Japan day 6
Japan day 6
I woke up this morning forgetting where I was. I opened my eyes and, yes, I was at ground level as I would be in my tent…..but I was not in my tent. I was lying on a futon (not my air mattress) and I was under a mountain of soft duvet (and not in my sleeping bag)….and what’s more, I was in a tatami bedroom….
a bedroom that is absolutely minimalist: futon, duvet and tatami matting…..nothing else.
I was the guest of Young June OH and his family (wife and two little girls)……and they welcomed me into their family home for the night. So how did this happen, you might ask.
Well I became a member of Warmshowers.org, the cyclists-only equivalent of Couchsurfers. It’s made up of an international group of cycling enthusiasts who open their houses to host cyclists passing through their area. And last night was my first experience of being hosted.
For reasons of their privacy, no photograph is posted here, but they were the most charming family you could imagine. OH is Korean, and he met his wife (Japanese) in India. Their faltering English at the time was their only shared language, but further years of study and travel have much improved their fluency. They now live in a house that they built themselves,
and have two beautiful little daughters, one of whom engaged me in singing English nursery rhymes over breakfast, some of which she already knew from kindergarten.
It was a delight to stay with them, enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast….and as I left, a little pack-up was thrust in my hand for the road. Experiences like that are the stuff of life.
(And to boot, having unlimited access to free WiFi, I was able to Skype my dear wife….for me at 7.30am, for her at 10.30pm….we were straddling two different days).
From a height of 600 metres, my route to Beppu was largely downhill,
several layers of clothing protecting me from the deep chill. Had I had the time, I might have stayed a while to explore some of volcanic-related offerings of Beppu, especially the hot springs and the seething cauldrons known as the ‘hell ponds’, but time was pressing, and I needed to catch the 14.00 ferry to Yawatahama,
leaving the island of Kyushu behind and heading over the water to the island of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. The 3 hour crossing would give me time to relax and review my schedule for the coming days.
But I’m pleased to note that I am still bang on the draft schedule I made out for myself before departure.
As I upload this, I have my eyes on a Shinto Shrine for camping out tonight. Wish me luck…..