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Author: muzuhashi

The ALT Insider guest post!

The ALT Insider guest post!

In the space of little more than a year, ALT Insider has become the one-stop-shop for those of us who ply our trade as token gaiji…er, I mean English teaching assistants in Japanese schools, and seeing as James – the man who rules over the ALT Insider kingdom – was kind enough to let me write a guest post for his site, in the spirit of reciprocity, here’s his contribution to the United Kingdom of Muzuhashi. Read, enjoy, and if…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Prologue

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Prologue

As anyone who read my previous post will know, I have officially given up writing Muzuhashi. There is, though, one more thing I want to unofficially do before putting it to rest altogether, and that’s to use it as a vehicle – a bicycle, if you will – for my as-yet-unpublished (and let’s face it, almost certainly forever-unpublished) travel book.With the provisional title of Gaijin on a Push Bike, this was written about my first and longest cycle tour of…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 1

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 1

In case you didn’t happen to read the prologue, our intrepid hero – a ten-years-younger, marginally fitter and not yet completely bald Muzuhashi – has finished preparations for his summer holiday cycle tour of Japan… Wednesday 20th July 2005 – Mito to Toridé (水戸 – 取手) There was a sign near my apartment that read ‘Tokyo 110km’, and I had given myself the best part of two days to cover that distance and catch the ferry. Having turned off the…

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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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