Bunkyo - The fifth step ... the length of Japan. - CycleBlaze

August 8, 2018 to August 9, 2018


The journey to Hokkaido

Packed and ready to leave from OR Tambo International Airport
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There's nothing exciting about almost twenty four hours of air travel but it simply had to be done.  We didn't get much sleep on the flights from Johannesburg to Hong Kong and then on to Japan so we were both pretty tired on arrival. The tiredness contributed to us taking about two hours to get out of the New Chitose International Airport . After long queues to get through immigration, I slowly waded through drawing cash from an ATM, buying a data SIM and organizing a taxi to get us and our gear to our guesthouse.

Guesthouse Yurin (or Guesthouse Freedom as the sign on the door says) is a modern hostel in the dead quiet town of Bunkyo a few kilometers from the airport. It will be our base for the next two nights while we settle into Japan, assemble the bikes and get ready to cycle northwards to Cape Soya, the northern most tip of Japan.

I struggled to get to sleep.  I think the time difference and overall tiredness screwed up my body clock.  When I did get to sleep I didn't wake up until just before eleven the next morning.  I set about assembling the bicycles which was mostly smooth going.  The only problem I have is that I can't get my cycle computer to work.  At least Leigh's is working so we will have some means of keeping track of our distance.

Bicycles finally assembled
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I also managed to get the data SIM to work so now we have a backup method of connecting to the Internet.  

The correct method of disposing of garbage is taken very seriously in Japan.  We found a large municipal garbage cage a few hundred meters down the street from the guesthouse that had "combustables" in it so we carefully chopped up our bicycles boxes into what we hope was small enough pieces and placed them in the cage as neatly as possible.  Still, I couldn't help feeling that we would have been viewed as social misfits.

Bunkyo, the suburb of New Chitose where we are staying, is incredibly quiet.  There are very few people on the streets and those that are move around unobtrusively.  It could be something out of "A Quiet Place" (see https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6644200/).  It is probably not the worst place for us to get back into the Japanese way of doing things because any faux pax will be glaringly obvious.

It has been raining, mostly very lightly, for much of the day and the weather forecast suggests that that is how it will be for the next ten days.  I guess we will just have to suck it up.  Tomorrow we head off and start camping so the challenge will be keeping the inside of the tent as dry as possible.

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