Japan day 17

Japan day 17
Tsuruga-Kaga 123 km
A question to my UK friends: are you enjoying the election campaign? You probably think I made a smart move by being out of the country, but let me tell you that no sooner had I left the ryokan this morning when I was canvassed for my vote. Believe me….
What I hadn’t bargained on was that Japan was going to have its own election campaign at the very same time, and that I might be constantly canvassed for my vote. Everywhere I go, cars full of party devotees, all waving to anyone (and no-one), recorded messages blasting out from loudspeakers…..I stopped to photograph this little group

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….when the lady candidate scurried over to me to bow and shake my hand profusely, saying repeatedly. “Arigato, arigato….thank you, thank you”…..for what I don’t know, but I was the only person who stopped, everyone else just ignored them, and continued with their daily business.

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Candidates stand on street corners speaking to everyone (and no-one)…..I haven’t seen any of them actually engage with members of the public and find out what people are thinking. I suspect this is just one of the many ingredients that make up the Japanese version of non-confrontational democracy. Not for them the angry exchanges and political punch-ups so characteristic of British democracy.
Anyway, I’ve decided to give my vote here to the highest bidder…I’m afraid a friendly wave from a car is just not good enough.

When I headed out of Tsuruga, predictably the rains arrived to see me off. But it was a simple route today…..just hug the coast and go north……could anything go wrong? Yes, you’ve got it….my glasses were so clouded by the rain that I missed a vital turn, followed the traffic going up some steep climbs, and through fairly hostile tunnels

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….but my route notes told me there were no extended climbs today. 35 kms into the ride, I switched on my phone GPS, discovered the error, and tracked across some mountains to get back on my original coastal route. The change in traffic and riding environment was dramatic. After several days battling with traffic congestion and never-ending traffic lights, I suddenly found myself cruising through sleepy fishing villages

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that hugged the sides of mountains, passing through cycle-friendly tunnels that revealed extraordinary views through wide crevices in the rocks

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After 3-4 hours lull in the rain, it started coming down again so heavily, and directly into my face, that I was at pains to see where I was going. It became prematurely dark as I got into Kaga, my intended destination being Komatsu, another 13 kms further on. But I limped into the first hotel I found, got to my room and filled the bath to the brim……where I stayed for the next half an hour, with a cup of green tea as my Japanese companion. Pure bliss….!

As I looked at the extended weather forecast on my BBC weather app., I have to accept that the route north, following the Sea of Japan, is going to be cooler and wetter, and in another 10 days, I will cross to the most northerly island of Hokkaido, where the skiing season is still in full swing. That’s when my luggage weight will decrease dramatically…….why? Because I will be wearing most of it…. 🙂

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on April 6, 2015, in End-to-End of Japan 3000kms. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Can’t believe you are on day 18 already. I haven’t been on wordpress for a while so will need to go back and read your travel tales.

  2. Frank you have me on my seat waiting for the next blog
    Great distraction from the election
    There is something about non confrontational democracy
    Enjoy your ride
    But get some warm clothes!!
    Patrick

  3. Great blog Frank, and don’t think you’re missing out on much UK election wise. Politicians being politicians mainly. Not really sure who to vote for, they’re all a bit duff. Looking forward to leaving it behind and getting on the road myself in a few weeks time!

  4. Love the tunnel photo’s and following your progress.

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