On the Ferry to Hokkaido — a wrap up of Honshu and impressions of Japan 

Had a dream ride to Aomori – a port city and the departure point for a ferry to Hokkaido. Cruised in a little before midday , was only a 90 km or so ride , and was able to find a camping shop , ” Monte Bell ” and get some fuel and polypropylene longs and top for the cooler country ahead. Then cycled to the centre of town and had a lovely scrub and clean up at a nice Onsen. Time was still way early so I decided to go and check the ticket office for the ferry. Got very lucky as they let me board the 2.30 pm ferry – It was touch and go and I was the very last vehicle to board.

The odometer on the bike confirms that I have racked up just over 2500kms and Hokkaido – or should I say , the route ahead will be over 1000 kms.

Been a roller coaster ride – overall having a ball. The connectivity here s great so Barb and I have been able to FaceTime almost daily . She confirms that while I am no more beautiful ( left that run too late ) I appear leaner but not meaner 😊

There are lots of really nice ” snacks ” in Japan . Fond of this one — has lots of little dried fish and it can repeat just a little 😨

Japan is the land of the rising sun and short holiday 

Seems the work culture in Japan makes it almost impossible to get a holiday longer than  a week and the guilt in associated with anything longer makes it tough on any free spirited Japanese. A few break free – but only a few . It is a group or team oriented culture and unwritten rules are pretty tough.

Always remember these two I met on Shikoku , they thought it outrageously funny that I was cycling the whole length of Japan. An impossible dream for most Japanese workers. 

The roads are pretty good , many smooth sealed roads that give a great feel as you cruise along . Wish we had them at home. Drivers are courteous and considerate to cyclists and I think it stems from the reality that so many Japanese own and ride bikes themselves

Food is amazing . These pics from a supermarket illustrate the point that they are the masters of convenience foods – complete nutritious meals that only require zapping . Something for all tastes – plenty of shops ( Kombinis ) enroute making starvation a remote possibility 

Have not seen a westerner since Osaka , so as a tourist in rural Japan , don’t expect a lot of English conversation . Not sure that Japan needs , wants or particularly focuses on foreign tourists. As a closed society one still gets a hint that they probable do not really need us 😊 I am the only gaijin on the ferry .

But if you love cycle touring , Japan needs to be on your list .


    • Just about not — few days back I met a Japanese guy riding his 50cc scooter loaded up with camping kit – on a big road trip. He gave me 2 sausages as a gift – maybe thought I needed energy — turns out they were seafood sausages 😳 never knew they made them
      Actually they were pretty nice – i ate them both – slight fish taste

      • I had that problem in South Korea. I would ask if it had sea food in it and they would reply no. I would take a bite to find it was loaded with sea food causing me to recoil for at least half an hour afterwards. Why people do it is beyond me. Is it easy to get by without seafood then?

      • Not impossible – but the restaurants here in Hokkaido are pretty well 100% seafood focused. Surprised there are any fish left with the appetite for seafood here- but the fishing industry must be sustainable somehow – God only knows how

      • I think I’d be a bit careful with all the radiation pouring into the sea from Fukashima. Have you been anywhere near it?

      • Nay – came up on the west coast – would have been interesting I guess – they are a resilient people and culturally so different from the Chinese in lots of ways – they never invade the personal bubble – maybe the subway trains might be an exception but I’ve been in the rural areas mostly

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