vendredi 24 août 2012

Tokyo, August 22-24, "Lost in translation"

My new Japanese friend wakes up 4 am (!!!!!) to be on time to work
And we ride around the Mt Fuji before splitting up.

I spend the entire day reaching the freight company I found ,and prepare the bike for shipment , building the box , removing petrol, battery, ...before going by train to center Tokyo and its wilderness of weird things for a westerner like :

-No smoking allowed, even in the street, just in special "shops"
-Maids bars and restaurants where waitress manga's maid style serve and sing(??)calling you master
-The electric district to buy electric gizmos in a big mess of miniature shops and huge gadgets megastores
-Multiple shop Selling cards of young singers pictures most looking 12 years old; it
seems that Japanese have serious problem with young girls..
-People waring masks in the streets like in hospitals
-Teens wearing ultra provocative and kimonos in same streets
- "cosplay" teens girls meeting up in a place hundred with the same costume - pink doll like manga,
-Giant karaoke buildings like a national sport,
-Motorbike pay parking (doesn't work as no one use it , parking in the street!)
-Interesting interpretation of Italian or western food with quite a big Asian "touch" in it
-Plastic sample of the menus meals on display, in front of many restaurant

Interesting experience, but definitely i feel more comfortable in mongolia or eventually in siberia in open spaces, 2 days a enough for me here , too many people.

The trip is over ,and I go to catch up my Airfrance flight now.

mercredi 22 août 2012

Aug 21' to the mt Fuji

Again alone, I left my friends this morning and this is a bit weird after 3 weeks spent together.
Again very hot weather and I ride mainly on highway, - by the way extremely expensive - 60 euros for 150 km !
Quite a lot of Japanese bikers, most of them riding nice small 250 or 400 cc bikes that we don't have at all in Europe.
What is strange is that, contrary to Russia, almost no one approach me to ask what I m doing here..
But one is doing it , riding a nice old zrx Kawasaki.
Even outside , smoking is not permitted but on small isolated places..
A ducati japanese biker comes to me at a petrol station and with a quasi non- existent English , I understand that we are going in the same direction , by the mt fuji . He invites me to join him for camping with his friends by a lake tonight.
I cannot see the fuji as covered by clouds but the surrounds are beautiful, with forest and lakes.
We reach a Japanese campsite by a lake, where my new friends stay in a Japanese bungalow - means a rectangular chalet with a big nothing inside
We share food and have a great fun together as no common language but google translate to help us..I understand that my host is a locksmith . And all of the friends have Ktm rc8 and race on circuit!
Before going to sleep, my hosts close all the windows and start to kill all insects inside with a broom, and that takes an hour!
With a terrible heat inside, plus a burning anti mosquito coil that burns and make the confined air un-breathable!
What a strange situation ..

Aug 19, Sendai and the tsunami

This morning we visit a samourai city with a museum , with a lot of Japanese tourist with beautiful houses and costumes.
We approach the coast of the disaster , where the tsunami took so much lives in 2011,
First signs are pack of broken cars and some bridges damaged, but nothing that shows the intensity of the catastrophe.
As it is time to find a place to sleep, we cross a city, but we cross it on a map only as there is NO city any more where the map shows a seafront, port, streets shops, mall, .., like devastated by an atomic bomb.
This is terrible
Then leaving the main road, we ride a nice rocky road along the coast, and here the damages are much significants- houses half broken, even quite high, jetty destroyed and of course , all the hotels that , before were part of the very touristic system doesn't exist anymore.
Lot of boats lay down , half broken
We spot a campsite as no time to find something else now, and it is occupied by... Japanese refugees , who build a village with mobile home as they lost everything in the tsunami.
At the end we decide to ride the 150 km to Sendai , the large city closeby. Definitly the area which was a beautiful touristic coast will need a long time to recover
We stop in a business hotel , and eat in a funny restaurant where Matteo change his Italian t-shirt with the one of the chef- really nice people again here- and no English of course.
That makes the bit of fun necessary to try to forget the terrible signs we saw couples of hours before.
Let's see what will be the surround of Sendai tomorrow morning.