannot simply give up on everything, I headed out to nearby pond and ran around about 30 minutes. It was warm in the afternoon so I was sweating bad, felt good when I come home and take shower.

In the evening, I walked to Seiyu store to buy groceries for the rest of the stay. Also went to a drug store in the evening to buy refills of my dad’s first aid box. Bed time at 10:00pm.

2014/5/28 (Wednesday) Workout day 3 Kobe Visit (29.8/16.2)

Woke up at 5:00am, it was another sunny day. I did a load of laundry before breakfast then took my nephew to Kindergarten.

Going to Morikoro Park

 After coming home, I rode bike to Morikoro Park, where they had a pretty nice 5km trail and I made 3 laps, meeting with a guy who works at a bicycle shop. Rode back home and had lunch at Coco Ichiban curry shop after taking a shower and refreshed. I tired Indian Chicken Curry, which was pretty good and I had to ask for extra rice….

Ferris Wheel

 Memorial for the Expo

Sign in and bike rental store

Starting point of the bike path

My bike at Mori Koro park


Lunch at Coco Ichiban

Meeting my friends at Kobe

In the evening, I left home around 4:00pm to Nagoya station. I bought some gifts for my friends in Kobe before walking up to the platform for Shinkansen. Nozomi 117, departed Nagoya at 5:33pm on time toward west as I watched hazy outside. The train stopped at Kyoto first, then Shin-Osaka before arriving at Shin-Kobe 6:38pm. I expected the returning will be late in the evening, so I bought the gift shops before they close. Dinner with friends from my past employment was fun. They are all doing well and amazed to find the same product still running. When I meet with friends, there is always something new so I am glad I spent time there instead of staying in Nagoya all the time.

Nozomi 117 at Nagoya station

Shin-Kobe station

I left the restaurant around 9:30pm and walked to the station across the street. Bought a non-reserved seat ticket to Nagoya and got on Nozomi 96, which left Shin-Kobe at 9:46pm. The outside was dark and I could not see much. The train safely arrived at Nagoya at 10:50pm. Took a subway train to Hoshigaoka and hopped on the last(?) bus leaving the terminal at 11:26pm, came home at 11:45pm, went to bed straight.

2014/5/29 Meeting with Uncle and Aunt(30.3/17.2)

Woke up at 5:00am, the sky is hazy but still good. Had breakfast then took my nephew to Kindergarten and come home. I went to a short run before leaving the home at 10:30am, waited for a bus to come but looks like taking a while because of the traffic congestion, so I ran into a drug store to buy more protein bars. Took a subway to nearby my uncle’s place and I arrived at noon. Had lunch together and chat until 2:00pm, looks like he has a project to do in the afternoon. Made a cash withdraw and mail drop off as I was coming back to the station, rode to Sakae area so I can buy clothing at Uniqlo. Took a subway back and a bus I don’t normally use to home so I can stop by at a supermarket on the way home.

In the evening, I let my nephew play with my bike. Cleaned it then packed. I also packed my travel bag and took it to a Kuroneko drop off location so I can ship the bag to the hotel I will be staying from tomorrow. Come home, had dinner with my brother’s family and I went to bed around 9:30pm. I felt so tired today.

2014/5/30 Moving to Tokoname (30.1/18.9)

Woke up at 5:00am, another sunny and hot day is expected so washed cloth in the morning should be dried by early afternoon so I decided to do a laundry. I had breakfast then took my nephew to Kindergarten for the one last time. I took a box to a post office in the morning to ship books to the home in the U.S. I also bought extra dunnage materials at nearby DIY store. Bubble wraps I used to bring bike to Japan was not working well and left my bike scratched up. Repacked my bike, and had lunch at nearby noodle shop. The lady at the store had a pretty good voice, kind of voice that makes people think, maybe I will come back here again someday. I am sure the store will keep her for long time… Come back home and finally finish cleaning my dad’s room in the afternoon.

Ramen for lunch

My niece and nephew came back from day care and we went to the bus stop together. It was still hot and the sun was still up high… and the bus was late. The driver of the bus did not like the idea of loading a big bike case but I did not have other choice. Departed anyway and arrived at Nagoya station. I get on an express train to Centrair after dragging my bags to the ground level. The MuSky 48 had some trainees onboard and I can hear them talking about my bike case… After the train arriving at the airport, I turned back from the airport and arrived at Tokoname station. As I walked out from the station, I saw some banners for Lixil Ironman 70.3 Japan and I was getting excited.

  Ironman 70.3 Japan banner~!

At the hotel lobby, many bike cases

Checked in at the hotel saw many bike cases sitting at the lobby, made me more excited. After putting my bags in the room at 6:00pm, I stepped outside to go buy groceries. I was not familiar with the road but took a walk to a place called Valor, about 20 minutes away. I was able to buy bananas, water, and some other items totaling 1,600yen. My backpack became very convenient to carry all the items. I stepped out to look for a place to eat after coming back, but I could not find a good place so I ended up eating at the hotel which was better than expected. I ordered two meals. I met with folks from Philippine who are coming for triathlon race. Returned to my room and went to bed around 11:00pm with the A/C on.

The room at the hotel

Valor, a supermarket

Dinner #1 Beef Stew set 1,100Yen Dinner #2 Beef and Tofu Bowl, 670Yen


2014/5/31 Registration and Setup Day (28.0/18.9)

 Dokan saka

Pictures from morning jog

Seven gods Dokan Saka Oven Oven
Old style Japanese house Old Style Japanese house Looking at Tokoname rural area  
Oven Former factory?   Monument at Tokoname station

Woke up at 5:00am as usual, I could hear the sound of train running and the sky is getting brighter. I went for a morning jog, enjoyed Tokoname’s fine ware culture. Come back to the room, took shower then come down for the breakfast. I left the hotel and took a train to the airport around 9:00am to attend a briefing at 10:00am. I thought about going to the expo but actually the place was busy. I gave up on buying stuffs. I followed other people and took a seat at the room.

Took a bus back to the airport, dragged my bike case to the train station and come back to the hotel. Ate dinner again at the hotel, going to bed around 10:00pm and I need to get up early tomorrow.


Banner I found in a train



The briefing started on time, and finished at 10:50am, registered myself after lining behind a long line. When I am done, I was tired, and was almost noon. I ate Oyako don and that’s where I met with a couple from Nara. I guess event brings good opportunity meeting people.

People lining up for the registration


Come back to the hotel once by a train, then I quickly took my bike case back to the airport. They had sign for the parking and thought it was very close but it was like 10 minute walk, dragging my bike was not fun. Even once I arrived, the parking did not have a bus so I had to wait, chatting with other people. The bus ride took us to the Shin-Maiko’s beach where the event will be held. After arriving there, I began building my bike, checking functions. I had to borrow an air pump from a person nearby, while I let another use my tools. When we have a need, there is always a help. At the bike inspection, my bike and helmet got stickers and hanged my bike at 403, which is my bib. I also hanged my transition bags. The beach was preparing for the race tomorrow, and the sun was getting lower and lower and changing its color to orange. It’s time to go back to the airport. 

 Shuttle bus to the beach To the beach

Bike check  Bike set 

Bikes, Bikes!

Shin-Maiko Sun Beach

Evening at Tokoname Boat


 Good night...

2014/6/1 Ironman 70.3 Centrair Race Day (32.5/18.3)

I woke up at 4:30am with help of alarm clock, get ready for the day. I get on a shuttle bus leaving Tokoname station at 5:50am, and was dropped off at the event site at 6:30am. I packed my transition bags with water bottles, Pocari Sweat, bananas. I realized because I am not carrying a wallet today, I was not carrying my wallet but had a Manaca with me so I did not have issue with getting water before the race. I get my body marked by 7:00am and waited by the beach, calculated how much the shadow moves and took my position. There were a couple of people I can talk with, which was nice, relaxing and enjoyable. Before the race, I took a plunge in the water without wetsuit. It was at 23C just enough for me to wear the wetsuit.

Good morning

Getting ready for the race...


The race began at 8:30am, the sun was already up high and if I zip up the suit, I would sweat so bad. I lined up for the start wearing light blue cap. Since I was in the second wave, even though it was a standing start, many people going into the water by walk so I walked too. Began swim toward the first buoy then made a left. It was not so bad at first but on the way out, but still I had to struggle with people cannot keep the heading right. I had to stop a few times but on the way back was easy.
Approaching to the shore, stand up and began running up the hill to gtab the transition bag at a tent. I changed my cloth for the bike. Drink Pocari Sweat and packed my goggles, wetsuit and other items into the transition bag, handed to a volunteer as I walk out. I grabbed my bike and hurried toward the mounting station and headed out. I messed up my tri-watch so I had to reset as I began to pedal. The first lap was something I needed to be careful since this is my first lap. I cross a bridge, then made a left to a pathway, jumped over a scale and made a U-turn before coming back to the main road. I already seen people with injuries and broken bicycles laying around, I need to be very careful because I do not want to go home hurt. Kept going up north, zipped thru the first no-pass zone and made another left turn to Lixil plant. In the inside, they had a group of people cheering so it was fun, the course was pretty tricky, made a right at the end, moved north a bit and U-turn, make left, right then left before heading back to the main road. I made one more to the left before turn around U-turn and headed back to the transition area. I made the first two just fine, taking energy gel and drinking water. I took a break at water station to cool myself and refill water. I made the rest of two laps without accident. The fourth lap was much less crowded, and used the last energy gel before coming back to the transition area.
When I arrived to the transition, I was lead in to a tent where I can get changed inside. I felt it was like a trap because the inside was very hot and I saw a guy who was struggling to keep the body heat controlled. Began walking out from the tent and dropped off my bag. I grabbed all I can get at the first aid station. Sponge, Salt tablet, sports drink, water, energy gel, and water poured from the head. The first part was running by the beach, crossing a bridge and come back for the second lap, then went over another bridge to the mainland. The road from there was along the beach, I had to pick up a guy who tripped over… It was hot. I ran until get to Rinku Tokoname. There were a couple of sections which I needed to turn around and around, which made me cry because I can see the goal but still far. But I made it!


People at finishing area

Bike return, and transport service

Packed up and ready to go home.

After finishing the race, I have received a medal, returned the chip in exchange for the certificate and finisher’s T-Shirt. I ate and drink, chat with people then decided to go back. I took a train back to Tokoname from Rinku Tokoname, I had to wait for 15 minutes for the train to come at 4:25pm. Once I come back to the hotel room, I took a shower and rested. I get changed around 5:00pm and left the room to pick up my bike and transition bags. After arriving at the airport station, I drag my bike case to the parking, packed my bike. I had to giveaway CO2 cartridges since I cannot take them to the airplane. By 6:30pm, I am done packing and again I drag the case back to the airport station, took a train back to the Hotel. I dropped off and thought about going to the party but I needed to wait 20 minutes before the train arrives. I was tired so I decided to just eat at nearby Izakaya. Had dinner by myself but soon joined by three more, one from Okinawa, two were other participants. Left around midnight, went to bed.


2014/6/2 Coming back to the U.S.  (27.6/20.8)

In the morning, to the airport


I woke up at 5:00am and began packing. Unlike the last couple of days here, the weather was cloudy and humidity was high. Around 8:30am, I took my bike case to the airport to keep it at the storage service until I check in. Came back to the hotel at 9:30am to continue packing then took shower before checking out from the hotel at 10:00am. I walked around for the one last time before heading to the airport. I get on a train leaving Tokoname at 11:21am, and checked in after arriving at the airport terminal. I had to pay 15,000 Yen for the oversized baggage this time which is more expensive than the U.S.! After checking in at the counter, I went upstairs, downstairs, and had noodle for lunch before proceeding to the security screening.

Ramen before flight

Flight to Narita: UA9738 NGO(2:40PM JST) – NRT(3:50PM JST)

Waiting at the gate with not many people is no fun. The boarding began smoothly and departed on time at 2:40pm. The plane took off to the south but I do not quire remember because I was sitting in the aisle seat and fell sleep. I woke up when the plane landed. It was a nice rest.

Waiting for the boarding to start

Flight to Houston: UA2 NRT(6:55PM JST)- IAH(4:55PM CDT)

Narita airport figure in comical traditional style
 Sushi and Edamame at lounge  Getting on the plane from gate 27

Because I need to get ticket to Houston, I walked to the departing counter to get myself checked in again. I had time so I walked around a little then move to the security, passport check, duty free shop then the lounge because I paid $500 for the upgrade. I had some sushi, edamame but did not feel like drinking beer, I don’t want to get drunk before flight and get sick or something. I went in with the first group at 6:15pm, took a seat and was served with orange juice. The captain said he wants to leave early and the plane left the gate on time at 6:55pm JST, took off sooner. The dinner was served in Japanese style, and I watched “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, and a short documentary about Marugame Uchiwa. I had to miss the desert since the air got turbulent. I fell asleep until the breakfast was served before arrival. I watched the new “Robocop” until the plane landed. It was a nice trip back to the U.S.



Landed at Houston

Coming home from the airport

Getting out from the plane at 4:50pm and walked to immigration process. I lined up at 4:00pm and finally passed the section after 6:00pm. Picking up my bags then I took a shuttle van to the parking. I left the parking at 6:45pm after loading my items and began heading to home. Stopped by at Sushi Jin for dinner around 7:30pm and headed home. Began doing laundries and unpacking. I went to bed around 2:00am.

Driving home




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