Sapporo – Takikawa
Despite the coming of the cherry blossom the weather the week prior to my departure from Sapporo had been a cold, wet and windy disgrace. A hostel guest that had just recently returned from the north would tell me that it was the coldest place he had ever been to in his life and that if I planned to camp, well then I would surely die. A small imaginary knot had begun to weave itself into my gut. So it would come as some surprise that the day that I had decided to venture north would be the day that summer arrived. It was as if by the flick of the switch that winter would suddenly be turned off and spring overridden as to allow for a glorious 26.7°C belter. It was a perfect and unexpected start to my exploits around this huge prefecture.
Cycling out of the big smoke and farther into the Ishikari Plains I would soon find myself deep in rural Hokkaido. In the distance, mountains drew shadows ominously whilst in the foreground rice paddies glistened in the early stages of development, reflecting the heavens above with drastic measure. It was good to be back on the road, almost sensual.
For the most part the day was uneventful, but being on the flat allowed for some steady progress as I passed through a handful of downtrodden rural towns; Iwamizawa, Bibai, Sunagawa and finally Takikawa. All of which were towns seemingly fraying at the edges that looked as if they had been through some long, harsh winters. Many homes still boarded up and deteriorating, abandoned and/or forgotten, a far throw from the web of wealth being spun back in Sapporo. I did however find a familiar friend in Takikawa, Mister Donuts pretty much being the only shop open in the high street as I sought out a coffee and a light snack.
On the fringes of town I found a large meadow adjacent the Sorachi River, on this night I would put my new tent to the test. My previous one-man affair not cutting the mustard and so I sought out an alternative back in Sapporo. I was still unwilling to commit to any form of big spending, the ¥60,000 (about £330) price tag for a North Face tent being enough to split my spleen in shock. The way I saw it, the sky was the limit in regards to the price of a tent, yet no matter how much one pays a snagging thorn will never discriminate. Thankfully I found a second-hand camping store where I was able to pick up a brand-less two-man tent for a fraction of the price of one of its elitist cousins. I would also purchase some masking tape from the ¥100 shop for good measure.
Removing the tent from its sheath I lay it out upon the dry grass. It was a pop-up tent whereby all one is supposed to do is pull a chord and the tent in effect should self-erect itself. I pulled the chord. One of the support poles would snap instantly, classic. I would then fumble about with the tent pole for sometime before coming to an acceptable conclusion that it was fucked. And fucked it would remain, for the rest of my trip. I grumbled for a bit before deciding to get over it and focus on getting some shuteye.
And so as I lay in my already fucked tent upon the soft meadow ground surrounded by my worldly possessions, the last light of day would gently slip away as a skylark sweetly took it upon himself to sing me to sleep.
PS: If you’ve enjoyed myblog then you may enjoy my as of yet unpublished book of my venture around Japan. Something that with a little help from friends and strangers I’d like to publish for the whole world to see. Please if you have the time could you take a look at my Kickstarter campaign at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/675565076/tokyo-to-tokyo
I appreciate your time, thank you.
08:45 – 17:00
Todays Mileage- 62.4m Total ODO – 1371.1
Todays RT – 5:54 Total RT – 146 hours
Av/s – 9mph