The ferryride from Vladivostok to Japan was kind of boring. Nothing much to do for almost 3 days. We just had a layover in Korea where we enjoyed the good Korean food again.
We were 8 Bikers on bord. two left in Korea. In Japan we had to vertify our Carnets at the JAF. The next JAF was 50km away, 200$ by Taxi or 150$ for a rental car. Freaking nuts! With us on board were three Hells Angels from Germay. They were the first ones going across russia on their bikes and the first foreighn HAs in Japan. So they were picked up by the Local chapter. They offered us a ride to the JAF…nice people. I hornestly think if we wouln´t have one of those guys with us at the JAF we would spend there the whole day cause no one spoke any english. Again i realized how great people on bikes stick together. A biker is a biker, no matter where he comes from, no matter where he goes, he´s treated like family…until he proves that he is a real cunt. I was surprised by Alexey from Magadan saying “we don´t like these guys, they are way to political but if they come to us in Magadan, we recieve them with open arms and treat them like everyone else because they came all the way to us so it doesn´t matter anymore who they are, they are just bikers like everyone else!”
We managed to get our bikes out on friday afternoon before the weekend. Juha and I spent the weekend in Yonago, organizing some things and then we caught up with David and Valentina, two italians on a Yamaha Fazer.
The four of us went north. Juha started having trouble with his bike but sent us on cause he had to order the parts and that might take few days. Haven´t seen him since then. So i rode with the italians through the japanese alps to Kanazawa and Nagano, then northbound to Hokkaido. On northern Honshu we hit the fall colours, beautiful. On Hokkaido we first went to Otaru and then to a lake a bit south of Sapporo. The colours were amazing. We had some bad hail as well and a little snow. It was really great travelling with David and Valentina. Amazing people and so relaxed. Sad that they are ona different schedule then me. Hope to see them again anywhere in the world. I went on by myslelf to and around Furano. The season here is over which is a kind of nice because the campsites are all closed. Well, there is no one chargeing you but there is still running water and a toilet, mostly in a very nice spot. There are two things i realized very fast in Japan. There are no, absolutely no trashbins but very clean toiletts everywhere in a big variation that reachs from a deepdrop to a luxusmodel that looks kind of like this: you come in and the light turns on, the toiletlid opens itself and some classical music starts to play. You sit down on a nicely heated seat and do what you have to do. Then you push a button and you get cleaned up my a nicely warm water jet. Then a warm vent drys everything before you stand up and the lid closes again. Then it flushes and the music turns off…you still have to open the door yourself, though (amatures…)
From Furano i went to Akan NP where i hit the peak colours again. Since the campsites were closed i unfortunetly had to camp right next to the hotsprings and didn´t have to pay anything for it. How unfortuned…
I spend few days there cruising around and exploreing the area. Nice place. One nigh i was invited by Kao, a japanese biker i met on the street, to their little cabin out of town. A really lovely place.
I went on to Shiretoko and then turned southwest again, following the coast. It was raining for three days and nights in a row. One night i was sent under a outside theatres stage to camp there cause it was dry. One thing i really like about japan is that you can camp where ever you want as long as you are not disdurbing someone. But you should pitch up your tent when it is dark and leave in the early moring with sunrise. I even camped in a citypart one night and had some tea brought to me by an old lady while i was packing up my stuff. I really don´t believe the rumor that japanese people don´t like foreighners. It happened so may times to me that i was invited to someons place to sleep or sleep in a restaurant because it was raining, i was invited for a tea or when i have breakfast at 7/11 the cashier brings me an other cup of tea or a juice. They are really nice and kind people and i guess japan is one of the safest countries in the world. Everywhere i camped i could sleep through without waking up and thinking there is someone. And if there is someone i think to myself “do i already get a tea? It´s not even light outside…” but then i go on sleeping. Feels great but i hope not to loose my travel habits.
I arrived in Noboribetsu at the Ueda Family that i got to know via 3 corners (like usually). They live in an old style japanes house with paper walls and tatami floor. Great. Their son attached his house to the old one like it used to be in Japan and he lives there with his wife and their three children, Juri (3), Lisa (5) and Harto (7). Means there was always some action happening and always someone to play with. Hiroko showed me the area and luckyly made me trying raw fish, octopus, squit and so on. Since then i really like it. But since the raw fish in Fukushima i´m glowing in the dark, dont know why… just kidding.
Toshiro showed me his concrete company what was very interesting for me. One weekend we all went to Sapporo together and had a look at the brewery. I had a really great time with this family in Noboribetsu but when it started to snow for 3 days in a row i realized that it´s time to go south.
So i took off and followed the eastcoast to the area where the Tsunami hit few years ago. Just constructiction everywhere and no nice roads to ride so i went into the mountains. The japanese mountains are a dream to ride. Small, windy roads with thes nice japanese houses along. Just the official speedlimit of 50km/h (30mp/h) is a bit anoying. Well i hope it count´s per wheel otherwise i´m riding to fast…
I arrived in Nikko and checked out the temples and shrines at 5.30am before the croweds hit the ground. At 10am i have seen pretty much everything without these thousands of tourists so i could go on.
i went to Mt. Fuji where i had a lot of rain for a night and day so i had to get up in the morning and digging little canals around my tent to get the water away, worked… The next day i had bright sunshine and i could go and expore Mt. Fuji. A nice mountain, until 10am. Then the tourists come out of their Hotels. After 3.30pm it´s a nice place again.
I went on and stopped in Seki, had a look at a knifesmith museum and then i went to the incredible interesting Toyota museum. They had all the parts of the car like clutch, transmission, engine, brakes etc. as wa working component but cut in half so you could see what´s actually happening inside. Cool thing!
I wanted to reach Osaka this day because i had a cantact there to stay but half way there my rear light turned off. So i sleped in a restaurant again and went on the next day. I was right at Nara, a place that i actually wanted to check out from Osaka but i decided to go there now since i´m already here. Again i went there at 5.30am all by myself, enjoyed the quietness of the first capital of Japan. I could see the 15m high and 500t heavy buddha statue all alone and went on to Osaka where saw this funny thing again: In Japan it´s very usual to bow (hope it´s the right word) instead of shaking hands. But after a while my neck started to hurt (hello: bow, thank you: bow, recieve something: bow, leaving the room: bow, good bye: bow…) Mostly they don´t just bow once. Now imagine 5 people standing in a circle and talk. Then they say good by (please imagine this now): Number 1 bow, number 3 bow, 2 bow, 4 bow, 2 bow, 1, 5, 2, 3, 5, 5, 4, 2, 1, 2, 3, … that goes on for a while. Still don´t know how this game works but must be funny to play… just kidding.