Japan day 29

Japan day 29
Oshamanbe-Tomakomai 146 km
Never knowingly in my life, not even as a sweet burbling infant in my mother’s arms, have I been known to sleep continuously for 9 hours. But I did last night on my futon. Nature’s response to yesterday? I sleepily dragged myself up from the floor-level mattress, prodded my leg, put my weight on it gingerly and……yes it seemed to be working OK, though still a bit painful. And it seemed to endure my customary morning yoga stretching…..so we were in business.
The dinner and breakfast I had at the ryokan were fulsome and nutritious….and very Japanese…..rice with everything, and lots of little bowls filled with mysterious things. All veritable journeys of discovery.

If yesterday’s route was the journey from hell, today’s was a blessing from heaven. Dawn broke with the sun shining and the winds light. And this man was ready for business once again.


So would this man make up the deficit from yesterday?

Although a mainly flat route hugging the coast, there was a big climb at the 10km point, that took me to above 500 metres (1600 feet), then riding at elevation with lots of climbing and descending for the next 20km, before hurtling back down to the coast. And thank goodness the snow chains weren’t required.


There was a special layby for vehicles to pull over and fit their snow chains before attempting the pass. All the while I mused on what the conditions on this pass had been like yesterday, when I should have been climbing it. Raining at sea level, but what was it doing at 500 metres? It was surely providence, in the guise of an untimely accident, that had kept me from attempting it yesterday.
The average pace was fast, completing the 146km (91 miles) by 4pm, which happily included the deficit from yesterday.

When I got to Tomakomai, I went straight to Information and explained clearly (in English) that I wanted a hotel with hot spring. The two ladies at the desk immediately jumped to attention, there was animated activity for several minutes, leaflets were brought out, but communication once again was conducted on the PC via Google Translate, and getting the detail correct was a huge hurdle for them. With or without breakfast/shower/hot spring/smoking or non-smoking…. Once we got a hotel booked, one of them typed into Google Translate, and came up with: “I sorry for my no English”.

In the hotel, wearing the ‘fetching’ yukata to go up to the onsen on the top floor


…..I headed up to the 9th floor, and carefully studied the dos and donts of using the onsen


……and made sure I didn’t brush my teeth, or dye my hair in the pool, or fall asleep in the hallway…..and how anyone can contemplate swimming in a pool that’s no more than 10×6 feet…..well, it’s a stretch of the imagination.
And yes, I did ‘enjoy at hot spring’.


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 18, 2015, in End-to-End of Japan 3000kms and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Alke-Brigitte

    Hi Frank,

    …and, yes I enjoy your daily news from Japan after a long and warm shower in my little bathroom.

    Furthermore all the best for your trip.

  2. Hi Frank, seems like you had a tough day yesterday. Good to see your keeping that mind over matter attitude. Stay safe and gods speed. Sy

  3. Keeping me chuckling, I’m sure their English is better than your Japanese though.

    • Absolutely right……but then they’ve had 10 years of learning English at Junior High and High School……..compared to my two hour cram on the flight out!

      • I’m sure you are deploying the occasional “ohayo gozaimasu” and “konnichiwa” and “konbanwa”, not to mention “arigato (gozaimasu)” and “sumimasen”! My blond five year old son got very favourable looks for trying the occasional “arigato” (kawaii!).

        Ichi, ni, san, shi, go…

        No doubt you have your own specialist vocabulary too – a bit of Google-ing suggests “jitensha” means “bicycle”?

      • I’d love to say my fluency has moved forward by leaps and bounds…..the reality is, it is still limited to pleasanteries and ‘survival’ vocabulary. But when you’re riding a bike all day, who needs more?

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