…on the road again!

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I’m finally on the move! I think this is day four and thank god I’ve finally settled onto the bike. It’s been an interesting process, day one leaving tokyo I managed to fall off twice, much to the confusion of local Japanese who could just see a gaijin sprawled on the floor shouting a range of luckily indistinguishable English. Bless them they did try to help, but given that both incidents were firmly my fault I was too embarrassed to be graceful about the situation! So yes my knees are now a mismatch of scratches but what kind of cyclist would I be if they weren’t!
As you can probably tell from my nose (que photo above) I’ve also managed to get sunburnt, sighhhhh! I have now found factor 50 sun cream (cheers for the English/Irish complexion family) and no wonder I struggled to find it, it looks more like morrisons own deodorant than sun cream. But yes, you guessed, am currently sat in my hostel with nose, arms and calves covered in sudocream… There’s no way I’m getting out of the horrendous tan lines with this one.

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Despite all this I’m actually having a damn good time, I went past mt. Fuji the other day!… Too impatient to wait for the clouds to clear pah, no photo is perfect, my camera wasn’t even good enough for a selfie, disappointment. Can’t deny it was pretty cool to see, up close the original plan of climbing it seemed too painful to actually attempt… Vesuvius was one thing – that mountain wasn’t half covered in snow! I most certainly do not have the fortitude to put up with the cold up there! Also I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be up and down in time for bed!

No joke. I’m currently sleeping 11hours a day minimum… It’s a joke! It isn’t even a choice! It’s like I sit down to do something and then BAM it’s 8am, time to get on the bike! Almost seems like a waste paying for a hostel when I’d sleep just as well on a clothes line! My current evening plan in a hostel (most of which don’t have wi fi) consists of get in, eat as much food as possible and get in the bath before I fall asleep on the next available flat surface. Yes Japanese hostels have communal baths, not separate showers… This social aspect is not something I have yet to contend with since I have been the only woman present in EVERY hostel outside of Tokyo. Not kidding! Haha I feel guilty that they have to open up the female area just for me but oh well!! It’s particularly luckily there is no one else present since I don’t think my oil stained legs would go down too well, and I am not kidding IT WILL NOT COME OFF.

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After going over the mountains on my first night… worst hostel decision of my life – yes, let’s choose a hostel at THE TOP OF THE BLOODY MOUNTAIN, WHY NOT EH!? Sigh now that was a beasty walk… Yup, defeated on the first day to push my bike 5km up a hill steeper than any in the Yorkshire dales, and there was some kind of geothermal stuff going on because steam was coming from the grates in the floor! Most disconcerting to walk over I can tell you! On the plus side it did mean that the morning after consisted of a ten mile (not exaggerating, I measured) descent to the coast! The road was perfect! I reached over 35mph and the bike was raring to do more!… That is deffinatly one way to check the brakes you totally readjusted that morning are working.
The coast here is gorgeous, I’ve seen loads of surfers and billabong shops are becoming as common a Starbucks! Unfortunately it took a few days before I could see it, I’ve been less than a kilometre from the coast for most of the time, but the coastal wall at Tokyo extends for miles and miles, then it turns into other forms of defences. Only today have I really seen the beach and coupled with the sun it makes a good change from the noise of Tokyo! All I need now is my sunburn to heal so I can knock out the flip flops and shorts!

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Bring on Tokyo’s English summer!

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Well it’s all looking up here! I’m feeling better, the bike is functional and the cherry blossoms have started blooming, even the Japanese have had their cameras out!… I’m glad, makes me feel like less of a tourist! The 20+ degree weather we’ve been having is probably what’s brought them out, but bloody hell it is not doing the same for me! 12-3pm is pretty much a no go zone for English fools that forgot to bring shorts (wearable off the bike) or sandals – aka me. I got caught out today and if it had not been for a vending machine selling ice cold drinks In the final trek home I think my jeans might genuinely of been scissored to a more appropriate length!

20140329-143125.jpg I’ve stayed in two “hostels” in Tokyo… Due to poor last minute planning. The first a capsule style hostel. Now the bedroom I can deal with, to be honest I quite like it, mainly because so far I’ve had ground floor pods it’s like crawling into a snug little cave, it’s even got a light and shelf!!…and could probably fit two people at a push, in a dorm of 28 people a few extra a night aren’t really being noticed by the receptionists! – bloody cheap backpackers! The only real problem here is the women’s slippers! Okay I have no issue with the Japanese flip flop hygiene rules but when the ones provided in the lady’s toilets only go up to size 3, anyone who isn’t the standard 5ft slender Japanese frame (aka people with size 8s like mine) might as well not be wearing them since half your foot is hanging off the end anyway!!! The hostel is at least 60% Americans so I can’t be the only one!

20140329-144639.jpgThe second hostel was more of a guest house and CONSIDERABLY more expensive, but the only place not fully booked since it was a Friday night. Pft, if Harry Potters closet had only contained mattress and small table it would of been identical. Luckily I crashed for about 15 hours and the absence of distraction or murmuring Americans probably helped catch up on lost sleep!
Where did I loose sleep? Well… Bloody Tina! Haha, but it is so nice after saying goodbye to so many people to run back into old mates again! We hit the bars in shinjuku, deffinatly not productive in curing my jet lag but interesting none the less, They have a seating charge!? Not just the huge popular bars/clubs but in small bars too! Pft not impressed! Luckily the bar was gorgeous – being with Tina helped, she stopping me from going in the “gaijin bars”. An easy mistake to make – even though one was especially appealing with Rue Paul cackling from the television and everyone gathered around, there was so many Americans it might as well of been west Hollywood!

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Yup of course instead we found the shadiest looking Japanese place and went in! Seriously, look at the ominous green door, barely any signs or anything! Still – it was epic… Kesha was booming and we had no trouble getting served even though I’m under age and Tina only just. They were shocked when we told them I was “20”, maybe I should be concerned. Fantastic night topped off with cheap pizza and invitations to all the weekends events, Tina Walsh it has been too long since we last painted the town red!

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Now I’m feeling better I’m ready to get out on my bike! The sun is tempting me it’s almost perfect cycling temperature, but only two more rest days to wait, and I do have things to organise. I don’t even have a map yet! At this rate I’ll be doing it all by compass, god it’ll be an awful repeat of the shambles that was my attempt from Rome-Naples and no one wants that! Plans to be made, things to be bought and sunblock to be applied! Let the journey begin please, I’m ready to leave the metropolitan hopefully for somewhere quieter!

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Let the journey begin!!!

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Well, I have arrived! Tokyo here I come… Once I have slept for approximately 24hours, eaten way too much food and showered to remove the grime of 28hours on planes and in airports which were not targeted to my ideal climatic temperature!!
The journey here really could of been a lot worse so I’m greatfull for that, but gosh I forgot the level of effort needed to pack for a trip like this! – I don’t think doing it while recovering from a two day leaving party bender made the process any easier either, sighh one day I’ll learn!

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In a vague effort to try and make progress I ordered all my gear most of it still intact and as I’d left it after Italy. One of the panniers still reeks of the off the banana that was sat hidden at the bottom for two weeks after I last returned home… Eventually I did find it. Now I just wished I’d washed the thing out earlier!

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Then came all my bits and bobs! Home comforts so to speak. What is life without a pocket atlas, sunglasses or a 50ml spray of CK one, (of course, only for emergencies) the answer… Unsurvivable! 😛
Mostly the small items are carried on with my hand luggage along with my camping equipment… And so you may ask, what about your clothes? WELL… I refuse to pay for another bag and sooooo
TA DAAAA

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Yup air India, I’m sorry, that bike box which was supposed to have “official: nothing must be contained in the bike box except the bike itself” actually contained not only the bike… But also, shoes, helmet, sleeping mat, and every single item of clothing I now posses was duck taped to the frame!… I might also of been aware that once in the box it was too big for your weighing scales hence why I wasn’t concerned when I knew it was 5kg to 7kg over the allowance – uuuups 😉 sorry again air india! You trust us cycle tourers way too much! Just cos I can pick it up with ease doesn’t mean OH IT MUST BE UNDER 20kg THEN. Well… Your mistake!

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After a few awkward altercations with flight attendants explaining that I WASNT flying with the English couple in front or behind me, as they tried to send us to various desks or fill in forms together, I finally made it to the plane! 24hours later, after serial watching 6 Hollywood films, snoring in Delhi airport and chatting with too many Indian and Japanese people I arrived in Tokyo!
Here come the adventures…