Intro etc - The fifth step ... the length of Japan. - CycleBlaze

Intro etc

Some background stuff

We had a great month in Japan in May last year at the start of a six month journey through Asia (the 3rd step) so this year we are spending just short of three months cycling the length of the country from Cape Soya in the north to Cape Sata in the south.

Well, that's the plan we submitted to the Japanese Embassy when we applied for our visas and we all know plans are made only so that they can be changed.  We'll see what happens.

Last week we have had a whirlwind trip around the country to say goodbye to friends and family and to sew up a few last minutes business issues - I am almost sick and tired of air travel even before we fly to Japan.  We drive to Johannesburg on Sunday from where we will fly Cathay-Pacific to Saporro via Hong Kong.  Cathay-Pacific are a great airline and give cattle-class passengers a generous 30Kg checked-in luggage allowance plus 7Kg cabin luggage.  They also fly the bicycles for free as part of the checked-in allowance.

Preparation for this trip hasn't been ideal.  For various reasons we have had very little time on the bicycles and are consequently pretty unfit.  At least we have been through the process of preparing for a tour a number of times (almost fifteen thousand kilometers in the past two years) so we have a pretty good idea of what we need to pack and are confident we can manage improving our fitness in the first few weeks of the tour. 

I gave the bikes a good service this week including new chains and brake pads, reversing the chainrings and sprockets and changing the gearbox oil.  Thank goodness for the simplicity of Rohloff equipped bikes because I am not mechanically adept.  After fifteen thousand kilometers it was also time to replace the rear tyres (Schwalbe Duremes) - the front tyres look as if they will last until at least twenty thousand.  With Japan being the destination I am not too concerned should anything go wrong so I am not carrying too many spares.

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Scott AndersonI’m so excited to see this journal, and will love following along. We biked from Narita to Fukuoka years ago, and are sketching out plans for a second tour in a few years. It will be great to reminisce and get ideas.
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1 year ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesOh goody - we have been thinking about cycling in Japan but the language barrier has kept us from pursuing it. Looking forward to following your adventures in hopes we will feel more comfortable with the idea.
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1 year ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Steve Miller/GrampiesHi Steve.

I don't think language should ever be a barrier. Google Translate is great if you are stuck and a friendly smile works in any language. When in a new country we try and learn the basic greetings, please/thank you and some counting but mostly we just get by without much English and lots of gesticulating.

Regards
Jean-Marc
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1 year ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Scott AndersonHi Scott

Hopefully we can stick to the plan and cycle the length of the main islands. Japan was such a great experience for us last year that we had to go back for a second bite. I'll try and provide as much useful info as I can in the journal.

Regards
Jean-Marc
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1 year ago