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The countdown is on!

The time left before we start this epic walk has begun to tick louder than the horrible alarm clock that sits beside our beds! As always, it is at this 11th hour that all the doubts that we had managed to tuck away begin to rise to the surface, crowding our thoughts in all that we do each day. 3000kms? Will we make it? Are we prepared enough? Will people get behind this new idea? Will we get eaten by the bears in Hokkaido? Are we really crazy??!!

If this challenge were only about Miki and I, then I am sure that these kinds of thoughts would have crippled us and our preparations long before now. But it isn't. Right from the very first day, it was always going to be more about those people who wanted to make a difference and about their efforts to do so. Without this aspect, I don't think there would be any way the two of us could finish such a crazy challenge. But knowing that people do want to help and are thinking of ways to make a difference is what will keep us going each day this year.

Right now students at my old school, Shibuya Makuhari in Chiba, are working hard to get all kinds of fundraising activities in place for this year. Despite some hurdles with red tape, their enthusiasm has never waned or faltered. What is amazing to us is the speed at which they have managed to get things organized - things that have been known to steal a few weeks of my life have only seemingly taken a few hours for them! They have given us our second wind just at a time when organizing all of the fiddly details that have to be organized were beginning to take their toll. You will be able to see some of the fruits of these labours this weekend (May16, 2009) at the Kaihin Makuhari Baytown Matsuri where they have organized a stall and will be manning an information booth and takeuma training area for all of those who are interested in trying!
Come along and have a go!!

Not all fundraising efforts have been here in Japan. A special mention must go to one Martha Georgina Vargas Bogliani of Spain whose amazing attempt at raising awareness and sponsorship for this challenge is a lesson in determination for us all! After buying 60kgs of wholesale bananas with two of her friends, Martha set off on a journey that took her from houses to schools and finally to PRISON all in the aim of selling the bananas and using the profits for this charity! Don't worry, we are assured that the police were all very supportive of their attempts and that no orange overalls were needed. When you consider that Martha is finalizing her preparations for her university entrance exams, to go to such lengths is a truly inspiring achievement! Thanks Martha for your enthusiasm and support!

posted by Mick and Miki Tan @ 5:36 PM,

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