Sunday, October 24, 2010

Its time to harvest the rice.  Also time for one more ride and camp. This time I went north up the Asahi river into the mountains.  I live in central Western Japan, also known as Chugoku.  The Southern portion is full of busy port towns like Hiroshima and Okayama (where I live).  The northern portion on the sea of Japan is much less populated and also where much of the ancient Chinese and Korean influence entered Japan hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Between the northern and southern coasts, the middle of the island is Mountainous.  On this trip, parts of the land reminded me of western North Carolina, and other parts reminded my of the Rockies in Idaho.  Either way, medicine for the soul.
Stay tuned.  The full super trip story goes up next.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Miss the U.S. 

but love Japan.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Travel By Other Means

So why a bicycle?  Well there are some practical reasons and some personal.  Practical reason number one is that a motorcycle is is crazy expensive to buy and operate in Japan unless you are going to have it for a while.  Secondly, my wife and I don't know if we will stay one year or two years.  It wouldn't make sense to buy a motorbike if I could only ride it for 6 months.  Cross that bridge when I come to it.

Personal reason 1: White line fever.  You don't know what you got till its gone.  In the states I had the ability to ride a motorbike into the sticks and crash under the stars on a regular basis.  Here, no motorbike, but I do have a seven speed bicycle and a superb railway system at my disposal.  I can hop on a train, go across the country with a bicycle in a bag, get off on the other side of Japan, put the wheels on the cycle and point yourself towards the country.  Not to mention that I can be in the country by bicycle in 15 min and the mountains in 45 min.from my apt.  So in short, a bicycle will do for now.

Personal Reason 2: I love bicycles and have since I was a child.  It is reasonable to say that they were my gateway to white line fever as a boy.  When I was 10 to12 I lived in the middle of flat, rural west Texas.  I had nothing to do with my summers except work in cotton fields in the morning and ride a murray 18 speed miles into no mans land when the ridiculous west texas temps waned in the evening.  In cooler seasons I would ride 20 and 30 miles, listening to tape cassettes of Led Zeppelin remasters, Use Your Illusion 1 and 2, and Master of Puppets.   Then I got a skateboard and we moved to a town.  Next time I got a bike was in college, when I started collecting 10 dollar thrift store bikes.  I used them to get to work from my apt. in Birmingham's southside.  Some got stolen, which was funny I guess.
So at this point I get another job slightly beyond the reach of a bicycle.  I couldn't stand the thought of driving a car to work.  I needed two wheels and no roof.  You can guess what happened next.

So motorcycles added fuel to the white line fever, no pun intended.  And I went further and further.  I wanted to ride every road in Alabama, then Tennessee, then the U.S.  I rode every chance I got, and dabbling in "modifications" to make what I was riding "better"for traveling.  And here we are today.  Back to no motorcycle, but the fever remains.  Why not return to where I started, at least for now.  Not quite the same, but it serves at least the purpose of getting me out of town and under the starts for a night or two here and there.