It’s been two month that I’m in Japan, It was for me the opportunity to share Japanese daily life, living a bit with locals without my bike.
While arriving here, I had two objectives: make a new passport (my current one is full of visas) and asking for my Chinese visa. Meanwhile, I wanted to visit Yohann, a French friend living here since around ten years. I hadn’t seen him since 2002
Small story about Nippon’s life
Barely down of the ferry linking Korea and Japan, that I meet Mizuki. He just came to talk with me while I was eating on a bench. I planned cycling a bit today, but when he invite me to his home, I find this proposition much better than cycling…
One hour later, I’m relaxing in a deck chair, under a warm sun with a fresh beer in my hand… No, Japan, couldn’t start better. On top of that, tonight it’s BBQ with Mitsuko’s parents, his wife and kids and some of his neighbors.
Few days later as I was Leaving Shikoku island to join Honshu (the main island), a man came to me on the ferry, His name is Jiro and he is living on Shōdoshima island.
He belongs of WWOOF program (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), so this is naturally that he proposes me coming to his farm.
Barely down of ferry at Shōdoshima, I took direction of his small farm… it climbs slightly but it’s a happiness getting a shelter (it rains for three days) and having a warm shower. Tonight I also have my own bedroom and a true bed. To top it all, we eat some vegetables of the garden deliciously cooked by his wife and, Oli and Ploy, two English who came to give a hand for few days.
Unfortunately I cannot stay long time there, I have to be in Kyoto in two days to redo my passport. So, next day, I’m back on the road.
Quick passing through Kyoto. Hard to visit the city due to my bicycle and all my luggage, so I decided to have a rest in a park, waiting the evening where I’m supposed to meet Koki my host.
While I was resting, I met Toako, who intrigued by my bike start, as she can conversation, with a mix of Japanese, English and Spanish… I’ll meet her again in the afternoon, while leaving the park.
Next day, while I was visiting a bit Kyoto (enjoying to leave my bike at Koki’s place) a car honks me, It’s Toako again, this time she invite me on her Mexican restaurant, not so far from the place I was. So tonight to change on pasta, it’ll be mexican salad, tacos, burritos, paella and home made mango yogurt…
Next destination: Iijima.
In Iijima, I meet, Yohann, a French friend who have found happiness in Japan (His wife and their 3 kids). It make 13 years that I haven’t seen him, so I couldn’t imagine coming in Japan without coming there.
No really plans while coming there, I’m here for an unknown duration… I still have 3 weeks waiting before my passport arrive in Tokyo, so I enjoy. My bedroom is Japanese style with sliding doors and tatami on the floor, and of course i slept on a futon.
About communication, Yohann is my translator, and fortunately, cause just arrived, press is already there…It owe me three articles in the press and a meeting with the mayor.
After all, I stayed two weeks there, just time I was needed to clean and dry my stuff, cause with humidity everything start to mold and smelling very bad. It’s also occasion to clean my bike. And of course occasion to get out a bit, meeting new people and visiting Nagano province. A huge thank to Yohann for these two weeks.
My passport is arrived in Kyoto, it should follow in Tokyo so it’s time for me to leave.
On my way I pass by Tokyo airport before going to Tokyo. There I meet Marion, she is arriving from Italy with Fol’Dingo her bicycle. After a bit more than 2500 km in France and Italy, she took a flight to Japan, so we’ll continue together. Up to where, when ? Like with Amir, the future will tell.
My solo adventure is over after a bit more than one month, but it’s with pleasure that I leave with Marion.
In Tokyo, we are first hosted by Roman, a Romanian who teach Japanese literature… then we move at Mio’s place, a friend of Aya that I met one year ago in Istanbul, this is also a good opportunity to see Aya. Then we move to Kazu (Kazumoto) and Tomo’s place where we met Tom, an Australian cyclist and the Saito’s family (owner of Kazu’s home)
Tom get back on the road next day, we stay a bit with Kazu and Tomo, waiting for our Chinese visa. While waiting, we visit Tokyo and in the evening, play with Mr. Saito’s daughters.
As soon as we get our Chinese visa, we can go, but a typhoon is in approach, so we stay one day more. The typhoon season is there, weather is wet and hot. Next typhoon is already in approach from Japan
Small bend to call on Yohann before leaving his paradise island, we take the opportunity to send back in France a box with some useless stuff… Still 9 Kg!
We also book our ferry to Shanghai, it leaves Osaka 31st, which should be ok to join Osaka if the typhoon leaves us, but nothing is sure.
Daily, temperatures get over 40°c, humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, we sweat, we tights. Today around end of morning, we ended last pass of the day, this afternoon, it’ll be downhill only, so let’s have a break close to a very small lake, but under shadow of course.
While were having a rest, a woman came to us talking in French, it’s Emi, a Japanese woman, she learned French in Africa. She is living close to here and came to see us for talking a bit (after her neighbor warn her that he have seen a French flag on bicycles). She invites us to her place, and it’s with her husband, neighbor and their kids that we have lunch today
Unfortunately our ferry is booked in Osaka, we haven’t time to stay there longer. But it was really a nice meeting. Thanks Emi
We are almost in Osaka, but tonight, weather is getting bad, we have to find soon a place to camp, all right, it’ll be close to a dam (well, not so close). For shower we are going little bit upper on the river. While Marion was having her shower in the river we met a woman, walking with her dog. I think she had pity of us, regardless, she propose us to have a « true » shower at her place, not so far. Let’s go.
We are arriving to Takeki and Kazumi’s place, not really time to sit down, that we have a meal ready.
Finally they invite us for sleeping on a true bedroom, for them, the riverside looks too dangerous for us… We leave only the next morning after a good night and super breakfast. Osaka is not so far.
Beyond these meetings, and moments shared, Japan is a green island, where as soon you get out of city, you can get lost in mountains, cycling up and down, and up and down again… So as soon as possible I left main roads to get lost in this jungle, taking roads as small as possible and all right for gradient. This is the way I discovered japan, alternating between rice plantation landscapes and forests, rivers and temples lost in mountains here and there…
But for that pictures tell more than words.
And some pictures of Tokyo
Now, direction Shanghai…
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