What is there to tell? Well, I´m not getting bored here, that´s for sure. I went for a ride around the Coromandel Pininsula whitch was quite cool. I took a day off and headed out before sunrise. Nice and curvy roads towards the sun. I stopped and went for a short hike to Cathedral Cove, a very nice little beach about 30min from the road. I enjoyed cruising so much that i didn´t stop often. Just went slow and enjoyed the scenery.
I still love going to work every day. Learning a lot about motorcycles and important lessons for life thanks to Martin, my boss. Doing some cool work like taking the top end of an engine apart to change the gaskets and put everything back together. Or putting some insane monkeybars on bikes. They ride like shit, but the look…well like shit as well.
Some not very nice things happend as well. Someone broke into our garage at home and stole all my roomies powertools and to make it worse, all of Christians stuff. Equipment, gear, campingstuff, tools, etc. I imported his KTM from Japan since he wanted to go back home over christmas. Ment I had to call him and tell him “dude, all your stuff is gone…” Not a very nice phonecall to make. But his answer was cool “maaan, I thought New Zealand is safe…”
Then last Saturday when I walked to the Supermarked there was a girl sitting at the fence on the phone and crying. She was looking on the road like she was waiting for somebody. When I came closer and she saw me, she threw her phone away and ran into the next truck coming down the road. Someone later on told me “that´s what some of them do, they want the attention of others when they kill themself”. If she managed to do it i don´t know. Sad enough that you wanna kill yourself, but do you have to destroy someones elses life as well? The poor truck driver. He told me she was looking him into his face when he ran her over. Poor guy. I realized again that nothing is more important then your physical and mental health. Life is good!
I went for an other cruise to Mount Taranaki and the forgotten world highway. Quite a pleasent ride but I was actually expecting it to be a bit more rugged. I had brilliant sunshine and could camp right half way up the mountain. Beautiful stars out and the view in the morning with all the mist below was not less breathtaking.
Sometimes I´m wondering if people think that i´m on an all inklusive motorcycle holiday. If my bike is not in good conditions I wake up in the morning and there she is, repaired and cleaned up by my dreams at night. (What would I do without my family in germany who are sending me the parts I need to wherever I am???) I just need to hop on and ride into the sunrise. And why don´t you go out and drink, what else are you earning money for? Why do you work 60h/week? Yeah, you´re actually right, riding around the world is free! I had a nice conversation with Martin the other day about lonelyness. He asked me if I ever get lonely. Hell yes. Sometimes. And more and more. There are few people out there I can have a good conversation with. My life is just so different from other people. And I have not been in one place for long since 2009. Just coming and going. Mostly living on the road all by myself. Dealing with problems that come along all myself and enjoying beautiful and nice things all by myself. But this is the path I chose and this is the path i´m happy with. But there are not many people who understand this lifestyle, specially in my age.
I can´t wait to hit the road again!
If you appriciate the small things in life, life can be great.
I thought I should treat myself for my birthday and went to Waitomo. There are a bunch of caves and underground playgrounds for the amateure adventurer. I´m getting more and more the feeling I should have started my travels here in New Zealand. On the way to the cave the guide asked into the group “has anyone ever been caveing before?” I raised my hand “yes, in Guatemala, barefeet, with shorts and a candle in my hand” followed by the answer “well, we´re not doing that here. Here you are getting a wetsuit, boots and a helmet with LEDs”
But the day could have been far worse and was not boring at all. We started up with a 100m abseil which was kind of new for me. I have never been hanging on a thin rope 100m, above the next hard ground but after a few minutes swinging back and forth i got used to it and starte enjoying it. It took about 20min for us to get down into the cave and we arrived in a forgotten world. After a picknick wie started out walk-crawl-hike-swim-climp-out of the cave action. We started our way out over some big rocks, always hooked into the safety line that you don´t dare taking care about yourself. Finally the jump into the 15°C warm water. The wetsuit kept me warm and the gumboots were waterproof, they didn´t let any water out. Somehow the group waited for me to be the first on attacking the obstacle. I craweld through gaps i would have never imagined been able to get through. We dived under Rocks, swem through the river and climed up some waterfalls. All much easier when you are not carrying a candle in your mouth. Through the cave we were guided by some glow worms. Small blue shining worms hanging from the ceiling all over the cave. when you swithed off your LEDs it was like looking in a blue star sky. After about 4hours in the cave and about 7hours in total we arrived back at the little hut where the bbq was waiting for us. Happy and tired I went back to the fuckin city.
Other then that I´m still working 6 days a week which I totally enjoy. I love going to work and learning a lot. Plus I get to ride all kinds of bikes. Since I start at 10am I have time for a nice morning ride to see the sunrise.
On a public holiday I went to a flight show with Jeremy. Was quite cool and impressive.
The end was quite sad when they started playing war on the ground. Uniforms and guns from WWII shooting blinds at each other and playing being killt. Just for fun.
And in europe there are people who had to leave everything behind to escape exactly this. Not for fun…
I went for a hike with my mate and we started talking about invitations. i just started talking and was going on for a while. Luckyly Jeremy was not getting bored… I thought this might be interesting to share.
Since I left Germany in January 2012, I was -almost everywhere I went- kindly invited for tea. But Tea is not just Tea! Tea sometimes can mean a lot.
In Uruguay people were running around all day long with a thermos in their armpit, a bowl of mate in the other hand and these people managed their life somehow with one half hand (the hand where the thermos is in the armpit) You see them driving around with one hand, steering and shifting, because in the other hand, there is the bowl of yerba-mate.
Most famous is this tea in Argentina. One barely drinks it alone. And even if there is nobody around, straingers are asked to have a mate “queres un mate?” All of a sudden there is a group of straingers haveing a tea together and talking. Most likely tough, you have it with your friends. But if you think you just sit there together and have a cup of tea then you are mistaking. There is just one bowl with a silver straw in, filled with the yerba herbs. This is filled up with very warm water (not hot!) and the guy inviting pours the water over the yerba and has the first drink. Then he fills it up again and gives it to the next person. The person drinks it and gives it back. He fills it again and gives it to the next one and so on. Don´t thank. If you say thank you when you give the bowl back then it means that you are done with mate. If there is water boiling on a fire, don´t dare touching it. This is for the host only. Only the host is allowed to touch the water, otherwise this would be very impolite.
Leaving Argentina and coming to Bolivia where the Koka tea is to be found everywhere. Yes this is the Koka from the Plant where there is Kakain made out of. The leaves have a very putching effect, good for altitude sickness, headache, stomage ache, evey other kinds of not wellbeing and as well just to enjoy like Coffee.
In Colombia is the Coffee more common then the Tea. Here we are taking a little detour from the Tea and going to the hospitallity in Latinamerica. The nicest straingers invited me for yerba, tea, coffee, a meal, or even a place to stay. Payed my beer, didn´t let me pay for my campsite or giving me the feeling of being part of there family even if just met. I was not allowed to pay anything, do anything or help anything. I had to bagg to do something in return but most of the times I was the guest and treated like a King. People were just happy that they could do something good for me.
This sticks with me sometimes in the wrong places. When I was invited to stay with a friend in North America he payed the food we had at his house, and the beer, and more beer and… do you think after such a long time my head would switch to “now is my time to buy the beer and tonight I am going to cook for you guys because I really appriciate that you invited me”? It unfortunetly wasn´t. then it made click and i was not allowed to do anything anymore because I was staying in a different envoirement. Again, people where giving me everything I needed just in return for some of my stories over a beer. I was even told – more then just once – that this is considered very unfriendly if I would pay for myself, or invite my host for a beer of coffee. I sometimes feel terrible that my friends might have gotten the impression that I am just taking everything and not giving back anything.
The tea in russia has a little the symbol of giving you a well being. You are on the road with your motorcycle and you are invited for a soup and a tea, to gain strength to go on your journey. Again, if you are invited in siberia, don´t even think about paying your own bill. This is seen as bad behaviour and not very kind to the people who were inviting you. We once went out with some friends and I wanted to pay the meal of the mecanic who fixed my electrical problem. He answered something and my friend translated with a big smile “he said something similar to `fuck you`” I obviously was not allowed to pay for myself. Nor was I allowed to reimburs the mechanic for the help.
In central Asia i was invited for Tea everywhere. In the heat of Uzbekistan i was invited to rest and have a Tea. But having a cup of tea is not really just having a cup of tea. Don´t dare touching the Teapot! This is for the Host only! It is up to him serving you. If you finished your tea and wish for more, don´t ask. This is embarrasing and a little offensive to your host. This tells people that he is not very welcoming. Pay attention to your teacup! Is it filled up all the way, then you are welcome to stay for one tea. But don´t finish it. Leave a little sip in the cup for “the way back”. If your teacup is filled half by the host, that means that you can stay longer. They will pour you tea whenever your cup is empty or most of the times even before. If you don´t want more, let your host pour you a fresh cup, take a sip and say thank you. That means that the host has served you well. The rest in your cup is again “for the way back”. That there always will be tea if you come back one day. In parts of Kyrgystan and Mongolia tea is topped up with maresmilk. But if you are invited for a tea and you exept the offer then it is very rude and offensive if you don´t drink your tea because the maresmilk discusses you. It took me some invitations to get used to the – let´s say – different tasteing milk. In Kyrgystan, it is common to welcome a guest with fermented mares milk. The first time that happend to me i was luckyly in a Hostel with an incredible nice and helpful owner who tought me the story behind it. If i would have being invited to a house and would have thought that the white stuff in the cup is normal milk i might have gotten into trouble with the host. In some countries it is even important what tea you choose when you are asked if black or green tea. Green tea, with it´s relaxing effect means that you are tired and would like to calm down and chill out after tea, Black tea with it´s pushing effect means that you would like to stay around for a bit longer and are active to do things.
Again unbelieveble experiances of being a gues in russia and central asia.
And off we go to Japan. Where I had the pleasure and enjoyment of being hosted by a great family in the north. I was tought a lot of the japanes habbits and as well how to recieve a tea. Tea mostly comes in bowls, not in cups. It is polite to recieve your bowl of tea with two hands. Hold your two hands up and the bowl of tea is placed by your servant (not nessesarly your host) into your hands. If you just would hold up one hand it would mean something like “yeah, alright, don´t really care…”
In japan I was invited for tea all over the country and had one amazing experiance of staying on a teafarm for a night. In the Mountains when i stopped in a town to fill up or have a look at my map most of the times I recieved a tea to enjoy. I barely could have a conversation with these people but the act of giving me a cup of tea was impressive.
I´m a little excited to see how many more storys about tea i might be able to tell in the future.
Long, long time ago… I was updating my blog way more often.
It feels a bit weired to be in one place for such a long time. I enjoy every day going to work, working on motorcycles and learning new stuff. Martin, my boss is absolutely great at explaining things, and so is Jeremy. Coincedently I realized that my way to work, from door to door, takes as long as Led Zepplins “stairway to heaven”.
We went to the Speedway together, had a little picnick and watched motorcycles and sidecars drifting around the oval. Sounds boring but is a lot of fun.
Over easter weekend i went up to the northern tip of New Zealand, to the place where Pacific and Tasman Sea join. The ride was beautiful, as long as i was staying on the backroads. On the main highway and left and right of it there are just way to many tourists. Everything seems a bit plastik.
I went to the big Kauri forrest and the way through it looks like a jungle. Then i turned to 90mile beach where i met two chicks on dirtbikes. I was a bit pissed that i have stupid roadtyres on my bike. Most of New Zealands west coast beaches are designated highways. Plus i could go and play with the girls…
One of them showed me a neat place to camp and me stupid idiot forgot to take a photo of the girls dirty hand with pink fingernails pointing on my map.
It was definetly the wrong time to go to Cape Reinga since way to many people had the same idea over the easter weekend.
New Zealand has absolutely stunnin roads. Beautiful landscapes and just a paradise for motorcyclists.
In the end of april i went around the eastcape of New Zealand. An other stunnin ride. Monday was a public holiday here and i was thinking about taking off sunday. Martin said “no, leave monday and come back when ever you want. I know you, you wouln´t enjoy it if there would be too many other people around” He was damn right. I left monday and everybody else was going back home. A stunnin road winding along the ocean for hundreds of kilometers. I camped out at the beach close to the east cape and belive it or not but accoring to my position I was one of the first people in the world seeing the new days sun. The only places that are further east are Samoa and Tonga…but nobody lives there anyway. But that made me thinking about going to Samoa or Tonga.
I followed the road to Gisborne where captain Cook landed first in NZ. Then i took the little, absolutely stunnin backroads up north to Rotorua. The little backroad north of Gisborne reminded me a bit to the area around Bozeman, Montana. The Te Urewa road looked like Columbia. If you have to choose one country to see the world, go to New Zealand!
After all the less traveled roads i got to Rotorua. A parking lot full of Motorhomes with german New Zealand guidebooks on the desk. The germans are here, like everywhere else in the world. They are taking over. I started again telling people that i´m from Kazakstan. I used to tell people that i´m from Namibia…until i met somebody who was actualy from there. That was embarrasing but he laughed and totally understood my point.
It is absolutely beautiful but for me, there is some thrill missing. No dangerous animals at all, really good roads, great infrastructure. Most people would call it paradise, but i´m getting bored from time to time. I need a kick here and there. I´m not haveing a chicken strip at all on my beemer (the chickenstrip is the part on the far edges of the tyre that is not used by unexperianced riders or chicken. Since the whole tyre is heating up while being used, the far edges stay a bit whit-ish and shiny, that is the chickenstrip). On these roads it´s just great to lean the beemer so far over that my pegs scratch the road.
Arrived in New Zealand in mid december, one week before christmas. The reason why i came to New Zealand, my cousin. He´s here for a few months. Last christmas we were talking about that he will be in Auckland next christmas and he was a little worried about the first christmas without family. Then I said “you know what, i´ll come over next christmas” and now i´m here. Between chrstimas and new years we went up north to the bay of islands. I didn´t find it too impressive. Guess I was still full of impressions from Japan. Japan really blew my mind. Anyway, was nice to spend time with my cousin. Chris treated me really good the first weeks here. I was freaking low on money, so he always had something to eat in his bag when we met up to do something. Or he paid the icecream. And we always had a freaking good time with a bunch of laughs. I was freaking lucky again that I could stay with Dave, south of Auckland. I even could stay there when he went to see his family over the holidays. Sometimes i´m wondering why so many good things happen to me.
My bike arrived first week of january. Had to import my friends bike as well since he´s still in japan skiing. Was a new challenge for me, but not a big one. I needed a Warrent of Fitness for my bike, a kind of safety inspection to be allowed to ride in NZ. I read on ADVrider that a shop close to where i live does warrants. So i went there, we had a chat and then Martin said that he can´t do it since i have to be written into the system. I mentioned that i´m looking for a job and he was looking for somebody for Saturdays. Basicly I started working in the bikeshop the day after. The idea was to get me up to speed for the saturday but i enjoy the work so much that I decided to stay there. I just love it. I can work on motorcycles all day long, have bloody good collegues, an awesome boss and I learn a lot of stuff. There is no better way for me to spend my time.
Time starts going by very fast. There was a streetrace where there closed down a whole town for the motorcycles. Was ablsolutely awesome.
sorry, that took a while.
My first stop on Kyushu was at Inari, a town that is very famous for it´s pottery. Great to carry on a Motorcycle… After a stroll through the cobblestone streets i went on to Nagasaki. I skipped the nuclear museum since i was sick of too many bad things happening in the world for no reasons.
The reason I went to Nagasaki was Dejima, the only tradingpost in Japan for over 200 years. Dejima was a man-made island in around 1660 and was the only place in Japan where tradinggoods were allowed to enter or leave the country. And only the dutch were allowed to trade with the japanese since the portuguese tried to convince the japanese to christanity. So they were kicked out and few years later the Dutch were allowed to trade on Dejima. Interesting story. All this happend until Meiji came to power in 1860 and destroyed the japanese systhem to a more western like lifestyle.
I actually wanted to explore more of Kyushu but the weather cut me off. A lot of rain. So I went to Kumamoto, the last stand of the samurai who lost their Power when the Meiji era started. A nice afternoon and night turned into a rainy moring and I went to Mt. Aso, the biggest vulcan crater in the world but still some rain and some erruptions so couln´t see a thing.
On I went to the coast and as soon as I got there it started to snow. Had a snowy night and a lot of fun riding my bike through the snow, although it was a bit sketchy. From Beppu I went to Matsuyama were I could stay with Wakata who I met on the HUBB. He helped me all along the way and I was happy to finally meet him. I had an amazing time in Matsuyama. His wife made great food for us and I could do some maintainance on the bike. Things changed a little so i needed a place to clean up all my camping gear and stuff to be ready to shipp to New Zealand. Luckyly that was not a problem at Wakatas place although I felt bad because we were planning on riding Shikoku together. But he always said “don´t worry, I was in similar situations…” really hope he ment it as well. One night we went to an amazing fish restaurant. I even could see how the chef, a friend of Wakata cut the fish and made it ready to serve. I don´t neet to say that in Japan fish is mostly eaten raw. Once the Chef took an alive squit out of the water and started cutting the meat out. Then put salad leaves on the body and put the meat nicely chopped into pieces back onto the body of the still moving squit. Bit pervers but tasts great. As well some Octopus that was so fresh that it was still moving and sucking in my mouth. Weired feeling but nice story to tell. The highlight was Monkfish liver. I don´t like liver but that tasted great. I will really miss the japanese food. As well we went to the fist Onsen in Japan. I love Onsen! But for me it was a little to crowded. I enjoy more the empty more tranquil ones were old japanese man come and talk to you but you have no idea what they are talking about. But they always smile and are very friendly to the Gaijin (something like Gringo). Weired is just when a naked japanese guy asks a naked german guy if he can touch his beard… But it´s always good for a laugh and after that most of the time the old guys even speak a little english. An other thing I definetly will miss, Onsen.
After Matsuyama i went on with a new challenge. Since my tent was clean like new i needed a free place to sleep without a tent. In Japan too easy. You just go to a Michi-no-ecki (roadside station) and sleep under the roof with a bunch of other travellers. Hikers, Bikers, Bums. It´s like a free outside dorm of a hostel. Always somebody to share some stories.
I went back to Osaka to clean up my bike and make it ready to ship to NZ. It was the easiest shipping I have ever done. In the train on the way back I thought “And that will get to New Zealand???” It obviously was. Japanese don´t do mistakes…
With Yoshiko I went to a german christmas market. It was all right. Cheap Hot Wine and pretty (japanese) women. An advice from a wise man “keep your hands off both, they both will give you a headache…” Again I had a great time with Yoshiko.
Then I went to my last stop in Japan, Tokyo. Yukio picked me up at the busstation and we did a little sightseeing in Tokyo. Then we went to their house at the beach, outside of Tokyo. I went to my last onsen and had my last raw fish. Became my favourite food. Then I went back to Tokyo to explore the city at night. Stayed in my first and only hostel of all my Japan trip. Was amazingly clean and nice. I went out by train to explore Akihabara, the crazy electronic neighbourhood. The even have a restaurant were robots fight. Like on TV. Then I went to Shibuya. the craziest roadcrossing in the world with over 3mio people every day.
A day later I met Juha again. Awesome to see him again. We went and explored Shinjuku at night. An other crazy neighbourhood with so many neon lights and pretty women. As usually with Juha we had a couple of beers and a lot of laughs. One night we saw some Sumo guys. Juha looked at me, smiled and said “I recon I could take him…” The next morning we went to Sumo practice. They were to scared to let us train with them. No, seriously, Sumo is a Sport with a lot of respect. They have a lot of respect of each other and we had to ask to see the practice. We had to bow and thank the coach and the fighters for letting us in. The same when we left, bow and say “arigato”.
I realized how nice it is to talk with someone like Juha again. We were talking about the Pamirs and Afghanistan, Sibiria and far east russia. Then what we are planing next, southeast asia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran and so on. With all this talking about crazy places all of a suddan the girl at the reception looked at us and said “who are you guys?” We realized that this is really not normal what we are doing…
I arrived in Osaka and could stay with Yoshiko. She used to live in Germany for about 10 years so again no possibility for me to learn japanese. The amazing thing was, that she owens a restaurant so i could try all the food there was. Every day, raw fish. Since Hokkaido i not just got used to eat raw fish, i started to really like it. Not just salmon and tuna, as well octopus, squit, monkfish etc. After I checked out Osaka we went together to Arashima to the Bamboogroove. Luckyly we were quite early so no people around. When we left again at around 10am it was freaking crowded. I had my own appartment right at the trainstation so I took the train to Kyoto at around 5.30am, arrived in Kyoto at 6.30 and had all the temples, shrines and streets for myself. Amazing feeling without all the tourists. I had no plan where to go so i just walked around and got lost in the small roads and hills in ancient Kyoto. There were just two things I wanted to see, the golden Kinkaku-ju and the orange Shrine gates of Fushimi-Inari Taisha.
After four days of Kyoto i had seen enough and took an other train to Himeji-jo, the biggest and prettiest castle in Japan. Since i first heard about it from my grandpas brother I always wanted to go there. In japan there are different types of traintickets for the different types of trains (seriously?! yeah, no shit…) but I did not want to know about it so I bought the cheapest ticket and took the fastest train what obviously can´t be right. But if you are on a tight budget you sometimes have to play the Alien tourist card. On the way to Himeji-jo i was asked for my ticket. The guy told me something in japanese so i said “Don´t understand”. In japanese this would be “Wakkaranai!”. Now one has to imagine a short japanese guy who tries to tell something to a tall guy with a big beard and no hair who uses his deep voice to say “Wakkaranai”. Well, I could sit down again and go on to Himeij…
A day later I was tired of being in a city to I left Osaka. I had a really good time there. i went to Hiroshima to check out the Nuclear bomb museum and the peace park. The Museum was quite impressive. They told the story of the day the americans dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima, had pieces of walls with black rain on it, school kids lunch boxes (well, what´s left of it), pictures of women and children with bad skin burns and to each display they wrote whos piece it was and what had happend to this person on this day if they could find the body or if the person was still alive. I was touched by the display of a 7 years old girls piece of hair. She was outside playing with her friends when the bomb exploded. She was to far away to be killed right away but she was badly burned. She managed to make it home to her mother who cared for her as much as she could but few hours later she died in her mothers arms because of her bad injuries.
How sick can people be?
– hey, what do you want to do today?
– I don´t know man. Let`s kill 250 000 people?!
– yeah, sounds good to me!
– Do you want to give the order or can I?
– let´s do it together. Then we are the sickest people on this planet. Just to show the world how “strong” we are we kill as many people as possible.
– fuck that was awesome.
– yeah man, let´s do it next week again in Nagasaki
– good idea. You wanna go for a beer?
In the souvenir shop I bought a peace sticker and put it on my bike.
Just because of the crazy and sick politicians who just care about money and power for them selfes we have such problems. They don´t care about their people anymore. Why on earth do we have such problems? Just because of the politicians the normal people have to suffer all around the world.
Russians don´t like americans, americans don´t like russians. Because they are tought by their goverment that the others are bad, but do the people of these two countrys know that they are so similar in their habbits, their hobbies, their proud and so on? In my opionion, if a freeminded (not brainwashed by the goverman) person would travel to the other country, he would make friends for a lifetime!
I for myself, I was invited in so many different countries, from so many people. I was invited from a poor family in Columbia for rice and fried banana, invited in Uzbekistan for tea and a rest in the midday sun, invited in Russia for Lunch, dinner and a place to sleep, invited in the US to stay and repair my bike with any help I even could imagine.
So what the Fuck is wrong with this world???
I had to get out of the city. Don´t like cities much at all. I took a beautiful road through the mountains and was slightly to fast. I think i thought the speedlimit of 50km/h counts per wheel. Anyway, the police stopped me with over 100 in a 50 zone. I was expecting a big ticket. But everything I got was “please, more slow! danger. welcome in japan, you like?”…yeah bad unfriendly world…
I found a `michi-no-ecki` (roadside station) and after a hot bath in one of the onsens (public bath and hot spring) i sleped right next to my bike on under the roof of the motorcycle parking lot after I was invited for beer and a snack from a kind japanes guy.
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.
When we shipped the bikes from Magadan, we were told that it takes between 5-7 days to Vladivostok. Juha and I arrived at the Clubhouse of the Iron Tigers where we could stay. On the first day we checked out Vladivostok, a nice city…but i´ve seen nicer russian cities. On tuesday i got the call “your bikes are still in Magadan, but they will get here next week.” We thought Ok, one week doing nothing.
We went to a Hockey game of the Vladivostok Admirals, coinsedncely they played against Helsinki. Juha is from Finland… I think there were about 6 finish fans in the Arena, all of them in the Lounge right behind the players bench. Plus two idiots anywhere else in the arena, one of them was not me. The first goal for Helsinki we cheered a little. We realized that our block became surrounded by security, so better no cheering for Helsinki anymore…
The following tuesday i recieved an other call “youre bikes are still in Magadan, sorry guys” We wanted to do something and we were running out of time on our russian visas. So we booked a flight to Korea. Christian came as well, a danish guy who arrived one week after us in Magadan.
We arrived in Seoul and could stay with Jooan. A great coazy place pretty much in the middle of Seoul. Seoul is a really nice city. Old temples and new fancy buildings right next to each other. The food in Korea is great as well. Some things were a little difficult for us, like taking the metro. We had to go to Gangdeok station, instead we went to Gangdandeok station, which is on the far other end of the 10 million city of Seoul. But we learned our lesson. The day we took off to explore more of the country i recieved a message “your bikes are still in Magadan…” Juha asked me “when do we actually start to worry about our bikes?” So we changed our flights to see more of Korea. Two days later i recieved an other message “your bikes are here, where are you?” So we changed the flights back and went to Vladivostok. We had to do some maintainance on the bikes, luckyly still living at the Iron Tigers Clubhouse we could work there. One day before the ferry left my bike broke down in the middle of Vladivostok. Andrey came to pick me up. I have never seen somebody loading a heavy BMW so fast like he did. The whole thing of putting the bike on the truck and thightening it down took less then one minute. The unloading the same…crazy guy.
I came back to the Clubhouse and Juha said “my bike doesn´t work” so we had two bikes that have to be on the ferry tomorrow that doesn´t work. So we had a late afternoon coffe and started trouble shooting. Before midnight both bikes were running.
Off we went to the ferry to Japan.