Stop and go

Stop and go

The ferry ride went smoothly and the next afternoon I arrived in Oarai at the harbor. I was greeted there on the second night by a typhoon.

At first it started to rain and around midnight the tropical cyclone hit the mainland with full force. With all my strength I had to hold my tent so as not to be blown away. Sleep was out of the question that night.

Back in Tokyo, I was able to replace my Brooks saddle, which is slowly worn after two and a half years. The saddle, a new credit card and other spare parts sent my mother to Nicole post office (a former classmate living in Tokyo).

It's not so easy to send a parcel of spare parts around the world. A big thank you at this point to the bike shop Leuthold, my mother and Nicole for the whole organization.

Since my visa expired slowly and I wanted to visit an old companion, I soon had to get back in the saddle. After 3 days I reached the mountain village Jukkoku. Clive has lived there for 1 year.

I met him for the first time in Sudan and then again in Ethiopia. He is originally from England but has been living in Japan for almost 25 years. He invited me to spend a few days with him in the Kakurinbo Temple, where he works.

There I was able to help with a Noh-theatrical performance and got the unique opportunity to see it for myself. No (Japanese 能) is a form of traditional Japanese theater traditionally played (danced) by men only and musically accompanied. Mostly the main actor (Shite) wears a mask.

Time flew by and after 4 days I had to say goodbye to Clive. With a lot of traffic we continued on narrow streets. But pretty soon the next visit came.

Noguchi-san (an artist who also works in the temple) and her husband had invited me. For 3 days I was hired by them according to all the rules of the art.

At the same time the Otsukimi, which we visited in Yoro, took place. Tsukimi (Japanese 月 見, dt "Moon Show"), also Otsukimi (お 月 見), is a Japanese festival in honor of the autumn moon as the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese Moon Festival.

It's not easy for me to keep going after so much hospitality. On we went through the mountains to Kyoto. There I wanted to visit some temples. In pouring rain I arrived there.

The people of Japan, like the Chinese, always travel in large groups. Busloads of people arrived at the first temple. In the meantime, I am allergic to such situations. Only the escape helps.

So I renounced from then on the visit of sights. The island of Honshu is densely populated. Most of the time I had a hard time finding a place to sleep and had to drive around the area for a long time after a long day until I found a place to sleep.

Playgrounds I found almost best in dry weather. However, I often had to look for a roof over my head again, because it was always raining heavily and everything was under water.

I really could not enjoy the time on the bike. The narrow streets and the many traffic dragged on my nerves. Fortunately, the Japanese are quite considerate (except for the truck drivers).

Another problem is the many traffic lights. At 100 meters usually follow several traffic lights. Constantly I had to stop again and never got into a rhythm. The invention of a roundabout has not yet arrived in Japan.

In Hiroshima, of course, a visit to the Peace Memorial Park was not missing. The US atomic bombings on Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, were the first and only two nuclear weapons deployments in war to date.

Besides the monument, I also visited the museum. There I found it interesting once to get the Japanese view presented. Some passages are quite different from our history books.

The atomic bomb explosions killed a total of about 100,000 people immediately - almost exclusively civilians and forced laborers abducted by the Japanese army. Consequential damages died by the end of 1945, another 130,000 people. In the next few years, many were added.

I had made the last leg to Shimonoseki after a few days. In the pouring rain I reached the harbor and was glad to take a ferry to Busan in South Korea that same evening.

At this point, I would like to make an exception but not a conclusion but simply deeply thank all people in Japan. I rarely met such friendly and great people in my life. Every day I was totally overwhelmed by her warmth.

Every time I had a low, someone turned me on with a small gesture and if it was just a smile or a thumb up. Nice that there is still a country on this planet where the principle "live and let live" works.

The security here is incredible. Even in the big cities, I never had any concerns that something could be stolen from me. I'll keep Japan in good memory forever and hope to come back one day. Arrigato gosaimas - you are the biggest!