Before leaving i had thought that I would be writing something about my travels every few days.However,when I arrived in Japan I had too much to learn and i needed more time to develop my understandings before I could put thiese into text, and eventually here it is!
One thing i realised was that when you spend many hours cycling in beautiful and peaceful landscapes like the Japanese,one thing you can do really well is THINKING. Thoughts about past or more
recent experiences have plenty of time to develop inspired by the scenery and the silence that a ride through the Japanese countryside would offer you. The Japanese landscape can encompass 4
Seasons at the same time of the year depending on exact locatio. This makes travelling very pleasurable and entertaining for a cyclist who can in this way admire a very different scenery all the
Japan, the land of the rising sun, has not only been the start of my trip but also the start of a new type of life that I have decided to undertake.It has really been like the sunrise that arouse from this country to give light to a new life to earth.Hence,the title of this post.
Unlike Britain, cycling on the pavement is often the norm here and sometimes you don’t even have an option.Not having to worry about cars makes it safer but also more dangerous as there might be many things that could get on your way on the pavements such as fallen tree branches, stones and of course pedestrians !!
Overall, I personally i consider Japan as a cycling friendly country, where unlikely many other countries all the vehicles would give the way to the bikes and respect them.
There are always plenty of bicycles used mostly for commuting especially within the cities and suburbs around, and people from the youngest to the eldest age would be cycling at anytime of the day and night. Japan is so safe that sometimes I could see even 7-10 years old kids(of both sexes) coming back home at night time on their bicycles . , Over 90% of the bikes used are Chinese style cheap single speed bikes with locks that only block the rear tire from moving (not locked into anything)as no one would lift them and take them way anyway. In fact, bike theft seem to nearly only occur when people don’t lock their bikes here!
It might happen that during the night some one might ‘borrow’ your bike just to go back home if you did not lock it.However,I heard that these bikes after having done the job would just be dumped somewhere in the country side.
Arriving in Tokyo 6 September 2007 during a Typhoon night (oddly first and last that I experienced during my staying in Japan) scared me a bit I have to admit. That also was because, for the first time i was cycling with all my panniers and gear on the bike and could not easily keep the balance . In the modern bustling Tokyo I spent about 12 days in great company of people who hosted me,guided and entertained me.One of the people who hosted me and took care of me was the mythical Tachi San (see picture scanned from a newspaper) who is over 70 but brave and strong enough to travel on his bicycle around Ireland,England,Belgium and Holland for few months on his own last summer. He asked me to call him Tachi ‘San’ as It’s common in Japan to call someone using his surname followed by ’san’ as a form of respect .To my undestanding only amongst very close people such as families,close friends or love relationships, would be common to call each other using the first name (often still followed by ‘San’ though)
Cycling in Tokyo was quite fun and unlikely many people can think not dangerous,the most amazing thing was that on each day I would ride for about 100km just to go from Tokyo suburbs (which was
were most people I stayed lived) to the centre and come back.
After nearly 2 weeks in Tokyo I headed to the beautiful Hakone, very famous amongst Japanese people as an onsen (hot spring) resort .
---> be continuous with "Asia By Bike" (Sergio Manzitto's Blog) Exploring the true and enchanting orient on a bicycle.