Thursday, September 1, 2011

The end is in's just really far away

Hey hey hey, I'm back again to report the latest on this wonderful journey through Japan. I am not sure if this leg of the trip has been less eventful, or that the general novelty and awe of my everyday experience is just starting to become more comfortable and familiar. In either case, I'll do my best to capture the ups and downs, both physical and figurative, of the last few days.

When I began riding, thinking about the end of the trip was a very difficult and possibly dangerous thing to do. It can be dangerous because some might find the thought of riding a bike almost every single day for a solid two months to be quite depressing. Therefore, it is better to just think of every day as it's own private adventure, independent of any broader goal. That kind of thinking has brought me cleanly through a solid 1,400 miles of riding, which I am quite proud of. However, now that I better know my physical limits and have gotten much better at planning my route, this knowledge has come with a sort of curse. I am now able to decide the exact day that I will finish this amazing journey. As exciting as that is, having every day planned out ahead of time removes some of the precious flexibility that has made this trip so amazing. Before I would just ride up until a certain distance and then stop whenever I felt like it. Now, I will need to reach certain cities by certain days if I hope to reach my goal in time, no matter what I feel like in the morning or how the weather is. This may seem like somewhat of a bleak outlook to have as I enter the final leg of my journey, but with it has come a wonderful realization that I hope to take with me into wherever life takes me next.

Though I still have 800 miles to ride, there is absolutely no way I will ever quit until I reach my goal. Such deadpan certainty came to me mostly in the absence of any good reason to quit. Granted if I receive some horrible injury, or my bike is stolen, it would be quite tough to continue, but other than that there is absolutely nothing that I can think of that will stop me from finishing what I have started. This, to me, is a good thing to learn about oneself; the certain knowledge that you know you've got what it takes to finish some grandiose plan that you started without knowing the outcome, is something I hope to carry with me always. I am positive that this is easier said than done...but I'll give it my best!

On to some stories! I don't mean to talk so much about sleeping and accommodations, but they are such a large part of a bike trip, when you think about it. I spend most of my days riding, eating and sleeping, and sometimes there just isn't much else to talk about. Luckily, the world of the Japanese internet cafe is pretty interesting to me, so let me digress on them for a moment.

The Japanese internet cafe is a mostly cheap place that is an ocean of cubicles, free drinks and an occasional shower room. After certain times, usually 8 or 10 p.m., they have good deals on 7 to 12 hour packages for people who either want to play video games all night, drunken business men who do what drunken businessmen do and bicycle tourists like me! What's more, they have a variety of room types, some of which are obviously suited to those who would like to get a little shut eye during their stay.

They don't much like people taking pictures, but here's the ocean of cubicles

Here's my space, all tucked in nice and cozy like!

The other thing I love about net cafes is their personality. The inside almost always looks the same, though the music differed strongly, but the outside is always good for a laugh, or in some cases a worldview.

Love, peace, music, people and Sonic the hedgehog. Is there anything else, I mean really?

As I mentioned above, I have gotten quite a bit more skilled at finding more pleasant routes to take during my daily ride. To be perfectly honest, that skill only involves looking at the highway, and picking a road that is relatively parallel to it (I know, I'm a genius). Sometimes these roads can be quite hilly, but the rewards are more than worth the effort.

Here's a canyon and the moron riding through it

Man made, but I thought it was a really neat waterfall
After taking a really long and frustrating detour, I came to this place. Japan can be a real jerk sometimes, but she usually makes it up to you
Not a country road, but I couldn't pass up the chance to show off Japan's willingness to mix cultural icons!
Lastly, I wanted to again address how interesting the concept of timing is on a bike trip. Though you are moving quite slowly through a country, everything happens so fast. For example, during a short, 1 hour period my golden chance to see Mount Fuji came and passed. Due to some clouds, the darn thing was SO close, but far enough way that I could only see the outline. So here I present what could have been one of the coolest pics of the trip, but is a bit poorly lit and is missing one of Japan's most important icons.

See the clouds moving over the top of that gorgeous beast!?

Slightly better. No bike though

My cell phone has been a bit on the fritz lately, so I will really try my best to write blog posts absolutely every chance I get, since writing from my phone is no longer an option. In other news, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I will reach the end of my trip on September 16th, 2011 where I will proudly stand on the northernmost tip of Japan and hopefully celebrate in some ridiculous, and not yet decided way!


1 comment:

  1. Dylan!!!!!! I can't believe I found you! You don't know me, but I am doing the same thing you are except in reverse! North to South!! I will be in Hokkaido from the 9th of September till the 15th. Then off to Tohoku. WE HAVE TO MEET UP IN THE MIDDLE SOMEWHERE BRO!! And then we shall have a grandiose time together, until we both ride off in opposite directions on our trusty metal steeds toward glory!! lol, I don't really talk like this, but we really do have to meet!!