In our minds this idea appeared quite a long time ago. It seems to us that all the previous decisions, choices led us to this certain place. It had to happen, we are leaving!
We will pack our bikes into carton boxes, put the most important things into bike bags to get everything on the plane flying to Tokyo, the capital city of cherry blossoms country. That is how our 9-month trip to Japan and South Korea will start (we hope so).
We wanted to go to south-eastern Asia and cycle back to Poland. Cycling is still the way, but the destination has changed. Some time ago, we have came across a slideshow about Japan exactly and we hadn’t known much about this country before. Samurais, cherry trees, anime films, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima and TV series Shogun with Richard Chamberlain, these are our main associations with Japan. By the time, we have started reading and we found out more and more interesting and intriguing facts, so we felt that this is the destination for us.
We don’t call it a great travel or an expedition, as we actually go to places that are known to many. The heart of our trip is to get to know Japan and South Korea from the bike seat perspective. This is also a challenge to fight our own weaknesses and personal changes, also expectations of the environment, here in Poland and also being a ‘gaijin’ in Japan (that is how they call foreigners there). Our ‘Cycling in Japan’ is a realisation of our great dream, that we have been preparing for last year or even more. This is a carefully organised plan, but still we leave much space for improvisation. We think that while travelling nothing can limit you as much as a strict plan and lack of time.
We will travel in a simple way then; we take a tent and outdoor equipment, that will allow us for temporary self-sufficiency. We will set off in winter but we hope not to bring European winter with us to Tokyo! We are prepared for minus temperatures, although we will follow the warm weather to the south of Japan. This is how we will divide out trip; into three stages that will be lead by the weather and three-months visa to each country.
The first ‘stage’ though, will start in Tokyo and we will cycle south into the direction of Kyushu island. The following step will be South Korea that we would cycle around or along intriguing cycling lane from the north to the south; after which you can get the medal 😉 For the last 3 months we will enter Japan once again and we will be going north to mountainous Hokkaido island.
We have chosen many places already that we would love to visit and we hope that we will be able to do that. These are cities like Kyoto, Osaka, Ise or Sapporo, having Tokyo in mind of course and Seoul in Korea, but also smaller islands like Yakushima, Jeju Province Island or the National Park Kirishima-Yaku. We are fascinated with the dissimilarities of cultural aspects in Japan and reading about mythology, beliefs and ghosts, we will look for mystic places and those connected to Shinto and Buddism religions. What is interesting for us is also the society itself and its functioning in highly developed economical and technological machine. We are aware that we cannot get to know in such a short time the variety of country and its inhabitants; especially that we will be limited by the language, our mental and cultural differences. We still believe though that we can discover just a shade of their mysterious life.
Gandzia i Piorun