Japan day 21

Japan day 21
Niigata-Michinoeki Atsumi Sharin 115 km
I told you of my tent partly collapsing last night. Well for the benefit of all those who were worried on my behalf (probably only one, and that possibly being my wife), the poles didn’t break after all. One of the telescopic sections hadn’t been secured properly, and that happened probably because I had pitched the tent as it was getting dark, to avoid being too conspicuous, and I probably fumbled around a bit. And so glad I brought a scarf , beanie and buff…great for keeping head and neck warm at night…..and the .nights have been cold…

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When I got up this morning at 5am (first light), expecting to slip away unobserved, there were already dozens of power walkers, joggers and stretchers out doing their thing. All around me was a hive of activity….probably one of the reasons why Japan has the greatest longevity of any nation. And in that, we have an economic time bomb about to explode. Too many old people and not enough babies being born. Japan needs to address the issue…..and I wonder if it features in any of the political gameplay of these elections?

I would have said that today was a routine day on the bike……..but it wasn’t really. Routine had come to mean ‘with a strong headwind’ in the last several days, but today there were long(ish) periods of calm. Unbelievable……I kept pinching myself.

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This turbine had either lost the joust with Don Quijote and his mate Sancho the Belly (Panza), or there was no wind, for it was totally becalmed. But alas, not for long…..

The beaches on much of this coastline following the Sea of Japan, suffer from very sad neglect.

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They are strewn with litter, making them both unsightly and unappealing. However, the last 50 km of my route today were stunningly beautiful.

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This stretch of coastline, including the little islands and rocky outcrops, appear to be National Park, and as the road sweeps around headlands and through tunnels, you are startled by new seascapes, and rocks with arches, and islands that have been colonised by gannets.

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Tonight, I have found a quiet little shrine, where I will sleep in the enclosed entrance foyer. So glad I wasn’t carrying Zenda’s heavy bike, because I was able to lift both my bike and luggage up the 100 or so steps to the shrine……where I can hide away for the night and not be disturbed (I hope).

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And to finish with a little amusing observation….I so love the way the ministry of transport apologises for the inconvenience of roadworks.

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The instantly recognisable humility of the Japanese bow……’we are so very very sorry to have to inconvenience you….please forgive us’. And who wouldn’t……?
D’you think roadworks in the UK might benefit from a bit of ministerial grovelling?

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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 11, 2015, in End-to-End of Japan 3000kms and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Andrew Pooley

    I always open your blog and its fascinating to read about a country that I have never visited – yet we all believe we know because we buy their goods. Hope the wind is now pushing you on.
    Go well
    Andrew

  2. Frank, I have nominated you for the Real Neat Blog Award. See my most recent post (https://pedalworks.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/real-neat-blog-award/).

    I’m enjoying your post as you head north.

  3. I have just caught up with all 21 pages at a sitting Frank – makes it more like reading a book than a series of blog posts which has been thoroughly enjoyable.

    I am hoping there is a nice warm, dry tail wind that emerges to provide the book with its buoyant next few chapters.

  4. jenniferburns1

    Is that snow or frost?!? No wonder you’re wrapped up – it’s warm enough for the pear blossom to start peeping through here! Much cooler today than yesterday ‘tho.

  5. jenniferburns1

    P.S. love the sign!

  6. So happy to hear that you had less headwind today.

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