Days 10 and 11: 0 km and 0 km. Unfortunately I’m getting used to this and it may be difficult to get back on the bike tomorrow. Still, my fingers are crossed that the doctor will give us the go-ahead regarding Andrew’s blood infection tomorrow morning so we can start chipping away at the 2,500+ remaining kilometers.
The team has spent most of the last two days resting, watching movies, playing Wii, and eating. This morning we attended Easter Mass in Japanese. Dylan and I stayed for the church potluck and pizza lunch afterwards and then went back to Lori’s for a delicious second Easter dinner. As if that wasn’t enough food, tonight we went out again to a Japanese chain restaurant called Joyfull (yes, with two Ls). We better start biking again I think. Our one bout of exercise was a friendly tennis match (Andrew had to sit it out due to his injured hand).
Inspired by my purchase of a “Haichew” candy after dinner at Joyfull, we had a haiku contest, vote for your favorite in the comments!
I BOUGHT THIS HAICHEW
SO I DONT NEED TO WRITE ONE
BUT YOU ALL NEED TO
DINNER AT JOYFULL
VIDEOS AND TEISHOKU
TOMORROW WE RIDE
EVENING BRINGS HUNGER
DYLAN IS IN THE BATHROOM
I STEAL HIS DINNER
JOYFULL IS FUN
JOYFULL, YUM YUM YUM, YUM YUM
JOYFULL IN MY TUM
We’re continuing to be overwhelmed by Japanese kindness. Here’s a bit of big news: my iPod was returned! The workers at the onsen on Yakushima found it, called Andrew’s cell phone number, which we had left just in case, and mailed it to Lori’s ahead of us. I still can’t really believe it, but am so happy to have my music again. Apparently Japanese people haven’t heard of “finders keepers.”
It seems that even this spirit of hospitality infects gaijin (Japanese word for foreigners) who have been living here long enough. Lori has been such a wonderful host; cooking for us, giving us clean linens and towels, and putting up with all our biking gear everywhere in her apartment. Topher, the star of Day 2, also opened his home to us and insisted we treat it as our own. We have a few more couchsurfing opportunities lined up so we’ll see if this rule holds true.
Just to emphasize how many times we’ve benefited from Japanese kindness, here’s a list:
- The one-man welcoming committee at Kagoshima Station who saw us assembling our bikes and gave us some gifts from his shopping bag,
- The safe and timely return of my iPod and Bose headphones,
- The English-speaking tour guide on Yakushima that, when we asked for directions, told us about a much better campsite and then drove us there,
- The kind school group in the mountains of Yakushima that gave Dylan some extra food when he didn’t have enough,
- The convenience store owners who energized us with free cream puffs when they heard that we were biking the length of Japan,
- The absurdly generous Filipino woman, Maryann, who saw us looking for a place to camp and decided to take us to the onsen, feed us at her husband’s restaurant, and put us up in her home for the night,
- The bike store owner on the way to Nagasaki who dropped everything to repair Andrew’s wheel,
- The office workers in Nagasaki who told us to take our time packing up when we had camped in their parking spots,
- The park caretakers who also told us to take our time packing up when we had camped where we probably shouldn’t have,
- The Japanese man who jumped out of his car to help Andrew after his first crash and called for help,
- Andrew’s doctor at the hospital who, when finding out his patient was planning to camp that night, did 10 – 15 minutes of research on campsites and cheap places to stay in the area,
- The truck driver who saw us on the side of the road and stopped to see if we needed help and then gave us energy drinks and bananas,
- The staff at Mister Donuts who, when we brought our instant noodles into their store looking for hot water, willingly prepared them for us and gave us utensils to eat them there,
- Dylan’s old host mother, Aoki-san, who took us to the onsen, bought us dinner, and took us to her friend’s house, where her friend Yuko-san gave us copious amounts of chocolate, cookies, and fruit,
- The Japanese Catholic Church who invited us to join them for their Easter feast,
- The many people along the way who have bent over backwards to give us directions and help us get on our way, and
- Countless other small acts of kindness.
Though it sometimes comes in handy for camping in public places or getting hot water at Mister Donuts, we’re trying to control our Gaijin Smashes.
Over the past few days Dylan and I have also had some really good bonding time. Yesterday we managed to annoy a postal worker while trying to mail a package with a small thank-you gift to the kind people on Yakushima who returned my iPod. We couldn’t make out the Kanji (Japanese characters) for the recipient’s name and we had to ask for help quite a few times at the price of some nasty glares and sighs. That was definitely a Gaijin Smash. Today we played a fierce tennis match, which nearly required a tie-breaker. And on Friday evening, Dylan introduced me to my first Nomihodai, though we’re going to have to try again for a Karaoke night.
Crash: Nearly 100%
Calves: Immersed in music