In 783 hours I cycled 6818.30 miles(10,973km) to all of Japan’s 47 prefectures….piece of piss mate! NEXT!
Well ok, not quite, but on a serious note, apart from setting myself free from the womb back in the early 80’s this journey has been one of the most epic life challenges I have had to face to date. There have been an abundance of ups and downs, quite literally in every sense of the word, at times a bullet to the shin would have seemed far more appetizing than cycling through the likes of the Japanese Alps, especially in tropical storms, gale force winds, typhoons, rainy seasons, snow, freezing conditions, extreme humidity and whichever other nasty’s the elements decided to throw my way at its every whim. If anything, mother nature was far from kind and I would often impolitely question my being, my purpose…my mindset. But it was in these mountains that I often found myself, mountains crafted by cantankerous fault lines, yet also enabling an amazingly beautiful set of islands to be forged. A set of islands not only intrinsically clustered with natural beauty but also embedded deep for the best part with one of the most appealing and concrete of histories and cultures, a people of who’s hospitality towards me has been second to none. I’ve made some of the best friends I’m perhaps ever likely to encounter, countless times I would be touched by the kindness of a people of whom I am barely able to communicate with, being the stranger at the dinner table was a frequent occurrence, but I was treated as if I were one of their own, like one of the family. I was inquisitively eyed by many, but rarely was it with contempt, merely curiosity, I guess it’s not every day you witness somebody resembling that of a soliloquizing mental patient riding a bike with 30KG of absolute tripe attached to him cycling directly up a mountain. I’d feel inclined to throw rotten tomatoes at such a fool, but hey, that’s just me!
I bared witness to the devastation of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a scary, depressing post-apocalyptic landscape broken by nature’s wrath. Yet I met local residents and survivors of the terrors of the sea that have suffered the ill fate of losing loved ones and having their own lives reduced to either a nothingness or a mere ration of a void, and then I’ve seen the strength and spirit it has taken them to pull together and rebuild their lives after the destruction and carnage of which has blighted so many a coastal towns for hundreds of kilometres.
My sincere gratitude also goes out to the international community of Japan, they too have helped me along the way incredibly, especially through the wonders of couchsurfing, you know who you are and you know I want to touch you as much as I like to touch myself!
How I managed to survive the roads without getting absolutely mullered by traffic or at least tumbling from my steed I shall never know. Fate? Karma? Blind luck? F*%k knows. Whichever it is I am thankful all the same.
It was a long road, or was it just the beginning of something bigger and more unfathomable than one might ever be able to conjure. Whatever it may be, there are no doubts that my journey along the way became encumbered with an almost limitless supply of experiences, ones which I hope will remain with me into my final numbered days.
It’s very difficult to find all the words for everything right now, I think they will come in time, these being my passing thoughts before I go to the pub to get shitfaced, but for now I guess they will just have to do.
But, to Japan I say, you are truly beautiful and I thank thee for the time we have spent together.
So that roughly draw’s to a conclusion a rather large chapter in this project, so I ask you to all stick around and be patient with me, as in the coming months I hope to be releasing various blogs and photographs from my time in Japan and if you’re really lucky I might have something very, very special in store for you all, but all in good time. As for now, if anybody happens to know if Tesco are looking for some shelf-stackers, please page me!