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Category: Japan cycling

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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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 12

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 12

Sunday 31st July 2005 – Akiyoshidai Auto Camp to Hagi City (秋吉台 – 萩市)Presents received – tenugui At some point in the previous few years, Yamaguchi Prefecture must have come into possession of a job-lot of yellow paint, because everything here seemed to be covered in it, from crash barriers to road signs, fences to kerbstones. Also, the roofs of most buildings were clad in the same black tiles, so that the place had an air of municipal uniformity about…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 13

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 13

Monday 1st August 2005 – Hagi to Hikimi (萩 – 匹見) Presents received – homemade sweets, green tea, tomatoes It was a restless night all round, as I was roused by barking dogs, a creepy crawly scratching around beneath the flysheet, and the urgent need to pee at about five in the morning. Walking to the toilets was akin to being trapped in an Ansel Adams photograph, as this was the golden hour, that short time in early morning and…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 14

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 14

Tuesday 2nd August 2005 – Rest day, Hikimi (匹見) Presents received – instant coffee, toast, salad, can of beer I am terrible with names, particularly Japanese ones, and I am ashamed to say that I know the names of hardly anyone I met during the six weeks of my trip. Either they told me and I forgot, or I neglected to ask in the first place, although I have since had an interesting conversation on the subject with a customer…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 15

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 15

Wednesday 3rd August 2005 – Hikimi to Iwakuni (匹見 – 岩国) Presents received – can of beer, peachThe day dawned clear and bright, and as I packed and prepared for the climb to Misaka Pass, a guest from one of the log cabins took my picture and gave me another beer. I could do without the weight of a half-litre can, and getting drunk on the way to the pass would not be the most sensible way of re-hydrating, so…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 16

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 16

Thursday 4th August 2005 – Iwakuni to Higashi-Hiroshima (岩国 – 東広島) At one point on the road towards the city centre, the traffic had been halted to make way for a procession of around a hundred people. Many of them wore Buddhist robes, and together they were pulling a long metal frame with a wooden trailer at one end. According to the leaflets they were handing out this was Stonewalk Japan, and the trailer contained a seven-hundred-kilogramme memorial stone that was…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 17

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 17

Friday 5th August 2005 – Higashi-Hiroshima to Innoshima (東広島 – 因島) Presents received – melon, beer, sushi, ice cream A group of children started playing dodgeball on the adjacent pitch at twenty past six in the morning, and for the next hour and a half I drifted in and out of sleep, until sunrise turned my one-man tent into a one-man sauna. Five minutes of freewheeling later I sat down to my best morningu setto of the whole summer, in…

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Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 18

Gaijin on a Push Bike – Day 18

Saturday 6th August 2005 – Innoshima to Kyukamura-Setouchi-Toyo (因島 – 休暇村瀬戸内東予) Presents received – beer, snacks If it had not been for the multi-coloured Mariposa and my multi-coloured wardrobe (I had three t-shirts: one red, one green and one blue), I might have looked like a government health and safety inspector, or the researcher for a Discovery Channel show about The Coolest Bridges in the World…Ever! as I cycled from island to island, snapping the Setouchi-Shimanami-Kaido from every conceivable angle….

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