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here I am again, in good old Heidelberg. Though I had some severe difficulties with my bicycle, altogether I sent a wonderful time.
My greatest thanks go to my friend Shigenori, in whose house I coud stay, and who helped me a lot with my difficulties, specially in a mentalc way, so that I never felt lost with my difficulties.
After having too much baggage I decided to send part of my luggage by mail, after I was esured that it would last no longer than 5 to 7 days. That part of luggage contained the wheels for my bike. So without this part of luggage it would be impossible to start cycling.
9 days after mailing finally this important piece of luggage arrived. After assembling, and a test-ride on the bike I found a serious trouble on my bike. The thead for fixing the right pedal was ruined, so it was impossible to screw on that pedal tightly. After some short time of riding the pedal even dropped off. I was wrong in believing to easily buy a spare part, in the bike shop I was told that this type crank was discontinued by Shimano. Friends of Shigenori came to help me, and one of them fixed it with my instructions.
So, after additional delay of one and half days I started my tour. Unfortunately the fixing was not so stable as I hoped, I did not even rech the end of Tokyo, and the pedal dropped off again. After some time of searching I found a bicycle shop, but, as I expected they had no suitable spare part. After some time of thinking I had the idea of changing the design of a "normal" crank with fixed chainring to fix my front gears. They have been very helpful at the shop. They took apart a new bike, and after two hours of work I had an "operateable" bike again.
Though it was quite late I went on the way again, and at 9:00 in the evening I reached the campsite in Noda.
Next day I directed my way to Nikko. Parts of the rodas and streets were very crowded. Then I found a less crowded road, the "37". Part of my way I could use the peaceful path on top of a river dam. It ws a hot day. A bit exhausted I arrived the campsite between Imaichi and Nikko.
Nikko is a beautiful old Japanese town. I visited the shrines and temples at Nikko, which occupy a large area. Next place to go was Chujenjiko. Tha road was quite steep, also my bike was too heavy, so I had to push most of the way up. On the way I met friendly people, all of them amazed by the view of my recumbent bycicle (this continued all my trip). Arriving at Chujenjiko I was immedeately invited to a farewell-party of a Sri-Lanka guest-worker in Japan. It was an international party with people from India, Sri-Lanka, Thailand, Brazil, Japan, and Germany (me). It was a really joyful evening.
Next day I passed over the mountain pass (pushing). The campsite behind the pass seemed me too close, it was still quite early, but it was also very touristic. I went on, and in the evening I reached a campsite, which was inmidst the forest. It was a very individual campsite, the owner had installed a Japanese bath in the open air, heated by a fire. But I decided to se the near-by Onsen. In the evening there was a common party by most of the camsite-visitors (there were not many). In the morning there was a common breakfast as well, very unusual for a campsite! The owner gave me a lift with my bike on his car to the next pass, so I could begin the day with downhill-cycling.
That day's target was Kusatsu. What I did not be aware of was, that the Japanese mountains are very steep, and going from one mountain to the next means in most cases, go to a very deep valley, and do a high climb again. That is very different to the European mountains. So I did not do the suggested destination by beeing very slow uphill, I spent the night at a different campsite.
It rained that night, and I did not completely dry the next morning. I was about to reach Kusatsu that day. The weather was not very clear. Coming into Kusatsu was going directly into the clouds. While searching the campsite I was directed a completely wrong way, that made me take a long time to reach that place. At the end I pitched the tent while it was raining.
It rained the whole night, and in the morning I was not quite sure wether I would have a weather good enough for cycling. But at last I decided to go, since I had the impression for a stable weather. Kusatsu is a prominent spa place with a big hot spring in the center of the city. At lunchtime I started to go to the pass for Nagano. It took much more time than estimated (again) to reach the pass. I also realized the difficulties for the constructors of roads to build a road through these mountains. The German Alps are far easier to build pass roads. There are lots of roads like the "Stilvser Joch" in the Italian mountains. It was very interesting to pass the different zones of vegetation up to an altitude of more than 2000 meters. I also passed a place where sulfuric steams came out of earth on both sides of the road. All of it was very impressive. The way down was so fast as the way up was slow. Soon I reached the next campsite, close to an Onsen. I think it was a geysir on that place which was "captured". One could hear the hissing sound throughoput the night at the campsite.
The road down to Nagano was very steep, and it was a very long time to go down. On the way near Nagano there is an area famous for fruit. I had a melon and three peacher for lunch, and went on. Having reasonable temperatures in the mountains of 20 degrees, it was very hot again. I made my way to the station, and took the next train to Tokyo. I rerached Tokyo (Ueno) when it was already dark. Then I started the adventure to go to Nogata on the bicycle. By the help of some people I came to the house after two hours of cycling through the city. After that I was told that a taxi would even need one and a half hours to get there, so it was not even so slow.
Next day was my short trip to Hokkaido to see my friend I met three years ago. Since It was the Obon-time all the places were booked out, but I was lucky to find a seat in most cases.
Next day in the early morning I arrived in Fukagawa, and my friend took me from the station. It was a very hearty see-again. My friend Kazunori took me to many places, such as Onsens and mountain sceneries. I spent lovely three days in Hokkaido until I had to leave for Tokyo again, since the end of my holidays have approached.
After packing all the staff for the way home I met my friend Shimizu san the last night. With his help I bought a jim-bey (?). When trying it on everybody looked at me, beeing surprized about the "good look" of me wearing that typical Japanese clothing. A sushi then was the last good event in Japan, in the morning at 5:15 I left the house then heading to Narita.
I spent a beautiful time there, and future will possibly give me more reasons to see that country again.
uploaded:08, 11, 2005
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