Watch the full documentary here for free on May 27th!
Filmed in Japan only 1 month after thes 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and radiation leak, the Japan by Bicycle film follows 3 adventurers on one incredible 3500km end-to-end cycle run across Japan to raise relief aid.
Know anyone who likes Japan?
About the Trip
While transitioning careers and continents, I will bicycle all of Japan. Two other adventurers and I, Andrew Marston, will depart from Cape Sata pedaling North on April 14th, 2011. We estimate the ride to take about 45 days. As you’ll discover when you Meet the Team, we all trained in separate countries. Time zone differences between Japan, Canada, and the USA made for some sleep-deprived Skype chats. Also of interest, Scott and Dylan have only met in person once. They are both mutual friends of mine, Scott from high school and Dylan from teaching in Japan.
Although we will ride together, we have each prepared for the ride in unique ways. To fund and make time for the trip Dylan did drug testing, Scott took a leave from his career, and I am just trying to capitalize on a gap between country residencies and occupations. Here is more from each of us about our feelings regarding our Japan by Bicycle adventure:
One day, little scrawny seventh grade Andy said to himself while watching his favorite television show, “Man, Dragonball Z is the bomb! I want to learn more about the culture from which it came! I wonder if mushroom hair cuts are still cool because I have one!” Now, after living in Japan for the past two years as an English teacher, I have gotten my fill of this unique culture and intend to end my time here with style. I am especially eager to cycle through the areas North of Tokyo since it’s less tourist-influenced and more rural. My greatest fear regarding the trip is that the three of us will overuse some dumb catchphrase and forever after draw a mental connection between “I’m down with that” to eating cheap noodles.
My reasons for joining Andrew and Dylan on this trip are threefold: 1. I love sushi and sake, 2. I need an adventure, and 3. I haven’t seriously worked out since college and need to get in shape! There’s so much about this trip to look forward to. I can’t wait to see all the mountains, cool cities, delicious food, beautiful coastline, and rural villages. I’m also looking forward to the quality dude time, which of course leads me to my biggest fear about the trip – the stank. This whole camping 6 days a week and occasional showering while biking 75 miles a day thing has me worried! Bike breakdowns can be fixed, but body odor has to be tolerated.
Japan and I have had a relationship of extremes. Pretty much from the first I heard of it, I have been fascinated by the country, and over the years, I have fostered an increasing desire to go and spend some time there. Unfortunately, this has been coupled with a series of roadblocks and setbacks – everything from exchanges being canceled, to getting painfully close to scoring a government job placement, to nearly going broke in Japan trying to find a job. All this culminated in a horrible fiery work visa debacle that almost got me deported. After that, me and Japan decided it would be best if we spent some time apart, saw other people, and work through our issues. Two years later, this trip marks the beginning of our reconciliation. I have high hopes that this trip will be some kind of defining moment in my life or something, but even if it isn’t, it’ll definitely be an exhilarating, sweaty, amazing way to experience Japan.
Meet the Team
Name: Andrew Delbert Marston
Riding Name: Crash
Country Trained In: Japan
Favorite Color: Green (used to be Blue)
University Degree: Photography and Graphic Design at Taylor University
Occupation: Photographer and Designer
3 Words to Describe You: Creative – Friendly – Focused
Foods You Don’t Like: Boiled chicken feet
Pet Peeve: Dirty dishes and/or Slow Internet
Favorite Book: All Creatures Great and Small by James Harriet
Favorite Movie: Kung Fu Panda
Favorite Music: Audio-books appeal to my obsessions with time-management. Also, ambient and electronic music such as The Album Leaf, Eluvium, and Mutemath. And my singer-songwriter father, Frank Marston.
Hobbies/Interests: Photography, the outdoors, technology, culture, time management, ultimate frisbee, studying Japanese
Embarrassing Moment: In third grade, while casually crawling over to play Legos in the popular kids corner during story time, I inadvertently farted so vehemently that the teacher stopped reading to ask if I was alright.
Secret Passion: UFO Catcher (Japanese Crane game)
Marital Status: Engaged
Irrational Fears: Leeches freak me out
Secret Abilities: Accordion, juggling, sleeping with eyes open
Japanese Language Proficiency: Intermediate listening and reading, Advanced beginner speaking and writing
Greatest Athletic Achievement Before Biking Japan: 4x400m and 4x800m relay at NAIA track nationals in college
Name: Scott Russell Keenan
Riding Name: Calves
Country Trained In: U.S.A.
Favorite Color: Green (never was Blue)
University Degree: Chemistry with Economics minor at Hillsdale College
Occupation: Environmental Consultant
3 Words to Describe You: Obsessive – Scatterbrained – Hungry
Foods You Don’t Like: Bell peppers
Pet Peeve: Other people chewing
Favorite Book: Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Favorite Movie: The Lives of Others
Favorite Music: Radiohead, UK Garage, and New Minimal House
Hobbies/Interests: Music, music, music, music (i.e., listening, sharing, making, and going to shows)
Embarrassing Moment: While performing a solo that was way too high for me in a high school Gilbert & Sullivan play, I had the most horrific voice crack you’ve ever heard: “deeds OF derring-do” (on the word “of” my voice jumped about 2.3791 octaves and 8 decibels. Be glad you weren’t there.)
Secret Passion: Alison Krauss (I know she’s way too old, but that voice!!)
Marital Status: Single
Irrational Fears: Going deaf
Secret Abilities: Improving other people’s music taste, clapping with one hand, sleeping with eyes open
Japanese Language Proficiency: Negative
Greatest Athletic Achievement Before Biking Japan: winning the Shep Olympics and not getting cut from a NCAA DII track team
Name: Dylan Charles Wilson Gunning (yeah, it’s a mouthful)
Riding Name: Spock
Country Trained In: Canada
Favorite Color: Teal (best of both worlds)
University Degree: Applied Linguistics at University of Victoria
Occupation: English Teacher
3 Words to Describe You: Inquisitive – Passionate – Unfocused
Foods You Don’t Like: Coffee
Pet Peeve: People wasting food.
Favorite Book: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Favorite Movie: The Man Who Wasn’t There
Favorite Music: The Magnetic Fields, The Weakerthans, Shoegaze, Nosie / Post-rock
Hobbies/Interests: Cooking from scratch, watching anime, taking things apart and then putting them back together, learning new things
Embarrassing Moment: When I was about eight, I sleepwalked up to the front door, glanced at my parents in the living room, and bolted outside. Apparently I desperately needed to catch the schoolbus, and it didn’t matter to me that it was the middle of the night, or that I was completely naked. My Dad caught up with me a couple houses down the street and dragged me back home.
Secret Passion: Reading Wikipedia (honestly, hours at a time)
Marital Status: Married
Irrational Fears: Mold
Secret Ability: Rock climbing, parallel parking, sleeping (with eyes closed) anywhere, any time.
Japanese Language Proficiency: Never good enough. Intermediate pronunciation with beginner content.
Greatest Athletic Achievement Before Biking Japan: Biking around 1000km solo from Victoria, BC to George, WA and back, passing up and over the Cascade Mountains on the way.