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Bye Bye Hokkaido – Hello 6 Oclock News!

The 19kms from our 3000yen guest house to the city of Iwamizwa seemed to float past under feather light feet and the energy that comes from a free feast. While the imminent separation from a loyal travelling partner might normally draw a tear or two for the road wearied traveler, for us, our separation from koitsu was to harbor no such emotions. We could hardly contain our glee as the roads split, leaving koitsu to carry the same sour faced drivers to wherever it was they were sadly heading to. We, on the other hand, had a date with a ferry that was heading to Honshu. All we had to do was to make it in time. 80kms in 5 days? That wouldn’t be that difficult, would it?

Our first impression of Iwamizawa was provided courtesy of one of the town’s living relics, complete with tinted blue hair (why must all women over the age of 80 demand such a shocking do?) on an equally ancient tricycle designed for grown-ups going to the shops. Her witch like cackle would have been enough to frighten us off our perches had we not heard it coming from 50 metres away along the highway.
“Ooo Haa Ooo Haa!! Where do you think you’re going on those things!” she cackled as she pedaled up behind us, like a dwarf on a circus trike.
“Kagoshima.” Our reply set off another cacophony of cackles.
“Ooo Haa Ooo Haa!! Where did you come from?” she asked us in between breaths and cackling fits.
“Cape Soya.” Her second round of laughter was even more vigorous than the first, the stabilizing third wheel of the tricycle a savior that no doubt kept her from a disastrous fate had she been riding such a fully loaded regular bicycle.
As she pedaled away, still laughing at the thought of such an inconceivable idea, we were left as dumbfounded as when she had arrived, wondering just which of us was crazier?

We spent the night in our first rider’s house, although to call it a house would be overstating what was there; a basic room barely big enough for the both of us that looked like it had been slapped down as quickly as the old woman had left us earlier. On the upside we were lucky to have the place to ourselves and as we settled in, our attentions were drawn to the happy chatter and splashing sounds of people, women, close by. Opening the blinds we were confronted by a sight that would scar a man for life. The position of the rider’s house, either by pure luck or by some mischievous forward planning on the part of the builders, looked out directly on to the women’s outdoor bathing area of the hot spring complex in the adjoining building. Unfortunately for us, our timing coincided with what looked to be the bathing time of the tricycle rider’s knitting circle. A valiant attempt to avert my gaze in time to save me from the horror scene that was, only resulted in more naked blue tinted knitters who were completely oblivious to the damage they were causing in the rider’s house above. For Miki, such a scene was a normal as the pack was now to her back, but for the untrained foreign male eye, it was enough to put one off staying in a rider’s house for the rest of their life.

We woke after a fitful sleep filled with cackles and tricycles and baths and leather bags. Our aim was to make an early start in order to put as many kilometers between ourselves and the memory of last night as we could. Our walk was soon interrupted however by a phone call from a TV station who had heard about our challenge and who wanted to run a story about us for the nightly news. We arranged to meet as soon as the weather improved and so began the countdown to Pongo’s television debut and perhaps the biggest cock-up of my life!

posted by Mick and Miki Tan @ 4:01 AM,


At August 17, 2009 at 8:35 AM, Blogger Kate said...

Hi Miki & Mick,

It's not really easy what you guys are you doing! Wow!! Impressive!! I'm reading your stories and cheering you from Thailand! :)


At August 18, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Blogger yuika said...

hi Mr. Tan!This is Yuika here!

wow what a place!(it's kind of hilarious!)I hope you ate lots of crabs in hokkaido. They're really expensive but they're worth it!

The summer holiday's ends in about two weeks and i'm struggling to finish the homework.(I can't believe how evil the teachers are!THey don't understand how important the Kou2's summer is!)Oh yea and the school's international club's going to do a pongohogohogo project at bunkasai! I have a feeling one of the members is going to wear a orangutan costume for advertisement. I hope it's not me!

Say hello to Mikisan for me.
Good luck in Honshu!

At August 19, 2009 at 6:20 AM, Blogger Darrell said...

Come on, come on..we are all dying to know about the biggest cock up of your life!!! Must be HUGE as I have witnessed a few decent sized ones!!
Keep it up chaps, working out how to drive up and see you guys soon. Tokyo-hot, humid, sweaty..same old same wouldn't like it!!


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