When we originally started this blog, we figured we’d probably be able to update it every couple of days or even every day with little anecdotes and videos and pictures. You’d feel like you were right here with us, feeling what we feel, smelling what we smell….Unfortunately, we have not yet lived up to our own expectations, and for that, we are sorry. It’s been busy on the road.
We’ve been biking A LOT this week, and that his left little time to reflect or send updates of our progress. We have been eating a lot and sleeping a lot too, but we’ve been averaging about 65/70km days. Waking up around 5 and trying to get on the road around 7 and then getting to our rest stop around late afternoon to make some dinner, sometimes treat ourselves to an onsen (we’ve enjoyed about 10 now, and I am keen to write a post just describing the onsen experience alone – so I’ll get to that one of these days), and then setting up our tent in the dark in a prime spot we’ve scoped out earlier with as much privacy as possible, and then, exhausted, going to sleep around 8. So, we haven’t been “slowing down” quite as much as I had hoped, but we do want to bike this whole country before our flight from Fukuoka on October 26th (and have two weeks of Wwoofing in there), so we have to do long days like this for a while.
The landscapes have been beautiful in this area: at first lots of rice fields and little rivers running through them, and then once we’ve hit the coast, beautiful vistas of dark rocky crags and long beaches and green hills sloping up above us as we meander back and forth following the coastline. I have to remind myself to keep my head up and enjoy the view (while maneuvering along some pretty tight, sometimes pot-holed sidewalks as we try to stay off the road as much as possible where there hasn’t been much of a shoulder).
So, we’ve now been on the main island of Japan (Honshu) for a week and It’s definitely been hotter here than Hokkaido. Not being a fan of the heat, it’s been tough pushing through and making sure we stay hydrated and preventing sunburn adequately enough. We are both getting some pretty wacky tan lines which Christian has nicely accented with a ton of mosquito bites and a wicked scrape on his arm when he came to close to a wall we had to squeeze ourselves by. We certainly are looking and smelling pretty fantastic even after only two weeks on the road.
The most exciting thing that has happened to us in the last couple of days has been seeing the Emperor of Japan. Twice. We were just biking along through a town called Sakata (meaning alcohol field apparently…) and started noticing lots of policemen and small crowds of people with Japanese flags along the opposite side of the road as us. It was getting to be around that time of the morning for our second breakfast, so we decided to pull over at a 7/11 and also find out what was going on. Turns out His Majesty the Emperor Aki Hito (the last living monarch in the entire world that still goes by the title Emperor apparently) was driving by in his cavalcade in 20 minutes time. Figuring it was a pretty good reason to take a break, we bought some egg salad sandwiches and a carton of coffee flavoured milk, waited in the shade for the policeman to escort us to a small crowd up the road and sure enough, there is the emperor and the empress driving past us with their window rolled down, waving right at us. I swear they looked right at us (we do tend to stick out like sore thumbs around here). And then, once we arrived out our final stop for the day, sure enough, the emperor is coming again! We expected him to show up driving along with his entourage again, but then he ended up being in a fancy train that we had perfect view of from our rest stop, although it was much harder to see him the second time as the train was moving pretty fast. The footage we have of both viewings isn’t great, but we’ll try to post something up soon so you believe us.
It’s way past my bedtime and I write this awkwardly as I lie scrunched up in our tent, with Christian passed out asleep beside me hear but we will try and keep you in the loop as and when we can and have lots of videos and pictures to come when we finally take a day off sometime in the near future. Love to all!
Musician, teacher, traveller. Currently on a year-long journey around the world. Bronwyn is one of the founders of onlyamazingdays.com.