Overview of the cycled route:
The detailed maps can be found on the pages relating to
My thanks to Remy who translated all my emails into English on the way. Also to Ania Lentz, who translated the rest of the texts and made some corrections, and to Eriko Koide, who translated some Japanese texts into English.
E-mail of Sunday, April 14th 2013, 13.45 hrs.
We are just about to set off for Japan for a cycle trip of seven weeks. We shall try to keep you posted by sending an email occasionally, if you are interested...
We never had such strange preparation for a cycling holiday as this year. Both of us were hit by a bad case of flu, very busy at work and in our house, which is still 'work in progress', and all sorts of other things that had to be done, including the unexpected surprises. But the thing that overshadowed everything was the death of my clarinet-buddy, Peter, which had a profound impact on me and took away much of the joy of holiday preparation. Only a couple of days ago we were saying goodbye to him and now we get on a plane on the way to a completely different world.
At least, we hope we'll board the plane today ....
At the moment we are still in the caravan in Zeist, but yesterday, on our way here, a complication arose: we received a text message that our flight was cancelled. Since then - after some phone calls - our flight has been booked over via another route.
But we passed this stress test with flying colours and, despite everything, we are still very much looking forward to cycling in Japan. We fly to Naha, a city on the island Okinawa (see here), which is one of the Ryukyu islands that form a row under the main islands of Japan. After a couple of days cycling on Okinawa, we'll take a ferry to Kagoshima on Kyushu, one of the main islands, and continue our journey by bicycle from there until June 1st, when we expect to arrive at Tokyo-Narita airport. We have no route prepared but will let us be guided by what we encounter. We do have some places we want to see and we'll visit Eriko and Chiaki.
It won't be an easy trip. The countryside is beautiful but often mountainous like the Alps, and with volcanoes and extremely large cities which we would like to avoid but probably won't always succeed. However, according to the eighteenth century Japanes poet, Issa, everything is possible if you just take the time for it. Even a snail can climb Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan:
Climb Mount Fuji
But slowly, slowly.
Remy & Gea
* This turned out to be wildly exaggerated...