Japan day 25

Japan day 25
Yamatate-Aomori 82 km
If I had known last night there was another Roadside Station just 8 km further down the road (and all downhill, to boot) would I have opted to move on? Even with that knowledge, I was not disappointed with my choice. My room turned out to be a tatami suite,

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with a great selection of high quality furniture, and the breakfast the following morning was a veritable journey of discovery

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…for the first time in my 25 days in Japan, I had to ask for a knife and fork to eat the egg and bacon that was cooking on a little table-top stove. The fact they had to hunt for them through all the cupboards told me that a ‘gaijin’ like me was a rare happening here.
In fact, because there were a lot of Japanese seniors at breakfast, I decided this was a government sponsored spa hotel, with prices subsidised in favour of the retired. The quality was, indeed, exceptional for the price.

As I was preparing the bike to leave, the young receptionist (who had been extremely courteous and helpful) handed me the following note

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….apologising for his lack of English. To write that note, he would have resorted to Google Translate……something which all smartphone-toting young people do all the time here in Japan. Within seconds they can find their answer…. One day, if they don’t already exist, we’ll all be carrying devices that will convert our native tongue into the foreign language of choice, something like the device used by Stephen Hawking. I’d certainly have a use for something like that right now. Former language teachers are not supposed to be tongue-tied in a foreign country……..are they?

En route to Aomori (my last stop on the island of Honshu) I wanted to spend at least three hours in Hirosaki, visiting the Castle

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….some of the many temples built in serried ranks along long avenues

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….and the 5 storey pagoda, proclaimed as one the most beautiful in Japan

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….but it was there I met two gentlemen with their folding Brompton bikes, one with a fine tan leather Brooks saddle

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…and I knew I was in the company of people who were prepared to pay for their quality hardware. (For those who don’t know, Brompton and Brooks are two British manufacturers famous the world over for their quality products).
My plan on arriving in Aomori was to stay the night and catch the ferry to Hokkaido in the morning…….. I am, however, tapping in this post on my phone on the early evening ferry, which will arrive at 9pm in Hakodate…..which is normally the time I fall asleep…..except that this head has nowhere to rest itself…….yet. Any suggestions?

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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 14, 2015, in End-to-End of Japan 3000kms and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I also noticed what looks like a Carradice bag on the front of one of the Bromptons.. 😉
    I read your posts with interest each day Frank.. I am envious of your spirit of adventure..

  2. Well now I’m very intrigued and will have to attempt eating an egg with chopsticks!

  3. Wow. I just read your entire 25 days in Japan until now. Looks like an amazing trip so far. A blogger called Fossil Cyclist recommended you to me because I arrived in Japan yesterday to cycle tour for a month. I arrived by flying into Osaka and will make my way to Tokyo, so nothing like your epic end-to-end trip. Your photos and tales of free camping have helped me get the courage to do it myself from tonight on (being Australian I am more accustomed to the police moving me on if I were to try camping wild in Oz). I am looking forward to reading more of your blog posts as I find internet access throughout my ride.

    Oh and the toilets here are something else aren’t they. I’ve just spent a lot of time in SE Asia where toilets are often disgusting at best so the warm seats and electronic options is pretty awesome 🙂

    Safe ride.

    • Same to you Andrew, and welcome onboard! I’ve just arrived in cold wet Hokkaido, so enjoy the relative warmth and ‘sakura’ of central Honshu.
      Look out for the Wi2 free wifi for visitors. Tourist Info. and 7/11 stores are also an option….or being a bold Aussie, just go into a hotel and ask to use theirs. They can only say ‘no’.
      Re. camping……I haven’t been hassled by anyone yet. So…..good luck!

      • I probably won’t get to cold wet Hokkaido. I am crossing Kansai on the Kii Peninsula on a route Osaka, Hongu, Kumano and Ise. Then who knows where I’ll go. Probably see I whether I can get a ferry across to Honshu and go try my luck around the Japanese Alps. Safe riding.

      • It is very cool (indeed even cold) here in Hokkaido. But of course very beautiful. Enjoy the warmer climes further south!

      • Wise words coming from a veteran mile-eater. Convenience stores are like oases in the desert…..fill up while you can. It happened today…..went over 40 miles without seeing one…..

  4. Hope you found a suitable place to spend the night.

  5. You say just one more island – how many more km’s have you got to go to get to ‘the other end’. As before I’m loving following your progress and appreciate your dedication to keeping us informed and amused.

    • Thanks for the kind comments. The direct route to Soya is shorter than mine, as I intend to avoid the higher elevations (cold weather and snow-bound) and I want to see something if this stunning island. Discounting the weather, this could be the best bit of the journey.

  6. That device for translation? That’ll be the Bablefish from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy 🙂 As for stopping, you know the first rule of touring; never pass a cafe and always stop at the first suitable place when it’s time. There may be a better place down the road but there usually isn’t.

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