Japan day 30
Japan day 30
Tomakomai-Sapporo 88 km
In the closing stages of my journey from Cape Sata to Cape Soya, thinking there are few surprises remaining beyond reaching my goal, having the end-of-journey photos taken, catching my plane and going home. This complacent mindset, however, was to be rudely disabused. Last night, I spent an astonishing evening in the company of veteran and would-be world travellers. Warmshowers continues draw new, and inspiring, people into my trek to the northernmost cape. Which in itself provides the spur to keep those pedals turning.
Although today’s journey was, on paper, a relative ‘stroll in the park’ compared to previous days, Hokkaido was showing its characteristic stern benevolence: sunshine to lift the spirits, but a bitterly cold headwind that was blowing straight across from Siberia. It was one of those ‘head down, grit your teeth and just get on with the job’ days. You know the sort of day you often get at work…..you long for the end of the day, and when it comes, you are suddenly visited by a new burst of energy. My new burst of energy came in the form of meeting my hosts for the night.
Ken (Kenichi) came out to meet me with his young daughter Aki, on their bikes, to guide me to their house. There I met Hsiuhsia, his wife from Taiwan, ushered into the house, taken to my room, and then there began to unfold an evening that turned into an astonishing journey around the world. I was in the company of veteran world travellers who had taken time out of their lives to do some serious travelling on bicycles.
Some 14 years ago, Ken started a journey that lasted 4 years, taking him more than 55,000 km around the globe.
Hsiuhsia joined him whenever her work life permitted until, one day, she was made redundant and, sad though that was, it provided the perfect opportunity for her to join Ken on a more permanent basis.
Since then, they have become long-standing Warmshowers hosts, welcoming a huge variety of cyclists from around the world into their home.
The supper last night was not just a feast of food, but a feast of stories and memories, shared with two other friends, Aya and Shigeo
who, separately, will be embarking on their own world travels as ‘newbies’ in long-distance cycling.
The conversation was ‘wall-to-wall’ reminiscences about the past, dreams about the future and, in the case of Shigeo (who expects to start his 6 year journey in June), the practicalities of buying and kitting out his bike.
I could say so much more about the enthusiasm of these people, confirmed by the many and varied images of bikes around the house, and the ultimate homage to the world of cycling of keeping bikes stored in the bedroom.
Well, that’s the ‘burden’ of the multiple bike owner…..where do you keep them all?