Japan day 27

Japan day 27
Hakodate-Mori 123 km
One of the great things about cycling is that it is a great leveller. Even more so when you are travelling long distance on your own. It levels out social, economic, ethnic and generational differences to a degree that you find yourself making friends with people that wouldn’t normally feature in your circle of contacts.
That is what happened yesterday. My host, via Warmshowers, was Hiroaki,

image

a marine biology undergraduate at Hakodate University, now in his final year, but also a cyclist (the proud owner of a 30 year old classic Japanese road bike) who has the distinction of having ridden some 20,000 km across Canada and the USA. He sheepishly admitted to carrying far too much luggage, to the extent that the frame of his bike broke under the strain!
He expertly cooked a great pasta dish for our supper, I slept on my Thermarest on the floor of his tiny bedsit, and for breakfast we enjoyed toast and coffee together….. characteristically very un-Japanese from this well travelled, and linguistically fluent, young man. He welcomed me graciously into his life for 12 hours, and I thoroughly enjoyed his company, and learned many things about Japan and its people.

(His field of research, by the way, is ‘crabs’. So what brings together a retired teacher and a young marine biologist studying crabs?……the answer , of course, is cycling……the great leveller).

If I were to go north to Cape Soya directly, I could be there in 5-6 days, but it would mean climbing to levels of elevation where cycling could be very tricky, and even dangerous. Not to mention the bitter cold of the slowly receding winter.
Also, Hokkaido happens to be the most beautiful and unspoilt of the four islands, where the brown bear still survives, and where most of the landmass is officially designated National Park.
This is the island where there are still vestiges of the ancient Ainu people, who were the original settlers, but whose existence was only officially recognised by the government 7 years ago.

In other words, it’s not my intention to make a dash for Soya, but to take in some of the peninsulas and capes, as I thread my way north.
Today’s route was superb….both because the first 50 km were wind assisted, and it took me around the cape where the famous smoking volcano, Mt Esan, is located.

image

The coastal road around the entire peninsula was ‘pitted’ with dozens of tunnels, one over 1.5 miles in length

image

and another ominously narrow, with no sidewalk ……but there was so little traffic, I began to wonder if I had left Japan altogether.

All along the coastline, there are constant reminders of the dangers of tsunamis

image

and advisory signs telling you your current height above sea level.I found myself constantly gazing out to sea…..and not just to admire the views!

image

When I got to Mori, I decided I was done for the day, there was only an hour to sunset, and the temperature was plummeting. My plan was to persuade the staff at the station to let me camp down in the waiting room, but they said they locked it up at midnight after the last train of the day.
The most amusing thing about this encounter was the young ticket clerk using the voice translator on his iPad for communication. He got me to speak to the device, say what I wanted, and he listened to the Japanese translation. But he just fell about laughing….. And when he spoke some Japanese into it, and I listened to the English version, I just fell about laughing.

Anyway, after all the fun and the failure to communicate, I had to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to crash somewhere warm, so I booked into a little ryokan, had fun trying to hold a sustained conversation with the landlady, then went for a soak in the already-prepared bath……making sure, of course that I showered beforehand, and didn’t leave any soap suds in the bath water…..the simple reason being that others may use the same water for their soak.
So how does your non-Japanese mind cope with that prospect…..?

Advertisements

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 16, 2015, in End-to-End of Japan 3000kms and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. ” …. the simple reason being that others may use the same water. Not a foreign concept us North-Easterners in the early 50s! The only difference was the our tin bathtub spent 6.9 days of the week hanging in the yard and soap suds were encouraged. Fascinating.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Looking For 42

Traveling the world looking for the meaning for life (and whatever else I might find along the way)

Off The Beaten Path

Inside news from Bicycle Quarterly and Compass Bicycles

Bike 5

A better way to get where you're going.

Kite*Surf*Bike*Rambling

KITESURFING, CYCLING, SUP: ramblings, idiocy and not much more

Cycling Dutch Girl

the only certainty is change

4000milestothesea

On a bicycle from coast to coast across the USA

CyclingEurope.org

Europe... on a bicycle

Self Propelled

Self propelled adventures through life; blogging on cycling, touring, micro-adventures, general shenanigans, and environmental news

chrisp666

Cycling across Europe, Cornwall to Munich

fossilcycle

FOSSIL - A Fine Old Senior Soul In Lycra

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for meaning...in between leg shavings

2 l o v e c y c l i n g

It's about cycling ... and other travels

There And Back Again

Life at 15 miles per hour

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Well it should be, shouldn't it?

Bike Around Britain

Blog on cycling around the coast of Britain

David Noble's Blog

Life, Loves and Living

weston.front

The Weston Front - the destination of a road less travelled...

The Innocent Bikestander

It can be better

Bike, Banjo & Baby

They go together so well

Something for Kiki and the Pok

the adventures of Christopher Yardin - by plane, bike, through a lens, or the eyes of a child

Bricycling...

Cycling Blog

Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

Travel adventures on wheels and legs

THE SPORTSWOOL DIARIES

................."Cherry picking the nicest places in the world to cycle"

Gippsland Granny

Musings from Metung

Serendipities of life

Taking the road less travelled

I Do Not Despair

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

Tom’s Bike Trip

Adventures and experiments in two-wheeled travel

All Seasons Cyclist

Real World Product Reviews For Avid Cyclists

machacas on wheels

Taking the road less travelled

%d bloggers like this: