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Author: muzuhashi

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 2

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 2

Thursday 21st July 2005 – Toridé to Tokyo (取手 – 東京)Presents received – beer Presents given – beer After a fitful night’s sleep, I became definitively convinced at about eight in the morning that I was not alone. While all previous activity had sounded like a rampaging wild animal and almost certainly been nothing of the sort, there was now an unidentified person milling around outside the tent. I struggled awkwardly into my shorts and t-shirt, and braced myself for…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 3

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 3

Friday 22nd July 2005 – Rest day, Ocean Tokyu FerryIf there’s one thing life has taught me, it’s to have low expectations, and this trip was so fraught with danger that in order to prevent and pre-empt disappointment, I had resolved from the outset to anticipate the worst. With nothing better to do for the rest of the day than stare out of the window at the Pacific Ocean as it rolled by, it was time to put the finishing…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 4

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 4

Saturday 23rd July 2005 – Kita-Kyushu to Kazoku-Ryokomura-Ajimu (北九州 – 家族旅行村安心院)I had prepared myself for an early start, but it still came as a shock to be awoken at four thirty a.m. by the announcement that we were soon to disembark, and could we please remember to take all of our belongings with us. Back on dry land and back on the Mariposa, the weather was so cool that I vowed to get up this early from now on, the…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 5

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 5

Sunday 24th July 2005 – Kazoku-Ryokomura-Ajimu to Lake Shidaka (家族旅行村安心院 – 志高湖) Presents received – lunch, Mitsué Cider, tomatoes A couple of hours from Ajimu I called in at a village shop, which was in the same dilapidated style as the izakaya where I had my evening meal in Toridé. There were a few shelves of produce just inside the sliding doors, but the majority of floor space had been given over to a table and chairs, and the proprietor,…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 6

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 6

Sunday 25th July 2005 – Lake Shidaka to Kokonoé Town (志高湖 – 九重町) Presents received – Ripobitan D, melon slices, Mini Cup Noodle, tuna sandwich, potato salad I passed the amusement park for a second time the next morning, and continued along a road that climbed gently through a dense forest before emerging into a rugged terrain of rocky mountains and streams swollen with water. Stopping to eat my remaining tomato from the previous evening, I pulled in at a…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 7

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 7

Monday 26th July 2005 – Kokonoé Town to Mount Aso (九重町 – 阿蘇山) Presents received – salad, Pocari Sweat I unzipped my tent flap the next morning to find breakfast already served: the middle-aged couple had left another paper plate-full of food, and although I wouldn’t normally choose to eat mixed salad with Thousand Island dressing before about midday, it was gratefully received. My fellow campers had already gone out for the day, so I popped a polite thank-you note…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 8

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 8

Wednesday 27th July – Rest day, Mount Aso (阿蘇山) ‘Hello? Excuse me?’ It was only eight in the morning and already they had tracked me down. ‘Sorry to bother you, but would you mind stepping outside for a moment?’ Presumably this was the campsite’s manager, and as he shuffled around outside the tent, I contemplated getting out of my sleeping bag, getting dressed, stepping outside for a moment and going through the formalities of paying for my pitch. Then I…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 9

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 9

Thursday 28th July – Mount Aso to Chikuzen-Iwaya (阿蘇山 – 筑前岩屋) Presents received – campsite discount, dinner, two beers It was time to head north, back towards Honshu, and knowing that I faced a stiff climb out of the caldera, I rose at seven a.m. and set out before the sun had had a chance to burn through the early morning cloud cover. During my day off I had felt dull and listless, my body little more than an awkward…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 10

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 10

Friday 29th July – Chikuzen-Iwaya to Shimonoseki (筑前岩屋 – 下関)Presents given – Kyushu Mapple Further and further up the valley I went, until the narrow road ventured into the woods and signs of human habitation began to peter out. Drizzle turned to rain, rain became a downpour, and I had to stop and lean the Mariposa against a tree. Standing under the densest cover of cedar branches I could find, I waited, and for ten, twenty, thirty minutes, there was…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 11

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 11

Saturday 30th July 2005 – Shimonoseki to Akiyoshidai (下関 – 秋吉台) Presents received – two nigiri, key ring Since that first night in Toridé, I had developed a speedily efficient routine for putting up the tent, and my beeper and fan also appeared to be doing their job. So it was ironic that a mosquito should pester me at the youth hostel, and having been bitten several times during the night, I only swatted the offending insect after my alarm…

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